Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Reality TV Week

This week's entertainment included... turning that big play box that I was tripping over LAST week into a puppet theater. Yes, it is still in my living room. 2 brown paper bags and a few snips of construction paper later - we have a cat and puppy puppet. Let me tell you, this has entertained Little Boy to no end. And - we have had more snow. Despite the snow, it "feels" like spring might be right around the next corner and that got me to looking at the old remnants of the garden poking through that snow. Little Boy is pretty good (with supervised help, of course) with the garden shears so I let him trim off some of the old growth.
Oh but wait - I wanted to blog about my week of watching Reality TV - it isn't often that I even watch TV, but for what it's worth...

Interestingly enough, I have watched very, very little TV in the past 4 1/2 years. Yup, true. Doesn't really bother me all that much - I grew up without TV. Mom rented a TV so we could watch the winter Olympics... I remember when Mary Lou won in gymnastics and Katerina won iceskating. Once a TV was rented when my brother had very bad ear infections. Otherwise - no TV. It all happened when my older brothers and sisters were little - Bozo the Clown came on just about supper time. Mom got tired of competing with Bozo and she told Dad - "TV or me". The next morning Dad got up for work, kissed Mom goodbye, and walked out the door with the TV. It wasn't until Mom had cancer that a TV came back into the household. My brother has a different take on TV. When his kids were little - they only had TV in the cold winter months. Come Spring - the TV was unplugged and put out in the garage! And me, well I don't want my son to see news/adult programming. So obviously - I can't watch a show that might even remotely interest me during the day.

But this past week, I've been super unmotivated to do much of anything at night and after Little Boy is asleep, I've been watching a bit of reality TV combined with Miami CSI (I love the scenery shots they give you on this show). No excuses, but it sure is warm and cozy under my down comforter on the couch! Probably because I haven't watched TV in so long, I am entertained... for the time being.

Here's my take on the shows I watched this week:


Project Runway - fairly fun. But designers aren't really super great sewers. And it seems like they do all their design work by draping on the dress form. I haven't seen a single pattern drafting tool/ruler/shape yet. Alot of successful designers come up with timeless, classic designs and use those elements over and over again... think Coco Channel and Valentino. I think that this show could have better garments if everything wasn't so rushed. Good fashion and finishing techniques takes time! Oh wait - maybe it isn't really all about the design - it is the drama people! I watched the prom dress episode. Not sure I would watch again.


Iron Chef - It isn't all about the chef - these people have incredibly skilled teams working with them. If nothing else - it was fun to watch to see the super well equipped commercial kitchen. And I like food. And cooking. So, it was fun to see what they came up with - even if it was a little over the top.

Another cooking show, but I don't know the name! It was about a chef that was catering a big wedding. It was a BIG deal and lots of dishes/courses and he pulled it all off very nicely - with a huge staff. He was always very nice and cordial to everyone who was working with him, so I couldn't help but to like him. A good attitude goes a long way! If I was channel surfing and came across it again - I would watch.

OK - so I like the cooking shows! Yet another - Restaurant Make-over. The show matched dollar for dollar in renovations with the owner. The show I watched - the owner was really counting on the renovations to help her business. But, in my opinion, her restaurant looked much homier and inviting before the renovations. And, the estimated budget was w-a-y over (only because they guessed prices, started demo and then got quotes, duh!) so the designer had to keep cutting back planned elements, cutting corners and not doing as good of a job as expected. AND, the poor contractor was putting in very late nights. If it were me, I would rather my contractor NOT be working at 2 am - the man needs a good nights sleep in order to do his best. They took out a beautiful old stained glass wall too - almost a crime, in my opinion. And - because they spilled the stain for the dance floor, they ended up painting it. Excuse me? Yeah, it looked good for the show, but what is that floor going to look like in a few months. Really poor judgement all around in the design department, I thought. But what kept this show fun is that a famous chef (Laura???) who is really, really nice was helping out in the kitchen. She was working with the long-time chef of this restaurant to update/upgrade their signature dishes. Just to watch this chef in action was worth suffering through the design fiasco (which the owner said she liked, by the way). But, I doubt I would watch it again..

