A RATION OF REALITY TV by Gerrie Ferris Finger

Wikipedia defines reality TV as “Television programming that documents unscripted situations and actual occurrences, and often features a previously publicly unknown cast. The genre highlights personal drama and conflict to a much greater extent than other unscripted television such as documentary shows…”

Just a minute. With that definition, I part ways with Wikipedia, a people’s encyclopedia I rely on for information in writing my novels.
Reality television is about as real as Bugs Bunny. I’ve never watched a full episode of Survivor, but I’ve seen enough outtakes to detect manipulation, scripting, coaching, editing and lines said straight from a story board. I know I used to write them.
A fired cast member of Storage Wars alleges in his lawsuit that producers staged entire storage lockers that were the subject of the auctions with valuable or unusual items to create drama and suspense for the show, sometimes faking scenes of bidding.

No doubt from this scribbler of fiction. Who wants to watch other people’s real trash? I have enough of my own. And Hoarders. Are people that hungry to see others wading through garbage for an entire show?

There’s sex aplenty in reality TV. It appears for some “stars” to start with their debut of “leaked” videos where they’re having explicit sex with their boyfriends. (Who else?) These untalented, fame-hungry people are turned into infamous personalities when they are awarded their own reality TV shows. I know, they really care what I think. Certainly, Paris Hilton and her best friends forever do not, nor would Kourtney and Kim when they take Miami. (These shows I have never seen. I am a dedicated researcher.)
If the producers of Duck Dynasty wanted to humiliate (as was alleged a few yeas ago) a class of people, it backfired. I don’t know right now, but it was one of the most popular shows on television. I’ll say this for the show, it was boring enough to be reality.
But I’m not a total naysayer of the genre.
My first remembered TV experience (after the real western, Gunsmoke) was when my parents could not wait to see Candid Camera. I researched when it came on air—in 1948. (I’m not that old, but was this the dawn of reality TV? Some say it was the earlier live comedy shows with Sid Caesar’s and Milton Berle, where anything could and did go wrong.)
Candid Camera (and its copycats) had a renaissance in the seventies and was re-reincarnated again in 2014.The original Candid Camera got old with the its staged practical jokes, but people’s reactions were real—as far as my childhood memories recall. Maybe I’ll tune in to the new edition. But what’s that they say? You can’t go home again—or something old is old again?
Speaking of old reality TV, The People’s Court became reality for me when my cousin was sued and tried on air by a roommate over a couple pieces of furniture. He had to pay.
Are there current shows purporting to be reality TV that I like. Yes. My husband is a devoted fan of Deadliest Catch. I’ve watched a few episode—seen one, you’ve seen them all. I like The Next Food Network Star, not because I don’t believe it’s staged, but because I like food shows. (My husband, OTOH, does not. Unless it’s grilled or breakfast food, which he does quite well, he’s not interested, and he thinks his food from the grill and griddle couldn’t be beat.)
Along the byways to my becoming a sophisticated TV watcher (by my own account), my reality television consisted of documentaries, television news and game shows. Today, game shows not so much. About documentaries—favorites of mine—Wiki, says they are in the gray area of reality TV. Ask the producers of true documentaries (not docudramas) what they think!
 My husband has added sports to my watching reality pleasure. I play golf and I watch golf. If spitting into the grass and muttering the F word isn’t reality, I don’ know what is. (Tiger Woods has paid handsomely for his profanity—in cash. He doesn’t care. He’s a big reality star.) If a fight on the baseball diamond isn’t real, it’s really good to watch.
Lately, I’ve gravitated to talk shows. Bill O’Reilly can get riled up and Morning Joe can get into Mika’s face. Makes me wonder about the survivor there, and which one will get voted out with show’s next edition?

Bio and links Gerrie Ferris Finger:
Retired journalist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, in 2009, Gerrie Ferris Finger won The Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Minotaur Best First Traditional Novel Competition for THE END GAME, released by St. Martin's Minotaur in 2010. She grew up in Missouri, then headed further south to join the staff of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There, she researched and edited the columns of humorist Lewis Grizzard and co-wrote a news column with another reporter for three years. The series that started there is still going strong today. Running with Wild Blood is scheduled for release in January 2015.

My Review:

Gerrie Ferris Finger never disappoints and Running with Wild Blood is no exception.

Richard Lake, of the Atlanta Police Department, gets a cold case when a witness suddenly gets his memory back. Lake recruits MoriahDru to look into the murder of Juliet Trapp, 16 when she died, and a student at Winters Farm Academy.

Juliet Trapp had told her mother she was going to Bike Week with Wild Blood, an outlaw motorcycle gang, over the Christmas break. The police were unable to solve Juliet’s murder after interviews with the bikers. The case roars into high gear when Juliet’s father, Sherman Trapp, is murdered in Chattanooga where Wild Blood is the predominant motorcycle club. Dru discovers that Trapp was trying to find the killer of his daughter, but got too close.


That's the official blurb, but this mystery is so much more.

Dru, is a licensed private detective and the owner of Child Chase, specializing in finding missing children. 

She and Richard Lake are romantically involved which adds a bit of spice, especially when FBi Agent Grady Locke becomes in involved in the investigation and takes a liking to Dru. 

Besides descriptions of mouth-watering meals eaten by Dru and Lake, the couple’s involvement and riding with motorcycle gangs during the investigation, will all keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. 

And yes, there are some great gun battles. Dru is no wimp when it comes to hand-to-hand combat or handling a gun.

I loved everything about this book. The dialogue and action ring true, and it’s obvious the author knew of what she was writing about.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith


Thanks for featuring me on your blog, Marilyn, and a special thanks for a great review. Glad you loved the book. That's why we write, isn't it?
M.M. Gornell said…
Great post, Gerrie! Really enjoyed reading this morning. Good review, and Running with Wild Blood is now on my TBR list. Continued success!

Marja said…
Excellent post, Gerri, and I agree with most of what you said. Although, even documentaries are sometimes staged. I grew up with my parents and grandparents telling me about the Depression. I recently saw a documentary where they tried to say so many stories were untrue and that things weren't as bad as they seemed. They should try asking the people who lived through it. I'll get off my soapbox now.

I'm adding you to my TBR stack.
Marja McGraw

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