Reality in the Real World

Apparently readers of the Twelve Mile Circle aren’t exactly aficionados of the Reality Television trend either, as my Jersey Shore article resonated with a distinct thud. I still think it’s rather odd to have a town named Jersey Shore in the middle of Pennsylvania a solid four hour drive away from the nearest ocean. However, I’ve come to learn over time that my tastes diverge from the 12MC audience’s tastes and that’s fine. No harm no foul. My fascination didn’t end with this one instance unfortunately so some of you may wish to skip today and come back later in the week.

While I was on this reality kick I wanted to understand if there were other geographic features sharing a name and a possible embarrassment by coincidental association with the genre. I figured a good place to start would be a list of reality television programs. I have to admit I was taken aback by the sheer number of shows that have been aired. There are hundreds of them. It won’t be long before all of us will have to deal with cameras and paparazzi.

Washington Boundary Stone in Virginia
Southwest Stone 4

I’m going to call mine "Geogeek the Boundary Hunter." It will get pulled off-the-air about ten minutes into the initial episode somewhere around Southwest Stone 4 during a protracted explanation of retrocession. That’s when the audience will realize that it’s not going to get any more exciting.

Back to the point. I glanced through the list of shows intent on finding likely candidates. I discarded obvious choices such as the Real Housewives franchise with geographic identities hard-wired into their titles (e.g., The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). I searched for accidental associations only.

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The Bachelor involves a single man in search of a potential wife amongst women willing to do just about anything to further their budding television careers. In other words, everyone on this show deserves each other and the chances of a successful marriage happening as a result are exceedingly remote.

Speaking of exceedingly remote, that would probably also describe Bachelor, Missouri. Sad and forlorn might also be apt. Maybe next season The Bachelor could relocate here and help rejuvenat the town a bit. If not, there are approximately 150 other geographic features known as Bachelor in the United States, including Mt. Bachelor in Oregon which I visited last summer.

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Donald Trump might be looking at a new locale for his Apprentice series now that his birther conspiracies appear to have tanked in the 2012 presidential election. He’d probably feel right at home at Apprentice Tank — a small water reservoir — in Apache County, Arizona. Google Maps calls this "Old Tank" although the US Geologic Service uses "Apprentice Tank" and that’s the definitive source so I’ll go with that one. It fits the narrative better.

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Survivor is one of the granddaddies of the Reality Television universe. It’s a true, umm… survivor. Most of these shows don’t last but a season or two however Survivor continues to chug along into something like its twenty-fifth season now. It’s hard to imagine that there are many more places left for the contestants to survive within anymore. Maybe they could go to the wilds of Central Park in New York City or something like that. Oh wait, that one’s already been done.

Another option might be Survivors Hill in Shasta County, California which summits at 6,490 feet (1,978 metres). Certainly there are more impressive Cascades crests nearby. Chaos Crag immediately to the west has an interesting name and nearby Lassen Peak certainly has a height advantage at 10,462 ft. (3,189 m), as examples. Nonetheless I’ll stick with the name that equates to Reality TV gold and select Survivors Hill.

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How can I not mention Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? What a train wreck of a show. This one has somehow and very improbably busted onto the reality scene to pull ahead of the pack. Can anyone admit honestly that he or she hasn’t at least taken a five minute peek at it just to try to understand what the buzz is about? I have. That’s all I could withstand at a single sitting. It’s like driving past an accident and slowing down to assess the damage. Perhaps some of you may be stronger willed than I so I shouldn’t be so judgmental. I’m not known for having much willpower.

I was disappointed to learn that the family lives in McIntyre, Georgia because I found a perfect place for them: Boo Boos Lake. It’s located in Crawford County, Missouri directly next to a trailer park, and it looks to be a fairly upscale one judging by the quantity of double-wides. The show might as well have a suitable location as it exploits a family and panders to stereotypes. One wonders if the family’s newfound affluence and notoriety deriving from the show will somehow end up ruining its appeal? It doesn’t matter. Plenty of shows will line up to take its place.

Feel free to go to the list and suggest other real world locations for reality television shows.

6 Replies to “Reality in the Real World”

  1. How can you tell if a post resonates with a thud? Personally, I thought the Jersey Shores in Pennsylvania was weird, and was trying to remembering something similar I thought I had heard recently, but got distracted by kids and figured I had probably heard it on your blog anyway.

    But now I remember, and I’m not sure if you mentioned it. I think I heard about it somewhere else. It was the small city of Guadalupe, California, near Santa Maria. If I understand right the city council wanted to change its name to Guadalupe Beach, in hopes of attracting tourists and businesses, hotels, etc., despite the fact that the city is miles from the coast and nowhere actually touches it. Granted, it is fairly close to the Pacific—five miles or so—but still, no beaches in the city. Looking it up just now I see the name change was on the ballot and the voters rejected it.

    1. True, there are a few of us outside of the usual 12MC mainstream (and isn’t that an odd concept… a 12MC mainstream?). It’s pretty easy to tell though because the access statistics both on Feedburner and Google Analytics record spikes and dips. I’d not heard of the Guadalupe, California situation — I wish I had; that would have been perfect fodder for one of the "totally unrelated" footers. That reminds me of something similar though so now I’ll have that nagging feeling until I can figure it out. 🙂

      ADDENDUM: Oh, yeh, now I remember:

  2. On a different note, I recently began to think of whether there are any municipalities whose names were inspired by sports venues. I’ve come up with two: Speedway, Indiana and Elmont, New York. Most likely there are others.

  3. I’m surprised how did everyone here forget about the incredible story of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
    Though admittedly T-or-C is far from the first thing that comes to mind as a “reality show” (and yes, I checked, it is on the list you linked to… wasn’t sure of that myself).

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