About nineteen years ago, on July 6, 2000, I started posting to a blog I’d created on Blogger.com. A few days later, on July 9, I made it live to the world.
These web sites sure do grow up fast: the site you’re reading is 19 years old—I’d say today, but even I haven’t really decided what its official birthday is, as you can see from past birthday posts, which alternate between July 6 and July 9. And now I’m publishing this on July 8 because I’m a bad parent.
Mostly what this anniversary time period makes me think about is that, in just one more year, I’ll have been doing this for two decades.
I didn’t really plan to do this for that long, and didn’t really plan anything: I had no idea that what started as gathering links and lightly recapping shows would evolve into full reality TV reviews and behind-the-scenes coverage of some of my favorite shows, and spending more years chronicling than how many I’d lived on earth when I first watched The Real World and fell in love with it.
I had no idea all of the amazing people I’d meet, from readers to reality stars, publicists to producers.
I’m grateful for everyone: those who’ve read anything I’ve written over these 19 years, and also those who’ve shared their insight, whether in a formal interview or in an off-the-record conversation.
I appreciate those who’ve pointed out my typos and corrected my errors, and also those who’ve disagreed with my perspectives.
Whether you’ve been with me for 19 years (and there are some of you—wow!) or are new to my work, thanks. Have a cupcake for me, because I didn’t bring enough for the class.
Who I am and what you should know
A few years ago, inspired by an annual column published by an Orlando Sentinel columnist, Scott Maxwell, I wrote about who I am and what I believe: a new annual tradition. I followed it up a year later with who I am and what I do here, 2018 edition.
And then I forgot to do it at the beginning of this year. Oops!
So, while nothing major has changed from those previous columns, here are some things I think you should know.
I believe “reality TV” includes all unscripted TV, which is why I cover everything from documentary series to prime-time game shows. Generally, that means shows that focus on people and tell their stories (though sometimes I break that rule).
Since there are far too many shows—sometimes dozens premiering in one week!—I cover what I think is important, or newsworthy, or fascinating. I’m guided by my own instincts and tastes, which are mine and mine alone.
I learned to love writing in a 9th-grade journalism class, and learned to love producing publications in a 9th-grade desktop publishing class, so I have Mrs. Predmore and Mr. Sauer to thank for setting me on this path.
On reality blurred, I review shows and episodes; share and analyze news that others have reported; and produce my own original reporting.
While I do mix news and opinion, offering my opinions as simply my perspective about what I’m watching and seeing, I hold myself to standards of accuracy and verifiability with factual information, which includes correcting any mistakes I make.
I’ve been writing for 19 years because I love and believe in this genre, and I loved talking about it with people. I offer criticism (sometimes, a lot of it!) because I think reality TV deserves to be treated as art—and because entertainment has power, and I think those who create it need to be held accountable for their actions.
Potential conflicts and other disclosures
reality blurred is supported—i.e. makes money—in three ways:
- via display advertising, which now runs through the awesome Mediavine, which was created by other small, independent publishers who know that both user experience and revenue matter.
- affiliate fees, which I get if you click through an affiliate link (like on this list of the very best reality TV ever), and are a tiny percentage of your purchase.
- the support of readers like you, who not only fund independent journalism but help keep this site free for everyone.
A special thank you, most recently, to new brand-new patrons Kurt, Shawna, and Mathew. Join them here!
I’m a member of the Television Critics Association, and was elected to its board of directors last year. The organization exists to support its members, about 250 TV critics in the U.S. and Canada, mostly by facilitating access to TV networks at two annual events called press tours.
I’ve benefited greatly from TCA and the press tours, as it means I’m often in the same room as people who make television—or make decisions about television—and I can ask them questions, learn from them, and challenge them about their decisions.
I also vote in the TCA Awards.
My only potential financial conflict of interest is that I own Disney stock: My grandmother gave me a few shares when I was a kid because of my love of Disney theme parks. Who knew that, a few decades later, Disney would own so much of our entertainment? Who knew that, after disclosing this two years ago, Disney would own even more now—including National Geographic and FX?
If that ownership gave me any power, I’d cancel The Bachelor and send Kevin O’Leary on a vacation from Shark Tank for at least a season. In other words, I have no power nor authority. And I also treat ABC and Disney content like I do with everything else, offering both criticism and praise when I feel they’re deserved; I welcome you to hold me accountable.
Reality TV is often political, and if you don’t think so I think you may have missed some news back in 2016. So I’ll let you know that I’m a registered Democrat, an affiliation I’ve retained only so I can vote in primary elections (in Florida, primaries are closed). I’m generally unimpressed by political parties, and have, in both recent and past elections, voted for both Republicans and Democrats.
More about me
Although my love is reality television, I don’t love all reality TV, nor watch all of it (which would be impossible). I also don’t just watch reality TV. Currently I’m watching season two of Fleabag, which is exceeding my high expectations.
I italicize TV show names but bold reality show names, which is a throwback to the very earliest days of reality blurred, when I actually color-coded posts: each show had its own color. (You can see that in action here; I eventually had to give that up, along with the sidebar that listed every reality show on the air and its timeslot.)
I still love Disney theme parks but also love thrill rides, though turbulence on an airplane still makes my palms sweat. It’s a control thing, though certainly that is not the only anxiety that finds its way into my life.
I’m married, and just one of the benefits of that is being re-introduced to RuPaul’s Drag Race.
I perform improv comedy as part of two different ensembles, and also host improv shows. Sometimes I go to yoga, but more often I go to Chipotle or Target or both.
I present at conferences to share my experiences and knowledge and passion, with the hope that it’ll help other people the way so many people helped me. (If you’d like to discuss having me work with your group or team, please contact me! Teachers, I’m always glad to Skype with classes.)
reality blurred started as a lark while I was working at a dot-com in Chicago, and I never intended for it to even cover its own expenses, so it’s never been my only job. Also, I get bored easily. So: I freelance, most recently/frequently for Vulture, and teach as a visiting lecturer at Stetson University, though I rarely actually lecture.
Thanks for reading this, and for reading reality blurred!