Character Study with Reality TV

I like watching reality TV.  I like watching the bride and makeover shows on TLC (Four Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, What Not to Wear).  Cooking show contests are also very interesting (Chopped, The Next Food Network Star).  And don’t get me started on my favorite summer show So You Think You Can Dance.  These type shows have been staples in my TV watching.  Now some new shows have been added to the list: Swamp People, Gator Boys, Pawn Stars, Cajun Pawn Stars, and Storage Wars.

I like these shows because I get to see so many different people and hear so many different accents.  The people on Swamp People often need subtitles for viewers to decipher what they’re saying.  I love their stories and their lives.  They’re real and so different from me.  They go out to hunt gators, they bring in random memorabilia to pawn stores, and they find all kinds of objects abandoned storage lockers to sell.

This kind of people watching could be great for developing characters.   A man on Cajun Pawn Stars was born and raised in NYC but has lived in a small town in Louisiana for 9 years.  He likes collecting guns and fixing up classic cars.  What is his story? How did he get from NYC to Louisiana during the 40+ years of his life?  Where will he go from here?  I’ve been having trouble thinking up characters for a story.  Asking questions about the people on these shows has sparked my interest in deciphering the characteristics of my protagonist and where her story will go.  It’s also showing me the wide range of stories that could happen.  Imagination flourishing.

NOTE: I first said all these shows were on History Channel, but that is incorrect.  Storage Wars is on A&E.  Gator Boys is on Animal Planet.  Pawn Stars and Swamp People are on History Channel.  Sorry for the error!


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