Our schadenfreude-fuelled love affair with reality TV

Our schadenfreude-fuelled love affair with reality TV

There’s something to be said for watching perfect strangers (or, even better, pseudo-celebrities) make fools of themselves in front of the camera. And this fall’s reality TV lineup—whether it features hockey brutes attempting camel spins or dinner guests puking in the powder room—promises no shortage of wince-inducing entertainment. After all, you can’t have too much trash in trash TV. Here, a look at which Toronto shows put the boob in boob tube (and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about watching).

Trashier than clubland at closing time


The premise: Slice’s new rehab show for trust-fund kid wannabes chronicles the spending habits (and ensuing fiscal fracas) of Toronto women who lean on spouses, parents or credit cards to bankroll their pampered lifestyles. Case in point: Princess Lee is a Holt Renfrew sales clerk with a shoe and handbag addiction (and a $25,000 credit card balance). Each princess must attempt reformation—guided by that reality staple, the strict but sassy host—in the hopes of winning up to $5,000 to pay down her debt.

Quintessential moment: The dramatic crown-breaking ceremony that concludes each episode in which a former princess successfully abandons her spendy ways.

How to justify the couch time: A cautionary tale—even one that makes a Hilton heiress look like a financial fuddy-duddy—is never a bad thing.

Minimally trashy


The premise: The second season of CBC’s insanely popular skate-off will once again pair female figure skating champs with slightly dusty NHL stars to see which odd couple comes closest to a perfect six.

Quintessential moment: Watching season one bruiser Tie Domi dance to Sinatra in hockey skates was entertaining, but the crackling chemistry between victors Jamie Salé and Craig Simpson was the real draw. Season two features more behind-the-scenes footage. We’ve got our fingers crossed for some delicious smut.

How to justify the couch time: Hockey players attempting gracefulness—what a fascinating social experiment! But seriously, don’t worry. With 1.7 million viewers, this show’s gone from guilty pleasure to national treasure.

Read our Battle of the Blades episode recaps now >>

Somewhere in between


The premise: A series of Toronto couples duke it out on this Food Network debut to determine who throws the best shindig. Hosts—Holt Renfrew executive chef Corbin Tomaszeski and BBC etiquette expert Anthea Turner—weigh in Iron Chef–style on everything from table settings to conversation techniques. The winning couple scores bragging rights and a $1,000 set of pots and pans.

Quintessential moment: When a plastered guest hits on the hostess while another throws up in the bathroom.

How to justify the couch time: Hey, you throw dinner parties. This is homework.

(Images: Dinner Party Wars and Princess courtesy of Canwest Broadcasting; Battle of the Blades courtesy of CBC)

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