Let's face it. "Reality" television is anything but real, and frankly it's getting kind of stupid. The stars of the shows are usually pretty boring, so producers cook up all these fake situations to keep the story line moving.
Think all the reality show angles are played out? Think again. The genealogy world is ripe with fresh pitches for this stale medium. Here's what our television line-up would look like if genealogy dominated reality television:
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Seven Utah women juggle family, marriage and genealogy. In the pilot episode, sparks fly during a special trip to the Family History Library as one housewife checks out more film than she can use and proceeds to hog left-handed microfilm reader #2. Will these ladies ever patch things up? Stay tuned...
Citation House - Big Brother
What happens when you put 14 genealogy strangers in a house and film their every family history move? Who knows how to cite a diner menu as a source? Who can perform a reasonably exhaustive search the longest without falling asleep? Losers get voted out. The winner gets a 24k gold embossed copy of Evidence Explained.
You Have No Idea Who You Are
Are you related to an Indian Princess? Was your ancestor the cruise director on the Mayflower? Do you brag about how you finished your genealogy years ago? Be a star as trained professionals obliterate your family tree and highlight your glaring research errors, all for the schadenfreudian pleasure of the television audience.
Weekly episodes follow the lives of genealogists and their families that don't understand that these piles of genealogy files are actually part of a "system" and if you move them, all is lost. Episode 1 follows Frank and his family as they battle to get stacks of genealogy books off the dining room table so they can stop eating dinner on tv trays in the family room. Episode 2 follows Sarah as she learns to recycle old journals and sees the top of her nightstand for the first time in three years.
A documentary-style series that highlights the best petty arguments and ego clashes at genealogy society meetings. Watch as Joe hates on Bill for drinking coffee without contributing to the coffee fund, Ann glares at society president Jill because of a miscommunication regarding the newsletter, and Barbara scowls in the last row without telling anyone what's bothering her. Get ready to rumble in HERITAGE WARS!!
Family History Pioneers
In the tradition of Texas Ranch House, PBS brings takes us back in time to 1980. Ten "pioneer" genealogists live in a house with no Internet, computer or access to digital collections. All they get are paper pedigree charts, notebook paper, envelopes and a roll of stamps. Can they adapt and survive without modern conveniences? Welcome to genealogy: pioneer style!
Follow the crème de la crème of genealogy society as they strut their stuff in the big leagues of national conferences. Catty gossip about colleagues? Check. Tipsy industry big-wigs revealing more than they should? Check. Exclusive invitation-only events that make you jealous except when you're invited? Check. Conference divas: you totally hate them except when they invite you to sit at the cool table and then you're besties for life. Or at least until the next conference.
Get your DVRs ready but don't hold your breath. Reality television seems to have lost its way though these shows are worth some play, don't you think?