In competition-based reality shows, a notable subset, there are other common elements such as one participant being eliminated per episode, a panel of judges, and the concept of "immunity from elimination." An early example of the genre was the 1991 Dutch series Nummer 28, which was the first show to bring together strangers and record their interactions.
These shows and a number of others (usually also competition-based) became global franchises, spawning local versions in dozens of countries.
Ryan Murphy's treatment of racism, sexism, tabloid exploitation, and the most notorious criminal trial of the 20th Century could have been a trashy mess.
But the first season of his newest anthology season was a near-perfect masterpiece, a brilliant combination of high and lowbrow subjects paired perfectly with some stellar performances from the likes of Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Brown (plus campy, over-the-top appearances by Nathan Lane, John Travolta, and Connie Britton).
Malcolm In The Middle, “Bowling” (April 1, 2001)Because Malcolm In The Middle got so bad for so long, the innovations it spurred when it debuted in 2000 have mostly been forgotten.
South Park, “Scott Tenorman Must Die” (July 11, 2001)Although South Park was a bigger cultural sensation in the ’90s, almost all its best episodes came in the first half of this decade.
Case in point: this acidic black-comic riff on what happens when Cartman vows to get his revenge on Scott Tenorman, an older boy who conned him by telling Cartman he could reach puberty by buying some of Scott’s pubic hair.
And it was perfectly timed, proving in the midst of ongoing national conversations about race and sexism that the issues we encountered two decades ago still loom heavily over our culture today.
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