Nigel Lythgoe compares Mary Murphy to Paula Abdul

So You Think You Can Dance has a lot of things going for it, primarily its exceptional talent. But its now-permanent judge Mary Murphy makes the show fun thanks to her occasional insanity, and helps to make the show better than American Idol.

The Los Angeles Times profiles her, and among the revelations are that her mother has “a laugh twice as loud as mine: first it’s a scream and then a laugh,” she says. Also in the piece, fellow judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe compares her to Paula Abdul, and himself to Simon Cowell. “Murphy is to Lythgoe what Paula Abdul is to Simon Cowell, [Lythgoe] said with a laugh, noting that Murphy is ‘very adept at defending herself and standing out.'”

Ignoring the fact that the non-paraphrased quotation contradicts the paraphrased part–Paula Abdul is adept only at standing out–the comparison alone is very, very wrong.

First, except for his ego and arrogance, Nigel is no Simon Cowell. (In fact, he’s actually much more articulate and interesting; Simon Cowell basically regurgitates the same comments over and over again.) Second, Mary Murphy’s true appeal is that she’s both a smart critic and crazy fun at the same time. When she transitions from her critiques to shrieking, she’s fun; at best, Paula Abdul was primarily entertaining (emphasis on the was; she was excruciatingly boring last season) only when she’s unintelligible.

Lythgoe may wish that his marquee show was as substantive as the show he judges, but there is literally nothing similar about Mary Murphy and Paul Abdul except for the fact that they both occupy the center judges’ chair on a Fox reality competition series, especially because Paula’s substantive comments are about as regular as someone who’s chewed up and swallowed an economy sized bottle of Imodium AD.

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ judge Mary Murphy is a scream [Los Angeles Times]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.