All Articles Tagged "reality tv"

#FlashbackFriday: Monique Foreshadowed Reality TV’s Detrimental Effect On Black Women 9 Years Ago

June 10th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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VH1

VH1

This morning, the editors and I took a trip down reality TV memory lane and landed on an episode of one of the first shows to solidify the sustainability of the genre, Flavor of Love‘s little sister, Charm School. Don’t ask how we got there, just know that we did, starting with the time Mo’Nique gave Larissa, aka Boots, a read before we even called it a read.

That heated interaction was only one of many between the ladies, and it came to ahead during the Charm School reunion which aired July 8, 2007, and gave an eerie foreshadowing of the tumultuous relationship Black women and reality TV would have for years to come and which we’re currently still living through.

Continuing to feel singled out (even after Mo’Nique told her she wasn’t special enough for her to care about that much), Boots again questioned the “Headmistress” for picking on her throughout the show, which even caused Boots’ mother to step out of the audience during the reunion and tell Mo’Nique “you don’t run up on a young lady like that.” It was at that point that Mo’Nique asked, “Well when were you gonna walk up on her?” And then the real gems came:

“The reason I wanted you here today was not so you and I could have a confrontation because, from Black woman to Black woman, I’ve got nothing but love for you sister and I got nothing but love for that one,” Mo’Nique stated.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, be careful what you do and be careful what you say because the camera’s picking up every single thing and you don’t have to keep putting yourself out there like that. And then you have to ask the question: When that airs to America, how do we hold our head up with dignity? How do we put our heads back up? How do we walk down the street when a little girl of 10 says to Larissa, ‘you told that b-tch something!’ What do we say to her? What do we say to her? What do we do about that sista? That’s my point.

“I love [Larissa] so much. I stepped up on you because I love you just that much that I’m willing to put my sh-t on the line to say if you wanna swing, if you wanna fight, I’ll give you all of that. But when we’re done, I’ma (sic) stand you up and love on you. That’s what I’m trying to tell you Larissa, you’re letting life beat you up in such a way and ain’t nobody stepping to her and saying come here, let me put my arms around you. Let me love on you baby. ‘Cuz see I’m 40 years old, that baby ain’t even 25 yet and the way she’s going right now sista, one day she’s gonna run into somebody that’s just like her, that’s just like her, and they ain’t gone back down from her and then you’re gonna get a phone call and it ain’t gone be nice.

“Sis, I’m fighting for your baby sista. We gotta regain our respect sista. We gotta regain it. We gotta get it back…”

After Larissa questioned Mo’Nique’s authenticity, saying she only appeared on the show for a check, a strong sense of déjà vu came over me.

“Let me tell you why this show was number one in Black America,” Mo’Nique started. “I heard the response, it was coming from nothing but Black women and they all said, including me before I got to the show, ‘Oh my God is this who we are? Is this what we represent?’ Telling somebody to kiss it, lick it, suck it, stick it, eff you, you’re a monkey. I said you deserve more, you deserve better; c’mon baby, put your best foot forward.”

And here we are in 2016 having the exact same conversation, just with different players.

I’ll be honest, I lived for episodes of Charm School. Watching the show with my roommates was an event, and as a senior in college I didn’t see the connection between the image of Black women on TV and the perception people would have of me when they saw me on the street as a result. I also didn’t recognize the behavior of the cast members as the antics of broken women. I was entertained and would continue to be for some years after, until I was flipping through channels on a TV in the gym a few years ago and a white woman suggested I stop on the Real Housewives of Atlanta. “I just love those ladies,” she giddily told me and I couldn’t help but question why.

Aside from Nene Leakes, reality TV has rarely done Black women any favors. And I don’t mean that in the sense that now I have to wonder if white people assume when I leave work I meet up with women I don’t like just to throw drinks at them because of how we’re portrayed on TV. I can combat that nonsensical stereotyping on my own. The ones who really deserve compassion and concern are the women who don’t realize they’re being exploited and need someone to love on them, as Mo’Nique would say, not manipulate the entire trajectory of their lives (and those of their children in some cases) for the promise of a few thousand followers on Instagram and a liquor, weave, or waist trainer line of their choice.

