12 days of reality TV: 12 reader suggestions, from Erik giving up immunity on Survivor to The Real World’s Pedro

And we’ve reached the end of the 12 Days of Reality TV, a celebration of the gifts reality TV has given us that’s only loosely connected to the song it borrows its name from. Today’s gifts come from you.

There were so many great suggestions it was difficult to narrow them down to 12, but I loved reading them all, and was thrilled that so many were on my list of highlights, too.

And perhaps as a 13th gift, I’m grateful that reality TV has given me all of you, whether you’re reading, commenting, or disagreeing, interaction with smart people who watch and think about what they watch is something I never thought would come of reality blurred when I created it 10 years ago this past July.

So, thanks for all your suggestions (and congrats to Jeremy, who won the box of re-giftable swag, from a David Hasselhoff calendar to a Dancing with the Stars book), and thanks for reading this year.

Happy holidays–Christmas, belated Hanukkah, and any other co-opted pagan holiday you choose to celebrate–everyone!

  • The Amazing Eyebrow! Phil Keoghan’s eyebrow acrobatics are the gift that keeps giving. –Ashley
  • My suggestion for a gift reality TV has given us is shows like Project Runway and Top Chef: The ability to see talented people doing what they’re good at, even when they’re in an incredibly tense and nerve-wracking situation. While plenty of reality TV (including this stuff) is voyeurism at its finest, it’s much better to watch productive things happening than people getting drunk.–Jay Converse
  • Erik giving up immunity in Survivor Fans vs. Favorites (actually, the whole episode of lead up, the TC, and the voting confessionals). Amazing. I’d argue it’s one of the best episodes of Survivor ever.–Nate Cardin
  • The Flavor of Love New York v. Pumkin hot mess –Evin
    and Pumpkin spittin’ on New York. –John P.
  • Teresa from RHONJ flips out…and the table…it kind of epitomizes a lot of reality shows these days that are built on drama –Neil
  • Pedro from The Real World –Susan E.
  • Tim Gunn. My life is better with Tim Gunn in it, especially after this last season. –Ruth M.
  • The Apprentice: quadruple firing in one boardroom. [The] entire team shared taxi ride of shame.–Marc H.
  • Trading Spaces: The contestant who flips out about the brown color the neighbors did.–Sean
  • Thanks to Teen Mom and Jon & Kate + 8, I have learned that there was no reason for me to go to college for that pesky degree. I just needed to get knocked up in extraordinary fashion or at an unreasonable age and then allow some cameras to catch it all in gory detail. This = instant paycheck. –Amy P.
  • Reality TV reminds me that there are still good people out there who do the right thing (the couple willing to lose The Amazing Race because it was wrong to stiff the cabbie… Uchenna and Joyce?) and that despite all the proof to the contrary (see: Real World, Road Rules, Jersey Shore, The Simple Life, etc.), that there is hope for the future (that 14 year old Michael kid on Kid Nation).–Tammy
  • Anyone can become famous or at least infamous. Normal everyday folks can be plucked from obscurity to become a household name simply by appearing on reality television. It does not matter if you have a special talent or skill all that really matters is a personality that captures the attention of the producers. Over the years, we have watched people from all walks of life compete in competitions (Survivor, American Idol, Amazing Race) and work their everyday jobs (Deadliest Catch, Pawn Stars, Billy the Exterminator) and the thing that makes a show watchable is seeing people you can relate to participate in these extraordinary events.–Deborah
The 12 Days of Reality TV (introduction)

  1. Richard Hatch it a tree
  2. Two dog bites in the vagina
  3. Three people fighting on Real World, and “it wasn’t not funny”
  4. Four seasons of The Mole
  5. Five golden vetoes
  6. Six Deadliest Catch seasons
  7. Charla and Mirna race around the world
  8. Joe Millionaire’s slurps, Joe Schmo’s schmo
  9. Bands running on VH1’s Bands on the Run give birth to Magical Elves
  10. Osbournes ham-throwing
  11. Regifting 11 years of reality blurred end-of-year recaps
  12. 12 reader suggestions, from Erik giving up immunity to The Real World’s Pedro

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.