Ox Notes: May 29, 2007

Reality shows dominate the most recent TV season. Paris and Nicole aren’t the only fake things on The Simple Life. And a protest against poorly written TV romances.

Reality Rules
The incentive for networks to put more reality shows on the air each season isn’t just the cheap costs associated with their production, but the fact that people are watching them. Six of the top ten network shows in 2006-2007 were reality shows — specifically the performance and results shows for American Idol 6 and Dancing with the Stars 3 and 4.

For a list of how other reality shows fared in the 2006-2007 season, check out Reality Blurred.

Simply Staged
The Simple Life 5 debuts tonight on E!, and the show is barely even pretending to be a reality show this season. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are supposed to be camp counselors, only the camp is fake and the other counselors are actors.

Unnecessary TV Romances
MSN featured an interesting article about the TV writer’s favorite cop-out convention: forced romance between characters. The article focuses on the most recent season of The Office, but cited plenty of other examples.

Thanks to Spike TV, I’ve been watching Star Trek: Voyager, which I missed during its original run. In the final few episodes of the series, 7 of 9 pursues a romance with Chakotay in one of the worst examples of this bad writing convention that I’ve ever seen. When the only emotional response a plot twist elicits is a gag reflex, it’s time to work on a rewrite.