When I look at the paths Amina Butterfly and Tara Wallace are on, when I see how post-sex tape Mimi Faust has turned out, when I recognize Evelyn Lozada as that angry girl Mo’Nique alluded to who one day met her match that didn’t back down, and when I realize Shay didn’t learn a damn thing from Charm School and continued to be played by VH1 years later on Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta, I’m not entertained; I’m sad. But unlike previous commentaries from the elitist camp only concerned about how the actions of these women affect them, I want these women to do better, not for my sake, but for themselves. To realize the residual damage of 15 minutes of ill-gotten fame is rarely worth it because when producers move on to warping the next victim’s reality, they’re the ones stuck with the permanence of the choices they made when the cameras were rolling temporarily.

If you know how to play the game, like a Nene Leakes or a Kandi Burruss, by all means play ball. But if you’re looking to reality TV to fill a void, it’s not going to work out sis. Like any relationship, you have to know and love yourself before you get into bed with the entertainment industry. If more women did, we likely wouldn’t see the images we do anyhow.

The Biggest Loser Being Investigated By Police After Claims Of Contestants Using Drugs To Lose Weight

June 2nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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NBC

NBC

We told you recently via a great piece by the New York Times that many contestants on The Biggest Loser who dropped a ridiculous amount of weight during their short stints on the show struggled to keep that weight off. Many often gained a large amount of weight back, or even surpassed their original hefty size. The man who studied certain former contestants for six years, Kevin Hall, Ph.D., blamed it on both a slowed metabolism that made it harder to burn calories, and a dip in leptin, which made people’s cravings for food much stronger.

That story, which got people talking, ended up being the beginning of lots of interesting things being revealed about the show and what the contestants go through. Just last month a Season 2 contestant came out and said that contestants were encouraged to take “amphetamines, water pills, diuretics,” and throw up to help lose the weight.

“I vomited every single day,” Suzanne Mendonca told the New York Post about her time on The Biggest Loser. “[Trainer] Bob Harper tells people to throw up: ‘Good,’ he says. ‘You’ll lose more calories.'”

With those allegations coming out about the possible use of drugs, an investigation is now being done into the show. According to Us Weekly, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has set their sights on The Biggest Loser‘s King Gillette Ranch in California.

“We are conducting an inquiry into some of the allegations of wrongdoing that occurred some time in the past,” said Lt. James Royal to the publication this week. He stated that the investigation began in May after police were informed of the “unsubstantiated allegations of illegal narcotics use in the past on the set of the television reality show.”

However, those associated with the show, including producers, former contestants and trainer Bob Harper, who has directly been called out, are refuting the allegations against them, stating that the well-being of contestants has always been a priority and no drugs would ever be given to them.

“These allegations are absolutely false and are also in direct conflict with my lifelong devotion to health and fitness,” Harper said in a statement to Us. “Safety is paramount in my training regimen.”

The Biggest Loser definitely has received a lot of criticism lately, but the show has always been a lightning rod for it. Many have been against the show’s competitive weight-loss angle, which has been seen as dangerous and not conducive to teaching individuals how to lose the weight, change their eating habits and sustain such changes for the long term. And people also have felt that the show pushes contestants too hard by restricting their food intake and making them work out for hours in the gym every day for upwards of six hours, which could weaken the heart muscles. With The Biggest Loser now being hit by allegations of having contestants use drugs to see results, one can’t help but wonder what impact it will all have on the future of the program. If nothing comes from the investigation, you can be sure that somebody is getting sued…

Gabrielle Reece On STRONG, Making Fitness A Priority, And Her Afro-Trini Roots

April 12th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

Corbis

While attending the NBC Summer Press Day in Los Angeles earlier this month, I had the chance to chat with the former model, volleyball star and popular TV personality, Gabrielle Reece. After years of killing it (literally) on the court at Florida State University and while on professional volleyball tours, Reece modeled in many major magazines, hosted a variety of reality fitness competitions and became a health writer and fitness expert. After doing all of that in the prime of her career, Reece, now 46, married and a mother of three, still manages to look long, lean…and like a badass. And she’s back on television, hosting a new NBC reality fitness competition show called STRONG, which premieres this week and is executive produced by Sylvester Stallone. On the show, 10 women from around the country link up with 10 skilled male trainers of varying specialties to help them either get back in fighting shape or to finally lose weight, tone up and transform their lives.

