December 11, 2009

Reality TV (No TV Required)

Reality TV is usually the worst of the worst, but also one of my favorite genres. I'm not a fan of the talent competitions (Top Chef and Project Runway excluded) or gimmicky dating shows, I'm more into those off-the-beaten-path reality options: the weird medical stories on Discovery Health Channel, the parenting shows on TLC, or the teenage documentary series on MTV. Of course, the catch is, I don't actually own a television-- and haven't for years. Lack of TV has turned me into a savvy Internet TV watcher, and I've managed to find enough online options to satisfy my TV watching needs. May I present-- the best reality TV shows you're probably not watching (but can watch online for free!)

1. Can't Get a Date. I remember watching a few episodes of this show back when it aired on VH1. Now, through some sort of Netflix/Logo arrangement, you are able to watch select episodes online. I find this show totally heartwarming. Each episode focuses on an individual who, for whatever reasons, isn't having success in their dating life. The host on the show gently asks questions, offers advice, and sets them up with makeovers, workouts, or other confidence-building exercises to help get them back on track. The fun thing is, the host is anonymous-- you only hear his voice. Unlike other dating shows there are no roses or elimination rounds, just people who end up feeling better about themselves and the reassuring tag line: "Can't get a date? Yes you can."

2. Teen Mom. Awhile back I posted about the MTV series, 16 and Pregnant. Teen Mom is a recently-debuted sequel that follows up on four of the original girls and their new lives as young moms. It can be found on MTV's website. So far only one episode has aired, but if it's anything like the hilarious and heart-wrenching original 16 and Pregnant series, we're in for a treat.

3. Secret Lives of Women. As you may have guessed by the title and picture, this show on the WE network is about women who lead lives that are unusual, unexpected, or outside of the norm. They're not all as obvious as the "businesswoman by day, dominatrix by night" scenario. Thanks to a YouTube user who has uploaded a good deal of episodes, I have watched stories of Quiverfill women, child brides, and suburban moms with dark secrets. It's sort of a more grown up version of MTV's True Life series, and definitely worth watching.

4. Property Virgins. Oh, whatever would we do without HGTV? Lots of people are familiar with the Home & Garden Televisions other series, like Househunters, but Property Virgins is even more enjoyable. In each episode a real estate agent, Sandra, works with first time homeowners. They usually look at three homes, and Sandra breaks down all the pro's and con's. She explains in her Canadian accent aboot all the factors at play in the decision to buy. I like this show because I can make snarky comments about the clients' taste in homes, and then redecorate their potential houses in my imagination. But seriously, if there was one reality show I would actually want to be on, this is it, because now I can't imagine buying a house without Sandra's help. Watch here.

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