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Friday, September 12, 2014

A Reality TV Vocabulary Primer

Well, the Fall 2014 television season has begun, which means lots of new shows vying for our attention. Among these shows are new reality TV shows, and while the premises for these shows may have upped the OMG-quotient ("Dating Naked" comes to mind), they all include a very basic vocabulary that lets you, the viewer, know that yes, you have stumbled onto a reality show. So, for those of you who took a break over the summer from reality TV, or those of you who are (shocking!) reality TV virgins, here is the quick and dirty, definitive reality TV vocab primer - also known as Reality TV as a Second Language.

This is reality TV's name for a friend or a frenemy who appears in your same reality TV universe.

Used as an adjective or as a noun to describe a castmate or a castmate's activities which are particularly irksome, illegal, or that could potentially cause a danger to other castmates. Used in a sentence: Kim went all crazypants shotgunning quarts of milk at Phaedra's Black Cleopatra Costume Party.

Often used as a verb (NeNe disrespected Phaedra by not inviting her to her Superhero Drag Party) to describe actions by castmates that hurt the feelings of other castmates.

The consequences from the thoughtless actions of a crazypants castmate. Drama can be caused by anyone at anytime and should be avoided AT ALL COSTS. One's ability to avoid drama is viewed as a virtue by other castmates.

Not to be confused with the epic "Beowulf" that you read in high school, this use of the term "epic" can describe a plethora of activities or items. An example: Reza's Cold Mountain theme party was epic. Or this: Reza drank an epic amount of espressos.

Used most frequently by female castmates to describe other female castmates who may no longer technically qualify for the "girl" designation. An example: This group of girls have so much drama.

Got your back:
Used as a term of endearment for one, or more, of one's castmates who consistently demonstrate loyalty. An example: I thought Tamra had my back, by I was wrong.

Loving someone to death:
A turn of phrase used by castmates to describe their love of a fellow castmate, usually declared when the castmates are inebriated on a party bus or on one of the many forced group vacations castmates must go on with cameras rolling. Usually ending with a sloppy, weird hug.

Team [Insert Name]:
Groups of girls typically subdivide into teams when drama has arisen in the group. The team name denotes the principle parties involved in the altercation. An example: In the matter of Jill vs. Bethanny, I'm Team Jill

That just happened:
Often, reality TV castmates must take on the role of narrator for their filmed realities in soliloquies spoken to their camera confessionals. In order, then, to express surprise/outrage/horror, they have developed a verbal shorthand, the phrase, "that just happened", though, spoken with a dramatic pause BETWEEN. EACH. WORD. 

Throwing anyone under the bus:
The term, used to describe an act of betrayal, is in the Top Ten Reality TV Vocabulary Pantheon! And there seems to be no shortage of buses in the reality TV universe as castmates throw each other under buses weekly, and, sometimes, multiple times within one episode. It defies the laws of physics as some of these castmates do not appear to possess the requisite physical strength it would take to toss someone underneath a bus. 

Throwing up a little in your mouth:
This turn of phrase, used to describe a person or situation so vile that it elicits nausea and vomiting, is a staple of reality TV. It seems to have its roots in the Valley Girl speak of the 1980s and that era's popular phrase, "gag me with a spoon." 

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