But how has Reece managed to stay in such great shape for so many years while balancing a busy work schedule and three kids? By dedicating her life to fitness.

“I always say, women get their nails done, and they spend a lot of time online. So they do have the 30 minutes,” Reece said while speaking on making time for health and exercise. “So it’s about deciding and being ferocious about it, and having the discipline to say you’re going to go, and you’re going to go right now.”

Reece also said that half the battle is finding forms of exercise that you actually enjoy, as well as healthy foods that actually taste good. The more fun you have with exercising and eating healthy, of course, the less of a chore it feels like to get up and get moving to improve your lifestyle. Also, if you have someone supporting you as you make these changes, the more likely you are to meet your goals. Just like the 10 women being supported by the 10 expert trainers on STRONG. 

“I think it’s first about finding things you can actually tolerate doing so every day it’s not like ‘Oh, I hate that,’ Reece said. “I don’t go and lift and say, ‘I’m so excited!’ But I can deal with it. And as far as foods, if you hate certain foods, don’t make it like, ‘I have to eat that because it’s good for me.’ Find the foods you know you can deal with that you know serve your body. But you also need to have to have a teammate, which is what the show is about. So whether it’s a best girlfriend, or maybe not a best girlfriend, but she’s on the same page as you with this, get it done with her. But it’s about priority. There wouldn’t be a dilemma of, ‘Oh I’m busy, and I don’t really feel like making it to pick my kid up from school.’ You make it happen. So if you put this on the same docket as ‘This is a priority, I’m going to take care of myself,’ then it gets done.”

And Reece has been committing to her workout schedule for years. It hasn’t been easy juggling everything, but she makes time almost six days a week to get active.

“I do a circuit training that’s pretty rigorous, but it’s one that anyone can do,” Reece said. “And then I do in the pool holistic training. I have a very bad right knee, so there’s ways while I’m learning to train to move around and work with what I’m dealing with.”

And what she’s found out from her rigorous training and health journey is that while you should want to get active, sometimes it truly does pay off to sit down somewhere and give your body proper time to rest.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is to take a day off when I’m genuinely tired,” Reece said. “To assign a day off is actually a mistake because you might be genuinely burned out and tired on a day that you go to train, and you do more harm to yourself. So I think it’s about people really being in tune with themselves.”

She’s also learned that food is 80 percent of the deal, as in, eating better and making proper choices. However, it’s most important to make a commitment to bettering yourself and sticking to it. Which is what Reece loves about STRONG, the contestants on the show, and their dedication.

“What these trainers and trainees were able to do, was to me pretty mindblowing,” Reece said. “It’s pretty amazing what these women took on. They were shifting their minds and then the body follows.”

Yes, Reece shared some fascinating and informative knowledge with reporters, but along with learning about her health regimen and how she balances everything as a busy mom, I also wanted to ask her about something she rarely talks about and that many people probably didn’t know of: her Afro-Trinidadian roots.

While walking around the garden after-party following the Press Day event, I tapped Reece on the shoulder and let it rip:

“I just wanted to know; I heard that you were Trinidadian. Is that true?”

Not knowing what response I was going to receive, Reece actually smiled and said, “Yes! Can you tell?” before laughing.

Reece continued, “My grandfather was Black, and my grandmother was White. A lot of my family are still in Trinidad.”

Reece would go on to joke with me about how the young White women she played volleyball with were always surprised when they would find out that she is, in fact, mixed. But she made it clear to me that there were always people who could tell she was different. Black women to be specific. She cited her stature (she’s 6’3″) as a dead giveaway.

