Today’s Guest: Anna David, author, Reality Matters
Has your television viewing been subsumed by reality television in recent years? I know mine has.
Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmare, Big Brother, Survivor, The Dog Whisperer, The Apprentice—original, not the extra-crispy celebrity edition–and even I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here have all enjoyed addictive viewing in the Mr. Media household. I’ve also enjoyed Shark Tank and Stan Lee’s Who Wants to be a Superhero? I’ve cooled on Survivor, now in its 20th season, and Big Brother, which is coming up on its 12th, but I’m surprisingly content to watch the cooking shows for hours on end—even though you’ll rarely catch me doing anything but raiding the refrigerator for leftovers.
ANNA DAVID podcast excerpt: “When I first came up with the idea, my agent at the time said, ‘No, don’t do that book. it’ll go out of date quickly.’ I left that agent, walked into a room with a publisher, told them the idea and they bought it immediately. A lot of people deride these shows as a sign of our cultural apocalypse. But even if the shows aren’t interesting, what people have to say about them are.”
In an age when sitcoms don’t deliver the belly laughs they once did, Lost and 24 are ending and the best dramas have migrated to cable, there are nights when a made-on-the-cheap reality TV show is the best thing the broadcast networks have left to offer us.
Joining me tonight is Anna David, editor of a new compilation of essays on the state of reality TV called Reality Matters: 18 Writers Come Clean About the Shows We Can’t Stop Watching. The book is packed with insights into why we can’t avert our eyes from a landscape of lying liars and cheating cheaters.
Speaking of which, the book’s foreword is by Oprah’s favorite lying dog, James Frey.
As for Anna, this is her third book. The first two, Bought and Party Girl, were chick lit novels. She is also the sex-and-relationship expert on G4’s Attack of the Show and is a regular contributor on the news network version of reality TV, Fox. This is Anna’s second visit to Mr. Media.