Say Yes to the Dress - Drama in a well-known wedding dress store. Pah-lease! $5K and up for a dress? Oh the drama. I watched about 1/2 of this show and didn't see that it merited any more of my time.

Rich Bride/Poor Bride - A show where the wedding budget goes w-a-y over. As in say... 10K over when the budget was already in the mid 20's!? Come on. I found it amazing that some of these grooms actually went through with the actual wedding ceremony when their fiancees turned into bride-zillas. Secrets and overspending - not really the best way to start a wedding. If it were me - I would rather take the $$$ and make a down payment on a house, but that's just me. No princess fantasies here. Probably will never watch again! Watching self-centered spoiled brats plan a wedding and get married - not my thing. I just had to watch it this once though because I was so positive that the wedding would be called off.

Newly Wed and Nearly Dead - Who raised these people? Can't cook, can't clean, can't communicate, can't function as adults, can't function as a couple. Except somehow they think that by getting married they will get June Clever for a wife or the perfect husband. Ouch. The only good thing I could see coming out of this show is that the couple gets marriage counseling along the way and hopefully that will improve things. A good cooking class would probably do wonders for 1 of the couples that was on the show. Good grief! Even my own Little Boy knows how to read the back of a brownie box.


Til Debt Do Us Part - Debt counseling for couples in trouble. I watched a family and it was pretty interesting - to a point. HE wanted HER to go back to work, but after they factored in the cost of her working (child care, car/gas, work clothes, etc., etc.) her take home pay would be very, very little. And she really wanted to stay home with the kids. But she spent lots of money shopping and doing things with the kids. The debt advisor gave her a challenge of finding FREE things to do with her kids and to pack a picnic everywhere they went. She just about choked. Yes, hello! There are lots of fun, free things you can do with your kids. And... doesn't everyone pack a cooler everywhere they go??? I mean - kids are going to be hungry as soon as you are out of sight of your own fridge. Shop, shop, shop. Her other challenge was to go shopping just 1X a week. Oh the hardship. Snicker. She should try living miles and miles away from any shopping. I don't think I will watch this show again. The big payoff? If the couple followed all the advice and met all the challenges - they got a whopping $5K to help them pay off their debt. No wonder why TV loves Reality TV - I bet Jerry Springer gets paid $5K for every MINUTE.


Small Space... something or another... Detailed looks at small houses and how the people have customized their space to get the maximum out of a small square footage. Pretty good, but I would only watch it 1X. Lots of custom work, big $$$, etc. So, I got to see some nice, small houses. My house will never look like that! Next...


What Not to Wear - I watched an episode where a young military wife/mother gets a make-over. She looked great, true - nice haircut, make-up, new clothes. Oh - and a trip to NY sans kids. But, I have a BIG problem with them making her throw out her entire wardrobe - in order to buy a new one. She got $5K, but she had to shop at very trendy NY stores - over $400 for a trench coat? Let's not even talk about the cost of the shoes. I just think it was too impractical and this girl is going to need more clothes very soon. Very, very soon considering she threw everything else she owned away. And the 2 hosts kept making snide comments about her - I'd like to see them cope with her - what 5? - kids and then see how perky and glam they looked at the end of the day! And obviously - the hosts have no idea, no idea at all how small a military income really is. Do they even know what a budget is??? Grrrrr. Will-not-watch-this-show-again! Oh wait! The sweet moment here -the girl sits down cross legged in the dressing room to make sure she can sit down on the floor and play with her kids in a certain pair of pants. That earned her eye rolling from the hosts, but good for her!

