Philly’s 5 Worst Reality TV Moments
What exactly did Philadelphia do to deserve TLC’s “Summer Block Party”?
The short answer is that Northeast Philly resident Lisa Miller “won” a contest to host the event, which will bring a slew of the network’s reality stars — including the expansive Duggar family from 19 Kids and Counting, Kate Gosselin of Kate Plus Eight and a grown man who refers to himself as The Cake Boss — to Penn’s Landing on May 20th.
(We should resist blaming Ms. Miller, who seems to be a lovely woman trying to do something nice for her community. Sometimes good citizens mistakenly wish catastrophic events upon their hometowns.)
The longer explanation is that Philly’s karma debt runs deep, and the universe took a quick break from indifference to hand-tailor an 11th plague, just for us. It seems you can’t put shows like Parking Wars out there and expect to dodge the consequences.
Here are the city’s worst moments in reality TV — until, of course, TLC films a special of next month’s unholy gathering.
The Real World Philadelphia
MTV almost called off the 15th season of the reality show after producers got into a dispute with local trade unions while renovating the historic Corn Exchange building. After filming finally got under way, two off-duty police officers were charged with assaulting a plainclothes officer guarding the house, and at least one cast member caught body lice while out and about in our fair city. Welcome to Philadelphia, kids — please return the lice combs with your Comcast box.
Our parking problems generated enough material for seven seasons of A&E’s infamous show following Parking Authority employees as they ticketed, towed and booted their way across the city. Tourism and marketing officials complained it was bad for the city’s image, and then-Governor Rendell claimed he wouldn’t tune in as a form of protest. But we know Ed was watching for the same reason we were watching: We’re bad people, and the sound effects were awesome.
The Discovery Channel’s short-lived series about competing tow truck companies tried to capitalize on the success of Parking Wars. It wasn’t a bad idea, but by 2010, no one was surprised by the guns in our glove boxes.
Jon & Kate Plus 8
(plus assorted specials and spin-offs)
True, the Gosselin family’s show was filmed at their home in Berks County. But Kate was born in Philadelphia, and for that we must take responsibility (and/or redraw the county lines).
The Unrealized Housewives
The only thing worse than spawning a Real Housewives franchise? Getting passed over for a Real Housewives franchise. Every time producers are rumored to be scouting the area, Rittenhouse and Main Line hopefuls polish up their Batshit Resumes, only to be letdown yet again. Why can’t us, Bravo? Why can’t us?
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