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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Has reality TV finally reached rockbottom with ‘Reality Hell’?

Just when I think reality TV cannot possibly get any worse — like I did just a few months ago with Fox’s arranged-marriage reality show — I am proven wrong. Variety reports:

E! will deconstruct the reality genre with its new nonscripted offering “Reality Hell,” airing Sundays starting Aug. 16.

The half-hour, which received an eight-episode order, will feature a cast of several actors and one dupe each week who thinks he or she is appearing on a new, genuine reality program.

“So many people are drawn to reality shows for their small taste of fame,” E! director of original programming and series development Jason Sarlanis told Daily Variety, “and ironically, this show gives it to those willing participants who are just very much excited to be part of the reality process. I can tell you the joy they get from when they find out they’re on (‘Reality Hell’) has been very fun for us.”

Joy? People get joy out of being punked? People are happy to be made such obvious fools of? I don’t doubt that the producers are having fun — only a sadist could be involved in putting together something like this — but are we now so sadly desperate for our 15 seconds on TV that those the producers are hoodwinking enjoy it?

Oh, and there’s this, too:

The challenges on each episode of “Hell” are so extreme, if not ridiculous, that they test the pigeons’ passion for winning.

Did not one of the dupes call bullshit on what they were being asked do? Is there nothing so extreme that people will not do it in exchange for fame?

Has reality TV finally reached rockbottom with Reality Hell? Or can it still get worse?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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