13 episodes

Reality TV is dismissed as guilty pleasure, low brow... even trash. But whether you want to admit it or not, you probably have heard of Snooki, Lisa Vanderpump or Kim Kardashian. Over the past 30 years, reality TV has become a place to see the social and political moment play out in real time -- from racial tensions on The Real World New York to gender dynamics on The Bachelor. On this season, join host Mariah Smith as she dissects the history of the genre one show at a time, revealing how it's shaped our culture and how our culture shaped it.

Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV Neon Hum Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 296 Ratings

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Reality TV is dismissed as guilty pleasure, low brow... even trash. But whether you want to admit it or not, you probably have heard of Snooki, Lisa Vanderpump or Kim Kardashian. Over the past 30 years, reality TV has become a place to see the social and political moment play out in real time -- from racial tensions on The Real World New York to gender dynamics on The Bachelor. On this season, join host Mariah Smith as she dissects the history of the genre one show at a time, revealing how it's shaped our culture and how our culture shaped it.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Introducing: I Am Rama

    Introducing: I Am Rama

    Rama was a spiritual teacher in the 80s and 90s who inspired many of his students while helming what many of his detractors would describe as a cult. He defied society’s archetypal vision of a New Age leader, eschewing minimalism for wealth and celebrity. He was also a man ahead of his time, encouraging his students to develop careers in computer science before that was mainstream.

    For some, following Rama's lead worked out spiritually, and financially too. But for others, Rama's actions contradicted his cool persona; some eventually came forward with accusations of abuse, others vanished, whistleblowers went to the media, and the group began to shrink and splinter.



    In this 10-part investigative series, Jonathan Hirsch explores the life, death and impact of Rama. "I Am Rama" drops June 22.
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    • 5 min
    Introducing: Mouthing Off with Olivia Caridi

    Introducing: Mouthing Off with Olivia Caridi

    Olivia Caridi, star of season 20 of “The Bachelor” and an avid watcher of all sorts of television, is known for her smart, quick-witted mouth in more ways than one. On her new weekly podcast "Mouthing Off with Olivia," she'll interview reality stars, actors and actresses, influencers and YouTube stars to get the latest in entertainment. Expect some major gossip, as Olivia will give each of her guests their own time to "Mouth Off" and deliver rants of epic proportions.
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    • 3 min
    E10: The Circle & the future of reality TV

    E10: The Circle & the future of reality TV

    In 2021, it’s not enough to just become famous. To really capitalize on your 15 minutes, you need to tell a story and be authentic. The Circle perfectly captures this shift. It’s like the Real World but ...dystopian? Host Mariah Smith talks to S1 US cast member Chris Sapphire and journalist Etan Smallman about how the show demonstrates we can form real connections -- even through a screen. She also brings back scholar Racquel Gates and her producer Joanna Clay to discuss where reality TV is headed.
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    • 37 min
    E9: The subversive sweetness of the Great British Baking Show

    E9: The subversive sweetness of the Great British Baking Show

    All the winner of the Great British Baking Show gets is a cake stand. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a nail biter. In fact, we argue it’s one of the most anxiety-producing shows on TV and that it subverts the competition show paradigm. The Great British Baking Show doesn't need villains, a cash prize or crazy stakes. It's ...nice? Host Mariah Smith talks to 2019 winner David Atherton, journalist Scott Bryan and scholar Elizabeth Nathanson about how kinder, more earnest television can be just as captivating as its cutthroat counterparts.
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    • 32 min
    E8: 90 Day Fiance, the delusion of love

    E8: 90 Day Fiance, the delusion of love

    90 Day Fiancé is the trainwreck TV show we can’t stop watching. The secret sauce could be the romance. The tricky tropes. The desperation. I think it's desperation, actually. In this episode, we’re going to get into why 90 Days is so compelling as a social experiment. What do these chaotic relationships teach us? And what does the backdrop of the K1 visa process say about the immigrant stories we tell? Join host Mariah Smith as she dissects the franchise with comedians Marcy Jarreau and Nicole Byer and journalists Alexis Soloski and Shamira Ibrahim.
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    • 47 min
    E7: Queer Eye, a master class in male vulnerability

    E7: Queer Eye, a master class in male vulnerability

    Queer Eye for The Straight Guy was an instant hit in 2003. Oprah, Jay Leno, even President George W. Bush were talking about the Fab Five. They were promoted as gay superheroes, who came in and made over a straight man’s life – but we never really got to know them. The Netflix reboot, out in 2018, changed all that. Today's Fab Five shares their struggles and opt for “make better” over “makeover.” In his episode, host Mariah Smith talks to OG culture guy Jai Rodriguez, interior design guy Bobby Berk and superfan Tobin Low.
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    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
296 Ratings

296 Ratings

meeshism ,

Love!

Loved this series, would love to hear more… maybe Wife Swap?!?

2GirlsRock ,

Hooked!

I was hooked from episode one. Mariah does a great job as the host, she brings you into each episode with her enthusiasm and knowledge. I enjoyed the people she brought in for the back stories and a deeper dive into the psychology and social sciences of the shows. I watched the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guys and the first Survivor and RHOC shows. After listening to the Survivor episode my son and I watched season 13 of Survivor!

DevilishHuman ,

Wrong episodes

The episode of An American Family and the first Kardashian episode are switched! Very sad when I downloaded only the Kardashian season to listen to and I missed the entire first episode :(

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