Kill Reality alters perceptions about its cast

After the fourth episode of E!’s Kill Reality, it’s become less of a train wreck and more of a study about reality TV show personalities. The most interesting thing to me is the way the series alternately reinforces and challenges our ideas about certain cast members.

For example, Tonya from The Real World Chicago either attracts medical ailments like a casting call attracts media whores, or she is the biggest hypochondriac ever. As Josh Souza asked, “Is the black cloud over this girl ever going to go away?” Since, strangely enough, I actually own the curtains from the show’s house that once hung over her bed, I started scratching feverishly while watching her multiple outbreaks, thinking her hypochondria might be infectious.

I’m most surprised by Jon “Jonny Fairplay” Dalton, whose past behavior incensed me so much that I’m now embarrassed that his shtick actually worked. Often reality show cast members claim they’re playing characters, but they’re usually just full of shit, covering for their behavior. But he’s shown himself to be funny and compassionate. In a single episode, for example, he showed genuine concern over Reichen’s complaint about a homophobic slur, and he also recognized that his behavior toward Tonya changed when his friend Trishelle showed up.

The only real problem I have with the series is that they had to shorten the title to Kill Reality, when obviously the longer version is [This Series and Movie Will Thankfully] Kill [the Idea that] Reality [Stars Can Act]. Because, seriously, unless the editors are geniuses, this is going to be one of the worst movies ever made; just watching the cast members “perform” in their scenes is painful.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.