WASHINGTON, December 5, 2012 – The trend for featuring “basic” white people on reality shows continues tonight with new episodes of Moonshiners and Duck Dynasty. Last Wednesday night, Duck Dynasty occupied 8 of the top 15 basic cable shows listed as the most watched. Moonshiners was number 8 on the same list with almost 2.5 million people tuning in to watch.
I’ve been researching this phenomenon a while, trying to figure out what it is about these shows that is so appealing. By researching I mean watching marathon runnings of these shows. After watching Honey Boo Boo’s mom make spaghetti sauce with half a container of Country Crock and ketchup tossed in the microwave, I threw in the towel. A favorite family recipe? Seriously?
The unsophisticated lives of the people on these shows make viewing a simple thing to do. Maybe that is where the appeal is: a simple life in a complex and challenging world.
But that does not explain the popularity of shows like The Jersey Shore and the Kardashians. After watching these shows, I realized the people on Duck Dynasty and Moonshiners aren’t the only people making a lot of money letting cable channels film their day-to-day lives.
I think at the end of the day people watch all these shows for one simple reason. It is real easy to feel good about ourselves after watching the characters on any of these shows act like fools. It is also a great diversion from the problems our lives hand us these days.
Hats off to all the people on these shows that have figured out how to make money by just letting a camera follow them around. Feel free to email me or post a comment on this topic. I would love to hear from fans of any of these shows explaining their appeal. I will happily share the insights received in a future column.
All times are EST
ABC: The Middle: (New) Mike helps his brother, Rusty (Norm Macdonald), move some furniture into the Heck family’s garage, only to realize the furniture is stolen; Frankie hopes to land a part-time job in a department store so she can get a discount on Christmas presents.
CBS: Survivor: Philippines: (New) Family members pay a visit to the castaways and participate in a challenge.
FOX: The X Factor: (Live) The top finalists perform live.
NBC: Whitney: (New) After agreeing to divulge all their secrets to each other, Whitney and Alex discover that complete honesty isn’t always a good thing.
CW: Arrow: (New) As Oliver and Helena (guest star Jessica DeGouw) grow closer; Oliver trains her to be his ally, complete with showing her how to use a crossbow. Diggle disapproves of Oliver sharing his secret with Helena as he’s not sure she can be trusted, but Oliver refuses to listen to his concerns.
ABC: The Neighbors: (New) Marty and Debbie dislike the kids’ entitled attitude toward Christmas and decide to return the gifts and use the money for a family vacation; when the Weavers realize the aliens already opened all the presents, Larry Bird must save Christmas.
NBC: Guys With Kids: (New) As Chris and Sheila squabble over her engagement ring, Gary and Marny stumble through a holiday date night.
ABC: Modern Family: (Repeat) The family puts together a quick Christmas celebration when they realize they won’t be together on the actual day.
CBS: Criminal Minds: (New) The BAU investigates a series of male bodies that have been oddly disposed of, finding themselves in search of a killer with ritualistic tendencies.
NBC: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: (New) The SVU squad must race against the clock to track down a vicious killer on a shooting spree. Patricia Arquette and Jason Gedrick guest star.
CW: Supernatural: (New) Sam asks a hunter named Martin (guest star Jon Gries) to keep an eye on Benny (guest star Ty Olsson) without telling Dean.
ABC: Suburgatory: (New) George assumes that Tessa will be thrilled to go on an excursion with her mother in New York, but Tessa finds herself missing Chatswin and her father; the Shay family is thrown into turmoil when Ryan finds out he was adopted.
ABC: Nashville: (New) Rayna reconsiders things after hearing Teddy’s side of the story; Juliette finds an unexpected sense of belonging with Sean’s family; Gunnar confesses his feelings; Deacon and Avery are each offered opportunities.
CBS: The Grammy Nominations Concert Live: Taylor Swift and LL Cool J host the hour which includes performances from Maroon 5, Luke Bryan, The Who, Ne-Yo, and Hunter Hayes. Also, a tribute to Johnny Cash.
NBC: Chicago Fire: (New) When Mills sees the horrors of the job firsthand, Casey steps up to show him why it’s worth it.
New episodes of:
Restaurant Impossible at 9 p.m. on Food Channel
American Restoration at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on History Channel
Border Wars at 9 p.m. on NGC
Ghost Hunters at 9 p.m. on SyFy
Toy Hunter at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Moonshiners at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on DSC
American Horror Story: Asylum at 10 p.m. on FX
Duck Dynasty at 10 p.m. on A&E
Top Chef at 10 p.m. on BRAVO
Invention USA at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on History Channel
For movie lovers:
Ace Ventura When Nature Calls on ENC
Money For Nothing on FLIX
Hancock on FX
4:44 Last Day on Earth on SHO
The Anniversary Party on SUND
Ladies of Leisure on TCM
Analyze this at 9 p.m. on STARZ
Contagion at 9 p.m. on HBO
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