Swapping Spouses - Meet Your New Mom - Now this would have to be the show I had the hardest time with. Mind you, each family involved will get $50K for swapping for 1 week - but the other woman gets to say how the $$$ is spent. I watched the episode where the rich lady from AZ swaps places with a rural organic farmer. The farmer husband was really worried that she wasn't out there with the rototiller because it was critical to their income - I don't think she got it - she was just in too much shock from such a drastic change in environment/and yes I mean income level too. Sad, sad, sad - bet the cost of the private piano lessons her own 2 boys got at home would support the farm family for a long time. Now, the farmer wife was a BIT quirky in her own way, but obviously a very nice, caring person and very, very loved by her husband and son. It was sweet to see them interacting together at the beginning of the show. I don't know what will happen - the 2nd (ending) episode is this week and I don't know if I will be able to watch it. BUT - judging from the previews - it does look like the AZ woman snaps out of it and sets to work like fire organizing the small business files for the farm couple. That would probably be a great thing because I am sure that this AZ woman is a good business woman. And the farm wife - how can she be thinking of paperwork when she is on her hands and knees all day long in the dirt and working so hard? So, I am hoping that something good comes of this show. And who knows what will happen to the other family - constantly driven to be the best at everything they do by their super perfectionist Dad? I think I watched a fairly tame show - everyone seemed to be very polite to each other... but I am sure that there were much more explosive pairings with other families. I have a BIG problem with people allowing other people who they don't even know, don't know the values/religion/personality/etc. to come into their homes and take care of their kids for 1 week. Mind you the husbands are still home and they are surrounded by camera crews, but - No way, never, ever, ever would anyone talk me into leaving my son with a stranger. Nope. NOT going to happen. Ever. Period. I don't care how much they are willing to pay me. It is just wrong. Period. I won't watch again unless I catch the 2nd episode of the one I already started watching - just don't want to support a show that I feel is so wrong.
I think I've got my fix of Reality TV for awhile now - it has been a year since I last watched any Reality TV! That was about 5 1/2 hours for me this week - sometimes you just need to chill a bit, you know?
Last Spring I watched 1 or 2 shows where people came in to the house to help de-clutter. I don't remember the name of it anymore. De-clutter? Gosh, it was a wonder that you could even walk through the house these houses were so piled up with s-t-u-f-f. And these people had kids too, mind you. If social services ever paid a house visit before all the de-cluttering happened - makes you wonder if these people would be allowed to keep their kids? Ummm - where is their bed? Where is the dining room table? Or - where is the floor? I kid you not. Oh I know, I know - I am just way too opinionated to watch these kind of shows. Or - maybe they just borrowed all their neighbors stuff - threw it all into 1 house - and made a "reality TV" show out of it? Hard to know exactly what is true and what is not in these shows. The show is probably history - I know I wouldn't watch it again!

And last year I got to watch Paula Dean's cooking show too - that was really fun. I love her recipes. I would definitely watch this again, but I haven't seen it on the schedule this week. Whaaaa.
For the most part - I think Reality TV is pretty cheesy, especially the shows that seem to be "helping" people out but are really taking advantage of them.

OK - I am going back to my own life now (oh, except for a little bit of CSI Miami). If Little Boy and I don't make a trip this week we have plans to start our basil and tomato seeds, make a pinata and little Mexican flags, have tacos, make some puppets - just the usual assortment of odds and ends. Normal. I embrace being just normal.
In the meantime - my Reality TV is all about making puppets out of brown paper bags. Meow! Woof! Meow! Yup, Little Boy is getting really good with his lines! LOL. But if he wants to be an actor - hopefully it won't be on Reality TV - nothing wrong with what Jerry Springer earns - IF you ARE Jerry! LOL! OK, OK - that is all I will say about that!


The Calico Cat said...

I used to love reality tv before I got cable...

(Now I watch true crime & PBS)

I did see that wife swap a few times - I often wonder where they find these people... & I got a kick out of how they put polar opposites together... :o)

Doodlebug Gail said...

I don't watch much TV either but have caught Until Debt to us Part a couple of times lately. I really like to watch that .... it makes me feel so good about my finances - sometimes I can't imagine even thinking the way some of the participants think.

You and I seem to think the same way ..... pack snacks if you're going out, besides being more convenient it's also more economical.

The Puppet Theatre is wonderful - did you have to sew curtains? Oh the joys of a big old box! My 8 year old asked her music teacher last week if she had any "really big" boxes from a recent move .... we'll see what transpires from that conversation later today.

