Reality show programming continues to be a regular staple of the American television diet. And it seems like we cannot get enough of it, so every year new shows are introduced in an attempt to create something different and/or interesting. Old favorites return for the season, promising to be the "best" season yet, sometimes succeeding, often times failing. Here's my list of some hits and misses over the last year in reality television programming:
Lawyers + Reality Show = A quick death
I've been watching The Apprentice since its debut, and there are always a few lawyers in the mix of contestants. For some reason, reality show producers like to cast really obnoxious lawyers. It must be a reality show rule.
So, what do you do when you're David E. Kelley, creator of the popular shows Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and The Practice, and want to give reality television a shot? How about a reality show where EVERYONE is a lawyer! That's gotta be a recipe for success! And with that, NBC birthed The Law Firm. Hosted by the world-famous lawyer Roy Black (he was...er, I guess his claim to fame is being Rush Limbaugh's attorney), the show assembled all of the obnoxious lawyer rejects from other reality shows (well, that's just a guess) and put them into a competition where they would try civil cases before a "real" judge. Exciting cases. For instance, in the first episode, one team worked on a case involving a...dog bite, while the other team worked on a case involving a woman being pulled over by a city coroner, and not a cop, thus inflicting emotional distress (I guess). Real nail-biters, those cases. In theory lawyers would be voted off from the losing team until one remained to claim the grand prize of $250,000. Trouble was, no one watched the show (except maybe for myself) and NBC cancelled it after two episodes, sending it over to the Bravo network.
The Best Fake Reality Show No One Watched
My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss technically debuted in 2004 on Fox, but I'm including it here as the show continued into 2005.
Man, what a show. My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss was a wicked parody of The Apprentice. The catch here was that the billionaire mogul of the show, N. Paul Todd, was actually an actor named August Caimi. In fact, aside from the candidates, everyone else on the show was an actor. The candidates didn't know that N. Paul Todd was an actor. So, each week, the candidates would have to participate in bizarre business taks (selling hot soup in the midst of a Chicago summer, selling a "natural" tampon made of...twigs, among other things), all the while having to deal with N. Paul Todd, who offered up to the candidates nonsensical business advice which proved to be more confusing than helpful. Of course, each week the losing team went into the "boardroom" where Todd fired someone, seeming at random. Fox pulled the show after a handful of episodes, and posted the remaining episodes on its web site.