"Reality TV" - need new terms

The term “reality TV” is totally overworked. If I want to utterly dis shows like “Jon and Kate” and “The real housewives of anything” and anything involving the Kardashians (which I do), I should be able to easily do so without also insulting such widely varied shows as Top Chef, The Amazing Race, The Deadliest Catch, The Dog Whisperer, etc. Not that I necessarily do or do not want to insult any of those shows, but that’s an independent variable.

They’re really entirely different genres, and criticisms of the shows/producers/stars that apply to various of those shows don’t necessarily apply to others.

Since Reality TV is tied to wastes of my time such as Big Brother, Survivor and other junk, it’s best we just think of a new term for an outstanding series like The Deadliest Catch. It’s sort of a documentary series. Um… what do we call that?


I like Television without Pity’s terms, which divide Reality TV into Competitive Reality, Candid Reality, and How-to Reality. Of course this still puts both The Real Housewives and The Deadliest Catch into the Candid Reality category. Television without Pity does have a Non-Fiction category, which includes things like Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Life After People. You might want to start referring to shows you like as “Non-Fiction”, so you can reserve “Reality TV” for the junk.

“Narcissism Enabling Television” is too long to say, I guess.

Maybe Do-Nothing TV. It seems to me that the difference between filming, on the one hand, fishermen and cooks and dog trainers and, on the other hand, random Kardashians and “Real Housewives” and people pretending to raise their enormous broods and innumerable gold diggers/famewhores of both genders if that the latter don’t actually produce anything useful, at least while the cameras are on.

There are good TV comedies and terrible ones. There are good TV dramas and terrible ones. There are good TV cop shows and terrible ones. There are good TV doctor shows and terrible ones.

And, oddly enough, there are also good TV reality shows and terrible ones.