Attempting to put the 'real' in reality TV
After having 10 children with eight women in six states, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie finally did something good for women. Cromartie put a stop to more embarrassment of the female gender by refusing to sign off on a reality show about his children, their mothers and their modern-day "Brady Bunch."
The New York Post reported last week that a television production company was interested in highlighting Cromartie's harem in a new series. The women said they wanted to do the show to let the 10 children get to know each other and "document their journey." The big, fat check and fame that come along with a reality show could also be a motivator.
Cromartie has stopped plans for the show by forbidding any filming of his children. For the first time in his two-timing life, I think women agree with Cromartie's decision.
The last thing the world needs is another show celebrating women who love male athletes and bicker over them and their money while tearing each other down. The perceived Cromartie show would have been likely filled with baby momma drama: late child support, crying over the absent father and bad mouthing him. There are at least four shows on television that already follow the same script.
In the interest of full disclosure I will also admit it's people like me, who watch these shows, who make the Cromartie pitch possible. "Basketball Wives," "Bad Girls Club," "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "Tough Love" are all guilty pleasures that fill up my DVR. And at least once a week, I take to Twitter as I revel in these caricatures of women on television.
In an effort to rid our culture of images of catty, money-hungry, mean girls, I want to stop watching these shows. It could be difficult because my friends talk about the shows and, as a writer, it's my job to keep up on pop culture. It's like watching a car crash; it is hard to look away.
While the shows are meant to entertain, it's problematic when this formulaic pop-culture garbage disseminates a poor representation of women who look like me into the world. Some men believe I wake up, pour a glass of moscato and start plotting ways to trap them while bickering with my girlfriends. It may be what they see on television, but it couldn't be further from the truth.
The reality? Most women work hard, don't bed men for money, are in happy relationships, are not obsessive about their looks and cherish their girlfriends. There are a few shows on television that show this progressive image but not enough.
To combat the sewage on television, I thought of some show pitches of my own to highlight a more positive and realistic image of what it is to be a woman.
'Basketball Wives' vs. 'The Write Stuff'
Instead of a show celebrating women who are in the sports world because of the men they have had relations with, we should celebrate women who are in sports because of their talent. This show could highlight four female sports writers and the issues they struggle with daily.
Yours truly could be the star.
I'm sure America would love to see me at sports bars picking fights with men and then turning them into story ideas. And who could get enough of me arguing with DirecTV to give me HBO for six weeks of "Hard Knocks"? I like to call that "research."
Then there's the drama-filled shopping trips with my girlfriend in which she tries to persuade me to buy a nice spring dress instead of a Jeremy Lin jersey. That's good television.
'Bad Girls Club' vs. 'Knockout Queens'
If you've ever watched the "Bad Girls Club" series, you would know throwing drinks and verbal and physical assaults are the main draw. Every week viewers tune into to see which woman will draw blood first. So to satisfy the public's thirst for fighting, let's do it in the ring.
Each week we could have a group of female boxers battle in a round-robin tournament for a prize -- complete with Everlast sponsorship and coaching by Laila Ali, who is also the host.
The show would follow the women as they train together and learn the fundamentals of teamwork while simultaneously working to defeat each other in the ring. If viewers enjoy seeing the Bad Girls pull each other's hair at a cocktail party, wait until they see a good one-two combination.
'Tough Love' vs. 'Numbers Game'
Tough Love highlights women who are miserable because they don't have a man in their life. According to host Steve Ward, these women need to be fixed to find love and happiness. While women (just like men) do look for love, it doesn't occupy our everyday existence.
I'd like to see a show that highlights the intellectual side of women. Instead of fixing love lives, we could have female financial analysts fix people's money problems. The women would put athletes and stars through financial boot camps to clean up their finances in this rough economy. The first guests could be bankrupt athletes Antoine Walker and Warren Sapp.