“Women of color can always tell,” Reece laughed. “They’re the ones who ask me.”

Sorry, but inquiring minds (like moi), just wanted to know!

Now, if you want to see what STRONG is all about and get inspired, you can check out the show when its special 2-hour preview airs this Wednesday at 9/8c, and when it officially premieres Thursday, April 14 at 8/7c. Check out the trailer below:

K. Michelle Reveals New, Smaller Behind, Says She’s Returning To “Love And Hip Hop Atlanta”

December 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Just last month, we told you that K. Michelle was decreasing the size of her surgically enhanced posterior to advance her career.

Well, in a little over a month’s time, the singer and reality star has done just that.

She revealed her new smaller booty, which she calls Betsy, in a series of Instagram shots.

And here’s another one, with another angle.

We’ll see what new ventures come K. Michelle’s way now that her measurements are a bit smaller.

Interestingly enough, K. Michelle’s career choices seems to be moving in a bit of reverse direction.

During a recent tour stop, the singer/songwriter, who already has the “K. Michelle: My Life” show on VH1, announced that she would be returning to “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.”

#PressPlay: #KMichelle announces that she is going back to #LHHATL

A video posted by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

This is certainly an interesting development considering K. Michelle left the show because she didn’t want to keep blocking her blessings by behaving so negatively in front of the camera. Perhaps she wants to show the world and her former castmates that she’s truly turned over a new leaf. But if our knowledge of reality shows proves anything, I’d bet that she’s going to go back and continue to kick up dust. After all, that’s what made her a household name in the first place.

What do you think about K. Michelle’s new booty? Is it a wise decision for her to return to “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta”?

Bow Wow’s Baby Momma Denies Abuse Allegations

December 10th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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bow wow's baby momma feat

Earlier today, we reported that Erica Mena accused her ex fiancé Bow Wow of beating women and she hoped that type of karma didn’t get passed down to his daughter–his seed as she put it.

TheShadeRoom caught her leaving a more damning comment than the one we initially reported, saying:

“Now he can go back to beating her ass again. I’m good on dealing with his Little man complex.”

Mena was referencing the mother of Bow Wow’s child, Joie Chavis. She also mentioned that she had a photo that would change his life. Hmm…

Well, the abuse claim is a strong one.

So strong in fact, that Chavis had to step forward and refute the claim.

She stepped into The Shade Room to leave a comment.

“Beat? When? Where? I NEVER say anything but this sh*t is just unacceptable, and ridiculous to say the least. Shad has never laid a finger on me, so dead it!”

Source: Instagram/TheShadeRoom

Source: Instagram/TheShadeRoom

She also said that she and Bow Wow are not getting back together. They are simply hanging out as friends.

According to TheShadeRoom

“Y’all gotta chill with these long a** paragraphs. It’s not that deep bruh, and we are not together. We are just friends, and I am single. I know it’s probably weird to some who have f*cked up relationships and can’t co-parent but that’s not the case here.”

Those might be her intentions but we’ll see what Shad has up his sleeve.

“I’m Not Showing The World Who You Really Are” Erica Mena Claims Bow Wow Beats Women

December 10th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Bow Wow

FayesVision/WENN

We’re sure you already knew this but Erica Mena and Bow Wow are done. And in true former reality star, washed up rapper fashionm they’re using their social media platforms to talk about their breakup.

Last night, several social media sites like The Shade Room and Fameolous were posting videos of Erica Mena talking about going on dates and then lamenting the flawed characters of men.

And then this one where she turned up a little bit.

#PressPlay: Oop! #EricaMena might have hit a nerve with #Bowwow 😩😩😩 (view previous post)

A video posted by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

Somebody was mad.

And what was Bow Wow doing during Erica’s outbursts? Well, he was galavanting about with his baby momma. He posted a picture of them in the club, left a comment under an Instagram video, with a bouquet of emoji flowers. He even flirtatiously called her “punk.” You know, in the same way dudes would call you “big head” not really knowing how to express their true intent or emotions.