Have a lovely day.

Bingo~Bonnie said...

My favorite reality show is ABC's "Extream Home Makeover" that shows on Sunday nights. Each family has their own story and often I find myself tearyeyed... it is so nice to see them reval the home at the end and see their excitement and joy! :) If you haven't watched it yet, give it a try. I think you will like it!

Another one that my husband and I enjoy watching together is the one with Chef Ramsey and he goes in and helps failing resturants. I forget the name of that one...? If I think of it I'll come back and tell you ;)

And finally a show I had heard of before but never seen until last night is "Jojn & Kate Make EIGHT" it comes on TLC The Learning Channel... and they had twins first then wanted another babay and had SIX!!!

As a mom of twins and so sleep deprived, I can feel for her big time! However, last heard her say she she does 5 loads of laundry a day and saw multiple washing machines... and thought POOR WOMAN........but then she continued that she has helpers that come and do all the folding and putting away for her, she even said that b/c it is a big deal to sort and figure out whos is who's she doesn't sort anything, instead, washes everything in COLD and it stays togetehr by basket so it can return to the same room by basket. I don't feel sorry for her huge laundry volume. Heck puting it in the machine, adding soap and switching to the dryer are the fun parts fo doing laundry. :P If I had a helper to come fold and put it away I'd be on top of it all the time too! :P

It is pretty comical the couple reminds me of my husband and I. I'm really thankful that my husband watched it with me last night which was good... he go to see that he isn't the only one dealing with a highstrung wife at times! LOL And the scary part is, is that we got a preview of what it will be like to have multiples having temper tantrums at the same time!!! Right now we are savering the non talking period of our twins lives! LOL

Love from Texas! ~bonnie

Laurie said...

Just caught up on your and Little Boy have sure been busy! Great fun!

Elaine Adair said...

I read EVERY WORD of your post! Lots to comment about, but not enough room! LOL

I'll just mention the What NoT to WEar. I also, cannot bear to think of those prices for clothing! Do we really have to spend that much? Is that what it's like living in New York? Ridiculous, but still entertaining.

My TV watching has diminished greatly as the programs have gotten sillier and commercials longer. Easier not to even turn it on.

Glad you take good care of Little Boy.

Susan said...

I like Little Boy's entertainment better. =) I've watched a few of the ones you mentioned, like the debt-counseling one, and I just have to roll my eyes a lot that people don't get this. I can understand debt for people who are in serious financial bind - I mean I see how it happens, but someone making 100,000 a year? That's ridiculous! Yeah, I wouldn't swap families, either! What they call reality doesn't seem very real to me.

Laurie Ann said...

We live in the boonies and have had only one channel (ABC) for the last 15 years. I don't mind too much. I have some shows that I watch on DVD or folks tape for me and that way I have no commercials! Plus I get a lot done because we don't watch TV a lot. We could get a dish, but I think I would be liable to get sucked into too many shows and I want to keep it to a minimum!!

Shelina said...

I watch a lot of tv, I'll admit it, but the only one I saw (I don't get cable) is the trading spouses one, well both of them actually. I like it because they pit people with opposite lifestyles, and hope that people learn from each other.

Chrissie said...

I totally agree! These shows exasperate me terribly, especially the dress shows. Those hosts have such an attitude! I enjoy some of the HGTV shows, but the camera action on them makes me literally sick, the way they constantly move around - so I don't watch any of them anymore. It's time for me to make my own reality successful! LOL! I wish I had a puppet theater at my house! I find that soooo much more entertaining anyway! :)
Thanks for letting me intrude. I've been checking in on you from time to time. I found your blog through my niece, Leah at Stitched With Love, last year and have been enjoying your work and stories ever since. Thanks so much and God bless you!

Susan said...

Hey, where'd you go? I hope everything is okay.

call me crazy said...

Hi there~
I just had to stop over to tell you that I love your header quilt! I finally have cut out one of my own :-) Thanks for the inspiration!