When EdTV hit theatres in 1999, it still seemed preposterous that people would want to watch other regular people’s everyday lives on TV. But then it happened in real life. Sort of.
As reality TV became an accepted and profitable genre, actors vying for limited roles decided to get in on the action. And the pre-staged, so-called everyday life of the celebrity has made for good gossip and even better ratings. But some producers have been trying to improve the genre’s image by getting more “real.”
Oprah Winfrey, queen of the “I’m going to make you cry as you transcend to higher levels of personal awareness and greatness” TV, approached the queen of trash tabloids, Lindsay Lohan. She offered a docu-series that would chronicle Lindsay’s journey to sobriety after rehab.
What followed was a ratings disaster filled with Lindsay not showing up to shoots; packing, unpacking, and repacking her things; and a lot of tears. Oprah called this Lindsay’s “last shot.”
But “last shot” at what? What is she going to get out of this project?
No one would hire her on the evidence provided in this show. She couldn’t get into her own apartment. How could she handle a film production schedule?
The final episode included a bombshell revelation that Lohan had suffered a miscarriage during production. She tearfully spoke of her emotional growth in the past months. This two-minute speech is interspersed with shots of her putting on boots, then taking them off, trying another pair and discarding them too, until finally her assistant hands her ankle boots. Perfect! It’s like a Cinderella story for the emotionally stunted.
Tori Spelling, daughter of the late Aaron Spelling, has become the target of headlines recently. Tabloids outted her husband, Dean McDermott, for an affair during the production of his show Chopped Canada.
With four children at home, Spelling is not ready to leave yet. Instead, they’re going to counselling – with the cameras rolling.
And she’s not waiting to see how it turns out before going public. Each episode of True Tori airs just three weeks after taping. But why would anyone publicize their most painful and private discussions?
Tori has always lived in a television world. Thanks to her father, she had numerous roles before becoming teen Donna Martin on Beverly Hills 90210. She parlayed that fame into reality shows about her inn-keeping, wedding planning, and crafting hobbies. She doesn’t seem to know how to live in private. (Not that she’d be allowed to at this point.)
She also says reporters are always “getting it wrong.” So why not take control of the dialogue? (Maybe because your children may see this someday? Just a thought.)
Recently, Spelling said “I finally have my voice back and can be honest.” Perhaps that what Lindsay thought too. After all, their entire world revolves around the media.
So when the world is already judging you, controlling the evidence is your only avenue. At least, that’s what they do on Scandal.