Video The reality television genre faces more doubt and criticism these days than usual. Bachelorette winner Ed Swiderski reportedly cheated on Jillian Harris immediately after she selected him as her true love in the fifth season finale, causing a stir among audiences and entertainment news circles.
Big Brother 11 contestant Chima Simone was unexpectedly expelled from the CBS summer reality house after rebelling against her loss of power at the hands of a voting audience. And Ryan Jenkins, realtor turned Megan Wants a Millionaire contestant, allegedly murdered his model ex-wife before committing suicide, months after moving to Los Angeles to film the reality match-making contest.
So where do these extreme contestants and situations come from? She spoke with me recently about her televised dating experience and had some insightful comments on reality TV today, how it got here, and where it should head next.
Perl-Raver admits that she had her own reasons for appearing on Dating in the Dark, in which each episode, three men and three women get acquainted in complete darkness before selecting a suitable match to see in the light. She's writing a book on dating and wanted to put herself in as many situations as possible, including reality TV, speed dating and more traditional ways of finding that special someone.
She wasn't the only contestant with another agenda. They want attractive people who are comfortable in front of a camera. But ulterior motives or not, Perl-Raver and five other singles entered the Dating in the Dark house to mix and mingle for three long days. In the episode, Sasha and contestants Jennifer and Megan all select the same man — athletic trainer Chris — to share a final date and reveal each other in the light.
The other two males remained in the house only as companions to Chris. Perl-Raver says the show left out several other dates and milestones, including a scene when the girls receive humorous sketches based on the guys' perceptions of them in the dark, and a sexually-charged date including Jennifer, Chris and whip cream. During Chris' final date with Sasha Perl-Raver, producers captured and chose to air an aggressive kiss where she bites him on the lip.
Scenes then focused on her sexually aggressive nature, which she doesn't feel represents her personality at all. She said her friends and family questioned the uncharacteristic move. I wanted to make him stop," she says. No love lost, no love found. Sasha says none of the women were attracted to him, but the episode made it look like they had tough decisions to make and plenty of confrontation to deal with. We laughed so hard that the producers yelled at us for having too much fun.
We all were losing our mind. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, which both remain popular televised dating competitions, have had their share of controversy in the past couple seasons. It costs a great deal less to produce an hour of reality than an hour of primetime drama. My fear is that reality TV will become more participatory with the audience," she says.
This season of Big Brother also interestingly categorized its houseguests under four high school stereotypes — brainiacs, athletes, offbeats and populars — and they also withhold and reward contestants with certain foods and alcohol. So what reality TV does she watch? Perl-Raver lists Project Runway and Top Chef as her favourite reality shows, noting that they're more genuine and skill-based than most.
About Amazing Race, she says "That's a great reality show, because the rules are laid out and people know what they're getting into. She also enjoys Big Brother After Dark, a three-hour candid set of unaired scenes where houseguests talk, argue, or just do everyday activities in the house.
Perl-Raver says it reveals the most real scenes from an otherwise manufactured reality environment. Some of this is real, some of it's not. Perl-Raver believes reality television has an opportunity to illuminate some of the more truthful sides of life — details about real people, real feelings, and real situations. I asked Perl-Raver what she thinks about Dating in the Dark's ultimate question, is love blind? No dude ever crosses the bar because a girl looks funny or smart. I also asked Perl-Raver if she would date on reality TV again.
This year will be his last, meaning after he graduates, he'll be free to pursue a dream job in the TV world. Adam started off alone, then formed my team of writers. They come from all over Canada, and the US. They offer all the latest news, reviews, updates, but they also do more. They also have have over a dozen interviews with TV stars. All this within a little more than a year.