freyley (freyley) wrote,

(some) Reality TV is awesome

There are different types of reality TV. Today I realized that one of the types, several examples of which I've liked, isn't just trash-awesome, it's awesome-awesome. It's expert-mediated disaster mitigation. In it, an expert takes on situations that have gone past bad into disaster, shows how to turn it around, and then often returns to see whether the people in charge were able to pull off a turnaround.


  • Kitchen Nightmares

  • The Dogwhisperer

  • Supernanny

What's the value? You can learn, if you watch these, how an expert views success in these areas. You can learn what failure looks like. These are basically drama-souped-up training videos in the area, except rather than teaching you what an introductory text would teach you, they teach you how the expert thinks about the problem. Expert problem-solving is one of the most useful and difficult to transmit information available in human culture, and these should be valued far beyond what they are. They are, of course, limited because of the fact that they rely upon a single expert, and they look for the most dramatic failure, not the most varied. But I don't know of anything comparable but better.

So: do you know other examples?
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