Off the top of my head I can think of four reality TV shows that have stupid females in common. That seems to be the basis for these four shows. One: stupid, and two: female.
The first show is Keeping up with the Kardashians, which I haven't seen ever because I read so much about how dumb it was that I felt I didn't need to. The second show is The Real Housewives. I've watched the New York Housewives enough times to confirm that indeed, the two requirements (stupid, female) have been met when making the show. The third show is Bad Girls Club, which is a less well-known production that doesn't even try to hide its premise that much -- they would've called it Stupid Girls Club and the women who end up on it would still audition for it. Finally, there's Toddlers & Tiaras, which is pretty much my idea of what hell looks like: a windowless conference room in a hotel in Burptown, Michigan, where well-fed women and their gay male husbands cheer on dancing child prostitutes up whose brains are so deeply encased in hairspray they can't remember five simple dance moves. (They are worse performers than dogs in dog shows. But who could blame them? At least in a dog show, the animals get to do their tricks without fake eyelashes and wigs.) The cheering is done between fighting and tanning, in other words, between teaching the little girls the important values of being a female in the modern world.
All four shows are about females dressing up and prancing around. And having fights. I can't think of one example in any of these shows where something of essence happened -- like let's say, somebody making something creative (applying hemorrhoid cream to an under-eye area doesn't count), or visiting a library or a museum or, oh, I don't know, somebody giving a lecture or applying to school somewhere.
I understand that these shows are successful precisely because of the ongoing conflicts and that they are often scripted and heavily edited, but I wonder how difficult it is for the producers to set up these premises. I think it's natural for women in these shows to act the way they do -- the shows simply unleash the basic instincts of (some) females which seem to be competitive aggression and attention-seeking neediness. Most intelligent women are capable of reining these instincts in but find a pretty, insecure idiot and you've got a TV show.
But it's not even about lack of intelligence. I watch Housewives sometimes and I'm baffled at how these supposedly shrewd businesswomen seem to spend their entire lives planning outfits, plotting against each other, having drunken confrontations about the planning and the plotting, and occasionally throwing a party where more plotting and drunken confrontations are to be had. Sometimes there are even some serious issues at hand (divorce, debt, gay rights) but even then something seems to stall in their hardened brains and it all gets reduced to flapping offended eyelashes at each other and squeezing into another gem-infested dress.
It's a similar story with Bad Girls who are like these women in training -- a bunch of cross-eyed drunks with fake eyelashes and bouncy tits incapable of completing a sentence but very skilled in the art of hair pulling and shoe-slapping. (The word "classy" gets thrown around in both shows more frequently than the Kardashians sisters' commentary about the adventures of their own breasts or asses.) To make up, the Bad Girls put on their makeup and a dress and go dancing in a club practically mirroring their "classier" and older Housewives, counterparts.
But what seemed to take the cake for me was the episode of Toddlers and Tiaras where a little girl got stuffed in an outfit resembling Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman prostitute costume.
In the clip that's going around the Internet, the girl is prancing in a wig on a stage and there's an interview with another girl's mother who voices her opinion about the appropriateness of the outfit. Her own little girl is dressed up in proper little girl attire and wearing only enough makeup to cover seven drag queens. The mother, resolutely, acknowledges that pageants "already take a huge rap for what we're doing to our little girls" and dressing a child as streetwalker is in bad taste.
Indeed, you probably don't want to make this too literal, I thought, by dressing the girls as hookers. But worry not about bad rep, pageant mom -- we can only go up from Toddlers & Tiaras -- all the way to Bad Girls, through Karidshans' with a nice finish at the Housewives. Yay women.