Reality TV is vastly different from scripted programs, but in the case of Queer Eye, there are some similarities which did not entirely depart from the latter genre. Those depicted in the show, both them men who host the show and the guests, had some “character development” throughout the first episode. One man refused to enter a church at the beginning of the show due to his experiences of how the church treats those within the LGBT community, but halfway through the episode he talked with Tammy about his experiences, and her experience, and they came to the point that Tammye believed God loves everyone, and that not all Christians are good, but there is vastly more good than bad. Then, at the end of the episode, the same man entered a portion of the church to show the work they had done on the building. Also, Tammye’s son, Myles, refused to attend Homecoming due to his experiences with how the church treated him as a gay man, but after various conversations throughout the course of the show, he decided to attend.
Queer Eye offers a different perspective on masculinity because it shows five men entering someone’s life to improve their physical appearance, state of their home, the way they cook, as well as their overall well-being. These are all things which many believe exist in the domestic sphere, which is therefore dominated by women. To see men in these roles breaks the barriers that state masculine men cannot have anything to do with this sphere. It proves that masculinity doesn’t have to be tough and stoic, rather it can be quite the opposite. It also goes against the perspective that men have to be attracted to women, since all of the men in the series are gay. Essentially, it breaks down many stereotypes about men, for the better.
Nailed It, in my opinion, could not have been more different from scripted television. The vague plot of a baking show was overshadowed by the comedy of the entire premise—tossing a few amateur bakers into a room and telling them to replicate wonderful pieces where they have no hope to begin with. It was amusing, but did not have the same wit as BoJack, nor was there any “character development” like what is regularly shown in scripted shows, and even appeared in Queer Eye.
I recognize Nailed It is a comedy and therefore this should be taken with a grain of salt, but I think it can be problematic in the way that it applauds poor bakers. In a bigger message, it applauds failure, which is not necessarily a good thing when the rewards is $10000. The show sets contestants up for failure, and although it does award the person who does the best, none of the contestants attempts at recreating cake pops and a wedding cake were good and the show recognized that and congratulated it anyways. I think the show is fun, offers an outlet for those who have tried baking and never had a knack for it, and should still exist, but I would be tentative for some viewers to see it and think all it takes to succeed is to do horribly on a gameshow. There needs to be more drive.
When it comes to genres of reality television, I definitely believe they can be broken into smaller categories. Mostly dating programs, game programs, talent programs, home programs. The article pointed out that within the United States demand for unscripted shows jumped 125% in the first quarter of 2018, and so that has to count for something in terms of popularity. I think people can use reality shows to escape in a more realistic sense, because they know they are watching other’s lives, which can make it appealing. Also, it shows what can be possible because it is more realistic, and this sense of possibility can also be what is so alluring.
Dating programs would be all of the shows similar to Married at First Sight and The Bachelor, where the primary focus is romance, although I would argue that sometimes these shows can be scripted to an extent, making their existence in the reality television realm a little blurry. Game programs would be things like Big Brother where the goal is to compete to win something of monetary value, usually. Talent programs are things like America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and American Ninja Warrior (although this could be either a game program or a talent program, my entire biased fascination with the fitness level needed to compete put it in the talent competition). Home programs could be shows on the HGTV, Travel, and Food networks.
In terms of my own preference, I find the talent programs and the home programs the most interesting. The prior I love because of the hope behind it, seeing people practice at something to the point where they excel in it and can be recognized for their talent is inspiring for me. The home programs I love because of the unique view on culture it offers. Mostly I enjoy watching House Hunter’s International and the various shows Andrew Zimmern hosts due to the vast perspectives on foods it allows viewers to see. I enjoy the concept of being able to travel different places, even if it is only for thirty minutes and through a television screen.