People ask me if they have all of those horrible reality shows here. The answer is, "Yes, they invented most of them." Brits seem to have a prurient interest in watching the lives of others, and so they do a lot of it. Big Brother is all the rage, and the people they put in the house are certified freaks, so it's like watching Carnivale on HBO, except real. They have shows like Celebrity Love Island where you can watch C-list celebrities attempt to seduce each other. I know I've already covered The Farm.
But this interest in watching people function in contrived situations has taken the reality show to new heights. There are two on right now that I can't stop watching:
Dealing with Dickenson: If you've ever seen Bargain Hunt on BBC America or TLC, then you know who David Dickenson is. For the uninitiated, he's a flamboyant, overly-tanned, pompadoured dandy who knows the antique business, and has made a side career of helping others buy antiques on television. In his new reality series, he's taken £50K of his own money and is training six normal people who dream of being antique dealers and he's teaching them to buy and trade for profit. In the end, if the things they buy make more than £50K the six split the money, and if they don't then Dickenson loses the difference. He has fits and yells and makes irreverent remarks about their bad taste for an hour each Sunday night, and they go to antique shops and auction houses and look through things for hidden gems.
The House of Obsessive Compulsives: You think I'm making that up, right? Well, no. They've actually taken a group of severely obsessive compulsives and put them in a house with therapists in a last ditch effort to heal them. Their individual OC behaviors vary, so they are sometimes in OC conflict with each other. Talk about entertainment, not to mention a bathroom floor you could eat off of.