The long-running CBS reality show Big Brother just began its new season last night and – to no surprise – the new cast is yet another formulaic collection of one-diminsional stereotypes: the stud, the nerd, the ditsy blonde, the sexpot, the mother, the old guy, the gay guy, etc.

 

After decades of this kind of blatant stereotyping on reality shows like Survivor, Fear Factor, The Real World, etc., it’s no longer insulting and offensive, it’s just sad. 

 

 

While there are certainly uninspired stereotypes in paranormal fantasy, the same can be said for every other genre category. And, truth be told, these perceived stereotypes that so many haters talk about really aren’t that prevalent. The majority of paranormal fantasy that I read – and I read more than most – is original, entertaining, and decidedly not stereotypical.

 

Using this latest season of Big Brother as a rough model, I tried to find comparable paranormal fantasy stereotypes to create the cast for a theoretical reality show featuring paranormal fantasy characters.

 

I couldn’t do it. Square pegs in circular holes.

 

The characters were just too multifaceted, too well developed, too unique. But what I did come up with would most definitely make for one helluva show! This would be my cast for the first season of Big Other:

 

The Stud

 

"White skin, glossy black hair, Cupid’s bow lips, Dante Prejean was beyond beautiful. Just the sight of him in a photo had made Merri’s heart race, filled her mind with delicious and naughty thoughts. He’s also looked very young – twenty, twenty-two… bad and beautiful.” – Beneath the Skin by Adrian Phoenix

 

Ivy Tamwood, the living vampire from Kim Harrison’s Hollows saga (Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; et. al.)

 

The Sexpot

Anita Blake, the necromancer turned U.S. Marshal from Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake saga (Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, et. al.)

 

Elder Griffin, a local leader of the Church of Real Truth from Stacia Kane’s Downside saga (Unholy Ghosts, Unholy Magic, et. al.)

 

The Mom

Ethel, Amanda Feral’s abusive mother from Mark Henry’s Amanda Feral saga (Happy Hour of the Damned, Road Trip of the Living Dead, et. al.)

 

Cole Warnecki, the video game designer turned monster hunter from Marcus Pelegrimas’ Skinners saga (Blood Blade, Howling Legion, Teeth of Beasts, et. al.)

 

The Old Guy

Bones, the master vampire from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress saga (Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, et. al.) who is well over 200 years old

 

Ultimately, I'm almost certain that those who call the heroes and heroines of paranormal fantasy cardboard stereotypes probably don’t read much paranormal fantasy, if any at all.

 

And as far as the formulaic casting of reality television shows go, I would pay good money to see what happens when you put Ivy Tamwood, Dante Baptiste, Anita Blake, Bones, Cole Warnecki,  and company in a house for a few months! Chances are good that the building would not be standing when the show concluded…

 

You want intelligent-insulting sterotypes? Don't read paranormal fantasy, watch reality television.

 

 

Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.

 

Comments
by A_Wilson on ‎07-13-2012 12:19 PM

Paul,

 

I have to say, that would be a show I would actually pay to watch!  Don't know who I would want to see more of, right now it would be either Ivy or Bones...but my mood changes daily.  Oh well, I guess I will just have to wait for some "reality" TV that would be worth spending my time on. (big sigh)

 

:smileyhappy:  A_Wilson

by SciFiCanuck on ‎07-13-2012 06:25 PM

LOL, awesome!  I would definitely watch that!  :-)

by Pym on ‎07-13-2012 06:27 PM
Forget reality TV. Give me a live feed into a house with that lineup. Although, I'd give the house itself a week at most before it was reduced to a flaming pile of rubble.
by on ‎07-14-2012 01:34 PM

I neither watch Big Brother, or as a rule don't read paranormal fantasy, but the real trick (fun part) would be, Paul, to get the authors of these characters to co-write a story/novel which would include these characters you've named!  :smileyhappy:

 

This got me to thinking about which characters I've read over the years, that I'd like to pick up and drop into a book.

 

Happy trails!

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