Written by Musgo Del Jefe
Musgo has been around the Reality TV block a time or two. I grew up a fan of the Game Show genre which fell under the Reality TV umbrella with the advent of competition shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race. My earliest exposure to the genre was the hidden-camera gem, Candid Camera which paved the way for the documentary style shows that dominate Reality TV as we know it today. The genre is subdivided into shows that follow famous people - The Osbournes, The Simple Life and a bevy of shows seemingly about Hugh Hefner's girlfriends. And there's the shows that follow everyday people doing their jobs. The genre, if not started by, is dominated by COPS which has been showing us different policemen doing their jobs for over 20 years. The most current craze is to show people with interesting or unique jobs. Shows like The Deadliest Catch and Miami Ink have set the bar for these shows.
When I think of the current trend of Reality TV - two networks come to mind, A&E and TLC. The A&E Network follows Dog The Bounty Hunter, Billy The Exterminator and The First 48 (which follows multiple homicide detectives). It's TLC that has made the biggest commitment to this style of TV - once known as The Learning Channel, now they are the home to shows about police women, little people (Little People, Big World; Our LIttle Life), big families (Jon & Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting), inked-up folks (Miami Ink, LA Ink) and now people who like sweets (Little Chocolatiers, Cake Boss).
Cake Boss premiered just over a year ago but in a world of "strike while it's hot", I'm reviewing the latest DVD release of Season Two just as Season Three is premiering on the network over the Memorial Day weekend. The second season which started in October 2009 ended in February 2010 with 17 episodes. The DVD release is spread over two discs with very little in the way of extras. My little darling daughter has been quite a fan of the show but other than brief glimpses, this was my first exposure to Carlo's Bake Shop.
Buddy Valastro is the "Cake Boss" of the title. He runs Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey with his mother, his four older sisters, and their husbands. The conceit of the Jersey accent and portrayal of the family on the DVD cover and beginning of each episode is that of a Mob family with Buddy as "The Boss". Their popularity also probably helped by other Jersey notables Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives Of New Jersey. When it comes down to pursuing this line in the actual episodes - the conceit falls apart. The worst parts of any episode are the forced "acting" we see when Buddy interacts with his sisters. These scenes feel scripted and forced. When the ladies change the voice recording in "Robots . . ." or when they change his painting plans in "Painters . . ." it's all painful and predictable.