Then earlier today, Bow Wow posted another image of himself and his baby momma hanging out in what looks like a home. There are no receipts but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the basement that Bow Wow and Erica occupied during their courtship and engagement.

We all deserve to be Happy

A photo posted by Bow wow (@shadmoss) on

Well, if she was being sly or coy before, that picture sent Mena over the edge. (Which makes me believe that it was indeed the basement.) Within the same hour, she tweeted this.

It’s funny Erica is talking about CBS checks, when Bow Wow was the one who made her walk away from that VH1 “Love and Hip Hop” money. Wonder how she’s feeling about that now.

Then, as if that were enough. She’s also alleging that he beats women.

Oop #EricaMena is alleging that #Bowwow used to beat his baby mama #JoieChavis ! This is getting ugly

A photo posted by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

I don’t feel comfortable saying whether or not this is true, so I’m just going to leave this here. I do feel comfortable saying that everyone involved in this situation is a hot mess.

When these two first got together, I knew they would never make it down the aisle. And here we are. With shots and allegations being fired.

What’s so interesting about it though is that both Bow Wow and Erica were on this very public crusade against his baby momma, so it’s funny that she’s the exact one he went running back to. It would be even more interesting if she were indeed the victim of his abuse.

These two are something else.

What do you make of all this?

This Is Why Whoopi’s Daughter Remarried Her Husband Three Times

November 10th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Whoopi’s Daughter, Alex Martin, has just entered the world of reality TV which means people (like us) are about to get all up in her business pretty soon.

According to Alex is the name of the Centric docuseries following Alex’s family life as well as her business ventures and when she stopped by to chat with us about Nailbuzz.com, being on TV, and her fear of Internet trolls, we had one main question for her: why did you marry your husband three times?!

Check out what she had to say in the video above and be sure to tune into According to Alex on Centric Saturdays at 10 pm.

We Need More Khadijah James And Joan Claytons When It Comes To Black Women On Television

September 15th, 2015 - By Alexandra Olivier
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Paramount/CBS

Paramount/CBS

If it weren’t for endless reruns of Law & Order Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds and everything on Food Network, I would probably get rid of my television all together.

Simply put, there is nothing on the tube. To be specific, there isn’t enough variety in the stories being told. Particularly the ones about and, sadly, made by Black women.

The original programming I see with a Black woman lead character focuses so much on her love life that we forget these women have lives outside of the men they’re dating, dodging and being dogged by. From Mary Jane Paul leaving Andre only to have the next stage of her storyline revolve around her ex, David, to Scandal focusing more on Olivia’s relationship with Fitz than her work with her consulting firm, it’s all about love. Everything else about a character’s life that is also of importance has to take a backseat, and frankly, I’m frustrated with this narrow focus.

And please don’t tell me that reality television is our new normalized reality. If we’re not watching every Black woman’s struggle boil down to the hands of a man (hence the word “Love” and “Wives” in all the program titles), we are squabbling with other women. But we are not shadows of the opposite sex. The opposite sex does not consume the ways in which we conduct our lives or our relationships with other women. Or at least they shouldn’t.

There are no sitcoms or late-night shows to binge-watch that showcase Black women in the real. Our daily life. For instance, pursuing businesses – and not striking another female contender down while doing so. Balancing healthy relationships with friends and family first, and dealing with the quirks and problems with everyday life–and then the men who provide us with intimacy and sometimes heartbreak after the fact.

There are no Girlfriends, just frenemies using each other until the water runs dry. I don’t see women facing loss and having the unwavering support of true friends. Women who are a shoulder, filling up your glass and still affirming your beauty and purpose as you sit there with a tear-stained cheek, runny mascara and all. All of our encounters aren’t catty. And that’s the problem: there is no variety to offer a semblance of balance. Yes, there is attitude and shade, but do not forget the support and love. Yes, characters should have relationship issues, but does that have to be the breadth of every episode? Where’s the variation? Where’s the depth?

