Understanding Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars

What is Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars?  Here’s the answer to a question no one asked!  Short version: saying it’s a f@cked up game show is a more apt description than saying it’s reality TV.  The long version is a bit more complicated.

I imagine you maybe have some questions for me.

How is it a game show?
The thing that separates Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars from one of those shows where they just follow people around with a camera and construct a narrative in post production is that it’s clear what’s at stake:  the reality “stars” are fighting for their marriage.  I think it’s fair to say that if they decided to stay together at the end of the show’s run, they win!  Also, like a game show, each episode has a fairly rigid construction of marriage exercises designed to improve the couples’ marriages, so each episode doesn’t have much mystery; even if they tackle issues from an unexpected angle (or unexpected issue), they’re still tackling issues.  So, each person is really only competing with themselves, but as the viewer, you can’t help but pick out which couples have better relationships than others.

What’s this about exercises?
So the point of the show is they put each couple (almost always in a group scenario) through exercises to help bring their specific issues to light and put them on the path to solving them.  Sometimes these are simple “Hey, let’s talk about this” sorta things and other times, they try to make them more visual because it’s a TV show.  The communication exercise in which one person is blindfolded and driving a golf cart (or on foot, they’ve done it a few ways) while the spouse navigates for them is an example of one of their “Oh right, we’re on TV” sorta stunts.

So this show has some redeeming social value?
It kinda does!  I would say that seeing someone else’s relationship problems play out helps you identify strengths and weaknesses in your own relationship.  Understanding their problems and solutions can be a valuable tool to use in your own life.

But it’s still a reality show, right?
Yes, it IS reality TV – the group therapy component of the show is each person’s (and couple’s) reality and the non-exercise parts of the show are mostly people hanging out, eating, just talking about things we’ve already seen… it’s mostly padding and not useful to anyone, which brings me to…

This is the most padded show on television… EVER!
Marriage Boot Camp has a LOT of commercial breaks, pointless 30 second bumps in between commercials and breaks between the action that serve no purpose.  It could be a tight, well executed show in a 30 minute format, but since they’d doing the hour thing, there’s a lot of chuffa.

How is this show different from regular Marriage Boot Camp?
It’s not – I think someone at WE decided that if they used known people from reality series rather than folks off the street, their rating would increase.  I don’t know if any of that is true, but that’s my theory.  It makes no difference to us because besides The Apprentice and this show, we don’t watch any reality TV, so we don’t know who these folks are anyway.

And you watch this show because why?
I have to admit, Marriage Boot Camp truly is interesting.  When watching people examine themselves and their mate, you get to examine yourself, which I find to be useful process.  The show also gives you the added bonus of passing judgements on strangers from the comfy confines of your home AND they have a discount Dr. Phil.


ABOVE: not Dr. Phil.

If you’re in a relationship and are pro self-examination or if you just like casting judgement on people, Marriage Boot Camp might be for you…  but keep in mind, this show is UNWATCHABLE on live TV – you MUST DVR IT!

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on April 24, 2015, in tv review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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