Thursday’s Toss: Confessions of a reality TV junkie

As I see it, cutting back on your television intake is just like dieting. If you go cold turkey and deprive yourself of the things you like to eat, you will binge. And so it is with TV.

I was never one to indulge in reality-TV. I thought it was the result of television executives running out of things to produce, so they think of shows like Keeping up with the Kardasians.

And while my daughters were glued to either Jersey Shore, (Still trying to figure out what the heck a Snooki is.) America’s Top Model and even, Project Runway, I was turning up my nose and heading to my office to write. “I’m not into that stuff,” I remember telling them.

Oh, how the high and mighty must recant.

I put my guard down for one minute and 12 months later–BOOM! I’m a reality TV junkie. It all happened so fast!

My affliction hit me over the weekend when my daughter and I were watching TV and I was trying to get my “line-up” in order for the coming week. I couldn’t remember when Modern Family came on, and my daughter scrolled through all the programs from Saturday to Wednesday (because she’s a good daughter!) to find the channel and time for me. Something’s wrong.

My shameful itinerary includes:

Shark Tank– Five billionaire “Sharks,” which includes Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of the 2010-2011 NBA championship Dallas Mavericks, hear pitches of the best business and product ideas from some of America’s brightest entrepreneurs, ranging from start-ups from stay-at-home moms and dads, to simple yet brilliant ideas in a wide range of areas including children’s products, music, sports, automotive, and even the nightclub scene.

Plain and simple, this is Business Management/Entrepreneurship 101. I love this show! I’ve learned so much about manufacturing, patents, merchandising. Heck, I want to invent something and go to the Shark Tank and see if they’ll invest in MY company!

Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) – I love ballroom dancing, okay? 🙂 This is one classy show. And even though it’s primarily made up of celebrities whose careers have waned or those who have retired from the limelight, it’s still exciting. Emmitt Smith, Jennifer Grey, (yes, from Dirty Dancing), Apolo Ohno, Jerry Rice and Kirstie Alley are just some of the celebs who dance their butts off!


The Voice – Besides having the opportunity to see Adam Levine each week, I LOVE this show. Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green, along with Adam, are great coaches. And the talent is unbelievable. There are contestants as young as 15 years old, singing like seasoned professionals! I actually choose this over DWTS, which I record on DVR and watch later.

The Real Housewives of …(most of them) …- This is just WRONG! I know. But I became hooked on this show when I went on vacation. Don’t ever go to a cabin in the dead of winter and watch TV. You never know what you’ll come home liking. Uggh!! Now I watch Real Housewives of Atlanta, Orange County, and New Jersey. Can’t get into the NYC wives yet.

Other shows not considered reality, but I watch (or record on DVR for later)

Scandal – I’ve talked about Scandal before. Simply love, love, love it! It’s an education in relationships and intrigue. The writing is brilliant.

Major Crimes – Follow up show from the “The Closer,” which I loved watching. Was a little disappointed when Kyra Sedgwick left The Closer. However, Major Crimes is intense and still has the cast of characters that viewers have grown to love.

Modern Family– which I actually blame on master story and script consultant, Michael Hague. If he hadn’t shown a clip of the show at his seminar, I would NEVER know about them! (By the way if you ever get a chance to go to one of his workshops–do it! He’s phenomenal.)

(SIGH)

There you have it–my sordid little secret. I take full responsibility of my actions. My only saving grace is that I’m not glued to the television, so I’m still writing. (I record a lot of the shows and watch them later!) So, for this Thursday’s Toss:

I hope I’m not the only reality TV junkie out there. And if you’re thinking that you can’t participate because you don’t live in America. Forget about it! 🙂 Reality TV is spreading like a virus! I know for certain “The Voice” is in the UK and Australia. So share what you can’t seem to stop watching.

Misery loves company (and reality-TV)!

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The TV show Scandal: Class is in Session

I can’t wait for September. Believe me. It’s not what you think. My children are grown, so going back to school isn’t the reason! I’m almost embarrassed to say why, because I haven’t felt this way about an upcoming month is AGES.

So, here it goes. It’s ABC’s fall lineup and one show in particular. Scandal. OMG.

Okay, I’d like to admit right here and now, that there are two shows I watch religiously. And this is big, considering I’m not a television watcher—anymore.

I admit there was a time when I used to sit in front of the box at least three hours a night, after work to relax. That’s really not a lot, you might say. For me, that was a lot.

Then about seven years ago, my three hours of television watching came to an abrupt halt. I became immersed in my books and writing. I rediscovered my love for the written word and began putting stories that have been stored on my hard drive, for more than 20 years, another try.

So, what’s this have to do with Scandal? Everything.

First of all it’s, Shonda Rhimes latest “drama revolving around the life and work of a professional crisis manager and her dysfunctional staff.” You know, Shonda. The creator who gave us Dr. McDreamy of Grey’s Anatomy, and the subsequent spinoff Private Practice.

Well, she’s back and class is in session.

“Scandal” is Relationships 101 for any writer of fiction, particularly if you’re a romance writer. The sexual tension between the lead characters, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), who just happen to be a professional “fixer” and the president of the USA, respectively, is charged and powerful.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Olivia’s staff—five hot shots—four attorneys and one ex-CIA-scary-military dude—who work in her “non-law firm” and are loyal to her and what they do. They each bring intelligence and their own special abilities to the table when averting crisis and scandal.

When telling a story, your characters must pop from the page. In romance, the sexual tension hero and heroine is a must and the writers of Scandal make that happen. The show is a must watch for writers, particularly romance writers. The dialogue is fast paced and witty and the interaction between the characters is a real and expertly executed by the actors.

I’m literally taking notes.

Whether it’s film, television or books—good writing is good writing, and Scandal’s writers deliver. You get to know the characters, flaws and all, just as you should in a good book.

If it wasn’t called a political drama, I’d swear it was a romance. But that’s what makes the show work. It isn’t all about politics. It’s about relationships, and how people handle issues thrown in their paths every day. It’s about one woman, in particular, who knows her business, has confidence in her abilities and knows when to back off for something bigger than herself (she breaks off her relationship with the leader of the free world so he can do his job. Or does she?).

Even if you’re not a writer, Scandal is an entertaining, fast paced drama. If you want to catch up, you can watch the full episodes on ABC Online. I can’t wait until September. I’ll have my notebook ready!