Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

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       I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy for as long as I remember. The very first episode introduces us to Meredith Grey, a surgical intern who moves back home to Seattle to start her internship after her mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

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      The night before she begins working at the hospital she goes to a bar, meets a man, and has a one-night stand. She shows up at work the next day only to discover that the man she slept with is Dr. Derek Shepherd (a.k.a. McDreamy), neurosurgeon extraordinaire, and one of Meredith’s bosses.

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       The show is now on its tenth season, and while a lot of people I know have given up on it, I have not. Yes, some of the plot lines have gotten ridiculous. And yes, it is almost an entirely new cast at this point. However, there is something about this show that has me coming back week after week.

       When I say that the plot lines have become a bit ridiculous, I mean it. Meredith and her coworkers have experienced a bomb in the hospital, a mass shooting in the hospital, a plane crash, and the deaths of several coworkers. How can one person experience so much misfortune? The probability of all of these things happening to one person is very slim, but these events keep the show very interesting—emphasis on very.

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      I personally have enjoyed watching Meredith and her best friend Cristina Yang grow and become very successful surgeons. Cristina was always my favorite character, partly because for a really long time I wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and seeing that position occupied by a strong female character made me happy. Although she claimed to only care about her career, seeing Cristina always have Meredith’s back showed viewers that she did have a human side, making her a well-rounded character.

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     Apparently this season is Cristina’s last one, and I am sad to see her go. I do not think the show will be the same without her. It is really sad that so many characters come and go on this show. As a viewer you become attached to these characters. You are happy when good things happen to them, and you cry when they feel pain. It feels almost cruel to have Cristina taken away not long after we have lost so many of the former main characters.

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     I am curious to see how they get rid of Cristina on the show. My guess is that she will be hired by a different hospital, but with this show you never really know. She could contract a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis; the writers are unpredictable.

     This season is coming to a close. The season finale is scheduled for May 15th. I wonder how this season will wrap up. I have a feeling that it will be very dramatic. With what has happened in past seasons, literally anything is possible.

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The Challenge: Free Agents (MTV)

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         It’s my favorite time of the year! MTV’s The Challenge is back. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, this show is amazing! It is a combination of everything I want in a reality television show. It essentially combines The Real World, Survivor, and American Gladiators in one show. What more could a girl want?

       The show originally premiered in 1998 under the title Road Rules: All Stars. For The Challenge’s second season it was renamed Real World/Road Rules Challenge and the name stuck until the show’s 19th season when it was simply renamed The Challenge.

           The Challenge, back when it was named Real World/Road Rules Challenge would take former cast members of MTV’s two reality shows, The Real World and Road Rules, and make them compete in physical challenges and puzzles, similar to the format of Survivor. At the end of each episode, whoever lost that week’s activity was put up for elimination. The group then voted on an individual to battle that losing person in the elimination round. The winner of the elimination round was allowed to return to the house. The loser went home.

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     Each year there is a different theme for The Challenge and the elimination rounds work a little differently. One year the theme was exes and the contestants were all paired up with people they had either dated or hooked up with. Another year the theme was ‘battle of the seasons’ and the contestants competed in teams with their former Real World cast mates. This is part of the reason why the name of the show was changed to simply The Challenge. Road Rules was cancelled in 2007 and the producers of The Challenge had ‘fresh meat’ (individuals who had never been on television before) compete on the show. Therefore the old title of the show no longer fit.

    The 25th season of the show premiered this Thursday, April 10th. This season’s theme is free agents. It is an individual’s game and the eliminations for this season work differently. After the challenge for the week, the winners pick two people who lost (one boy and one girl) to enter the elimination round. The people who battle them in the elimination round are completely left up to chance. Everyone who lost that week’s challenge draws cards and whoever draws the kill card competes in the elimination challenge against those selected by the winners of that week’s challenge. The winners of the elimination round return to the house and the losers go home. One boy and one girl go home each week.

 

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     I am so glad that the show is back on TV! Some of my favorite competitors have returned, but there are also some new faces. It will be interesting to see how some of the rookies (new competitors) do against veteran players.

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Southern Charm (Bravo)

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Bravo debuted this show on March 3rd and because I watch nearly every show on Bravo, I decided to give this show a chance. At first I was completely indifferent about it. I watched two back-to-back episodes late one night because there was nothing else on television. Soon the show grew to annoy me and I could no longer tolerate it.

       The first problem I had with the show was that there seemed to be no actual purpose for the show. It seemed like the producers just wanted to display wealth in the southern United States. The show followed a group of individuals around Charleston, South Carolina as they went to polo events, dinner parties, and the beach. There was nothing distinctly interesting about most of these people. Then I noticed a second problem with the show.

       Some of the people on the show looked significantly older than others, so I decided to look up the cast members online. I found all of the cast bios on Bravo’s website and I was right. Some of the cast members were almost twice as old as other cast members. Thomas Ravenel, a former South Carolina politician was 48, and Craig Conover, a third year law student was 25. That led me to ask the question, in what universe would a 48-year-old and a 25-year-old have the same group of friends?

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Here is a link to the bios: 

http://www.bravotv.com/southern-charm/season-1

Then the show got really bizarre when Thomas and another cast member on the show, 34-year-old Shep, competed for the same girl. Which led me to ask the question, in what universe would a 48-year-old former politician and a 34-year-old eternal frat guy compete for the same girl? The show just began to look extremely phony.

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       None of cast members seemed to know each other very well, and as much as some of the cast members claimed to have ‘grown up’ with the others, I knew that it was not true. The age difference between the characters was too significant for them to have ever played in the sandbox together.

       The show also presented cast member Jenna King as the edgy new girl from Los Angeles who captures the attention of all the men on the show. However, in her bio it clearly states that the 28-year-old grew up in rural South Carolina and attended college in Charleston. While she may have lived in Los Angeles right before starring on the show, she is not the non-southerner that they are trying to portray her as. She is not clueless about the way things work around town.

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I realize that most reality television shows are fake, but it seems like Bravo isn’t even trying to cover up some of the phoniness. This show is clearly just an attempt to showcase wealthy individuals from South Carolina. I understand that they need to have some drama in order to make the show watchable, but then maybe they should get some interesting cast members. The only interesting character on the show is Thomas, the former politician who spent time in prison for cocaine distribution.

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The show seems more concerned with his wealth than with his criminal past. They talk about how he is a rich guy who “ruined the family name” with his arrest, but everything is presented with a ‘poor rich guy’ lens. I feel like he has bigger concerns than what is shown on the show, but Bravo appears to be keeping things light. They have him hitting on girls half his age. I wonder if he’s only doing that for the cameras.