Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Reality Matters: 19 Writers Come Clean About the Shows We Can't Stop Watching Paperback – April 13, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
“Durable writing about reality television, is such a thing possible?...[Reality Matters] may answer that question. It contains considered essays on “Project Runway,” “Dog Whisperer,” “Survivor,” and “Jersey Shore”....[and] useful analysis of the fakery/reality issues inherent in television that purports to be, though rarely is, entirely true. ” (The New Yorker)
“Insightful.” (USA Today, Idol Chatter)
“Fun, funny, and surprising.” (Penthouse)
“Shockingly amusing and periodically poignant, Reality Matters gives college-educated reality show fans permission to smile about their devotion to America’s guiltiest lowbrow pleasure.” (LAist.com)
“If there’s anything more entertaining than experiencing the guilty pleasure of reality TV firsthand, it’s reading a bunch of brilliant people trying to rationalize their obsession with the genre.” (Flavorpill)
“A brilliant compilation.” (Starpulse)
From the Back Cover
Reality television is the ultimate guilty pleasure -- a nonstop parade of cast members and scenarios that make fictional ones seem downright dull. Increasingly absurd challenges, hair-yanking catfights, and hot tub makeouts dripping with yet-to-be-acknowledged regret are only part of its appeal.
In this collection of wry and moving essays, bestselling authors explore the programs we obsess over, cringe at, and occasionally feel inspired by. From a Real World casting call and American Idol tattoo to a look at the appeal of Big Brother, Survivor, The Real Housewives, and more, a vibrant mix of literary luminaries examine the form of entertainment that’s dominated our TV screens for more than a decade.
Entertaining and insightful, Reality Matters is a must-read for anyone who adores reality TV, wants to know what kind of an impact it’s having on our society, or simply wonders just how real any of it actually is.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 67%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There are a couple of exceptions--the sections on American Idol and The Bachelor are well written, though way too short. The piece on Married By America makes a few good points. But most of the rest are a waste of space, including one on Jersey Shore that a grade school kid could have written and a fantasy pitch essay to Mark Burnett, which may have had a point but the writer was so inept they didn't seem to make it. Even "editor" Anna David's piece, which reveals a bit about her applying for Real World, doesn't provide enough information to make the piece much more than a short magazine article.
If you like both reality TV and snobby east coast literary elitists, then this may be the book for you to take along on a plane. It's easy to flip through and inoffensive. Probably the best part of the book is James Frey's foreword, in which he admits to being a reality TV addict and then ties the lies of television editing to the lies of memoir writing. Just wish the rest of the book would have been like that!
As with any anthology, there are some essays which are better than others, though this is not to say that there are really any genuinely bad pieces - David has assembled a group of very talented contributors. There are a handful of true standouts: Stacey Grenrock Woods' invective for The Real Housewives (I share her disdain, having overheard quite enough of these people thankyouverymuch) while contrasting the cast's extravagances to her own economic struggles; Jancee Dunn's description of her rapid descent into the world of Project Runway, including a fantasy about becoming BFFs with Tim Gunn; Neil Strauss' amusing fictional pitch of new reality series to Mark Burnett (as out there as some of Strauss' ideas are, I'm sure Burnett has actually heard far weirder by this point); and in two separate essays, Toby Young and David herself relate tales of humiliation borne of attempts at becoming a reality "star", the former via his participation in a little-watched British series, and David via not getting onto The Real World (which makes sense in context). Young's in particular raises an fascinating question as to what is the more humiliating: making an ass of oneself on a reality TV show, or not having anyone care about it (and by extension, you) enough to watch.
Anna's essay about her brush with Real World San Francisco was a delight and especially meaningful to me because that's the only installment of Real World I've ever watched. And I hereby admit publically for the first time EVER that on one visit to San Francisco I actually looked for and found the house on Lombard Street where the show was filmed. I remember standing there in the cool morning air gazing at the building while recalling fond memories of Puck, Pedro, Rachel, Judd and Mohammed.
Next I plan to read Mark Lisanti's essay about Jersey Shore. I've never seen the show, but I've heard a lot about it and someone in particular named Snooki. With a name Snooki, you just have to be interesting.
Great read. Highly recommended.