I loosely base the pursuit of my writing career on Khadijah James. I wanted to write and eventually start my own magazine just like her. In my head, my friends and I would be the modern-day “Living Single” – quirks and all. On that classic sitcom, a woman owned her own business, and though James (played by Queen Latifah) didn’t have a man by her side a majority of the time, her life was full. Amazing friends and experiences provided her with the comprehensive story she needed and that we needed to see. Bringing a man (i.e. Scooter) into her life didn’t become the center of her storyline, but a side story that provided her with a healthy partnership.

If it’s more and more of the same, TV can keep their dime-a-dozen Stevie J and Joseline spinoffs and their lovelorn Black women characters. I’m holding out hope in the meantime that Issa Rae’s upcoming HBO series, Insecure, will fill a void, and that her characters will have more to talk about and deal with than the same old woes.

Until then, mindless reruns and missing Elliot Stabler will have to suffice.

Lawsuits And Left Hooks: Reality TV Scandals We Didn’t See Coming

August 11th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

When a particularly scandalous reality TV show hits the airwaves, it’s time to sit back, grab some popcorn and wait for the scandal you know is coming. And while we know that with reality TV comes drama, these real-life scandals still caught us by surprise.

Is Reality TV Ruining Our Humanity?

July 3rd, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I know, I know, I’m one of the main contributors on MadameNoire who write posts on reality television.  I do.  I still actively watch all of the reruns of the “Flavor of Loves,” “I Love New Yorks,” “Rock of Loves,” “Laguna Beaches,” and a few others that aired while I was in college.

But, as I’ve gotten older, and the participants have too; I have to be honest, reality television has lost part of its appeal for me.  Besides “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and a few guilty viewings of “Love and Hip Hop” New York and Hollywood, I don’t really care too much for most of the current shows out now.

I would like to think that it’s maturity that has squelched my reality television appeal.  I honestly believe that that’s part of it, but I feel like an even larger part of it is when reality television becomes real and reminds me that we’re watching actual people, not actors.

That became abundantly true for me when the Duggar Family’s scandal broke.  Before it became public, I remember my youngest sister telling my family about how rumors had been swirling about Josh Duggar for years.  According to someone who claimed to be a church member, there was an old online post about him confessing his misdeeds to his church before being sent away for “help.”  After that, she declared never to watch the show again. But since the show continued to air, I think people just didn’t pay attention to the rumor.

Fast forward to this current year, when the truth revealed itself.  As heinous of a crime as this is, what’s hard for me to wrap my mind around are the people who have wanted to keep the show on the air.  Not out of solidarity to the family, and not for wanting to be in denial about the rumors, but because this family was their entertainment.

I read comment sections that expressed things like:  “Well, just because he did, why do we have to suffer by them taking the show off the air?”

Those types of comments reminded me of the tragedy that changed the course of VH1’s reality show line-ups.

In 2009, Ryan Jenkins, who was a contestant on VH1’s “Megan Wants A Millionaire,” and the defunct season of “I Love Money 3” committed suicide after a warrant was put out for his arrest for the murder of his then-wife Jasmine Fiore.

VH1 decided to not air “I Love Money 3,” and I remember being appalled by some of the comments in the section for it.

There were comments like:  “I mean, I understand that her family doesn’t want to see him, but why do the rest of us have to suffer?  They don’t have to watch the show.”

Sometimes it seems as though when you blur the line of entertainment and reality, people lose sight of the fact that these are real people, who have real lives.  If a show needs to be cancelled or put on hiatus, our focus shouldn’t be on losing our entertainment.

Most people wouldn’t want the difficult times or the fallback they or their family faced documented and then dissected through the world.  They don’t want the person who wronged them to be backed by a population who questions their innocence because they don’t want to miss their favorite show.

There seems to be an essence of lost humanity that comes when we become attached to a reality show.  I feel as though people stop feeling sympathy for the participants because “they decided to be on this show and broadcast their lives.”  However, some of the tragedies that happened were before or away from the glare of the cameras.  Though these people have introduced you into their lives for a few moments a week, never forget that at the end of the day, they are a person, just like you.