I am not a fan of reality TV…. scratch that… I am not a fan of MOST reality TV. Real Housewives– my ass. Give me a college graduate working a minimum wage job while trying to raise kids and a man, all the while getting turned down for government assistance because she makes too much money. THAT, my friends is REAL.

These reality TV competition shows. Big, fat WHATEVER. Not into the little drama queens and screwing over every person in their path in order to win a game.  Sorry, give me hard work and an honest work ethic anytime over that drivel.

There are three shows, though, that I– the fan girl confessor– do actually watch. And respect.  They celebrate hard work, self-aware self-aggrandizement and a sense of normalcy in a celebrity world… and I love them for it.

So, in no particular order. My reality TV recommendations:

1. Gene Simmons Family Jewels– A&E

I love this show.  Gene Simmons is one of the coolest entertainers around and his family is one of the most normal. Yes, I know they have more money than some small countries and live a lifestyle commiserate with that money.  Thing is, though, I have never felt like they rub it in people’s faces. They do these wonderful things, but are, for all intensive purposes, a regular family. They have their spats, raise their kids, go through all this normal STUFF; and we are entertained by this sense of elevated normalcy.  They also give back… so many times Gene and the family have done things for charities and the troops… and they never EVER seem put off by it.  Makes me proud to be a fan girl.

I have to give an extra BIG fan girl salute to the kids, Nick and Sophie. Those are two of the most unassuming and non-snobby young people that I have ever watched on TV.  They work hard and don’t take their lives for granted. I attribute that to wonderful parenting on the part of Gene and Shannon.  Well done, you two!  As long as A&E has you on TV, I will be there with bells on.

2. Kathy Griffin- My Life on the D-List–Bravo

This fan girl is TEAM GRIFFIN all the way!

Oh, Kathy…. you media hookah.  I love D-list because it knows what it is and what it isn’t.  It is not high art. It IS a damn funny show about Kathy’s incessant climb  to the top of Fame Mountain and the various ways she gets knocked down again.  She goes for the overly dramatic and in your face funny; then she goes to Iraq or to visit wounded soldiers back home.  She gives her mom Maggie all types of grief and cracks the verbal whip at her staff; but does so with a wink and a nudge that we have all come to appreciate and love.

Whether you like it or not, Kathy… you are A-list in our book.  But as the old saying goes: you can take Kathy out of the D-list, but you can’t take the D-list out of Kathy.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

3. America’s Got Talent–NBC

This show has the magic that American Idol has lost.  Take ordinary people of all ages and talents, put them on stage, and give them a chance to shine.  Add in three judges (Piers Morgan, Sharon Osborn and Howie Mandel) and one host (Nick Cannon), who know how to judge as well as entertain in a good natured fashion; then combine that with an audience that likes to share its opinion (for better OR for worse). What do you get? The best competition show on Television.

There are some absolutely talented people on this show. They range from singers to magicians to acrobats to everything in between.  They come with their dreams in hand and try to convince the judges and America that their talent is worth a million dollars and a headline show in Vegas.

I love the hopeful attitude of this show. I love the humor and supportive nature of the judges and Nick (even when the act is not-so-great).

What I love most, though, is the fact that this show relies on TALENT; not on who can screw over everybody the most… not on who the most dramatic cry baby is.  A normal person with an extraordinary talent tries to convince America to make their dream come true.  There is nothing more simple, or more entertaining.

So, that’s my list…. if you think you can convince me of a show that is not on this list… do your worst!  Worst thing that can happen is that I’ll tell you you’re an idiot.

Much love,

Fan Girl out!