Why you love The Challenge, why Survivor's merge was pointless, and much more

Dear newsletter friends,

Happy (almost) Halloween! While Halloween is probably my least-favorite holiday, I’ve been enjoying my neighbors’ decorations, many of which have become increasingly elaborate displays.

As a kid, I probably wouldn’t have stepped anywhere near houses with skeletons crawling all over them, or yards full of corpses, even if it was for free candy. Thankfully, I can now just buy bags of candy and eat it myself.

Speaking of scary:

I was genuinely terrified that hundreds of pop culture experts chose the best TV shows of the century and:

If you’re a fan of horror movies and reality TV—or not—here’s what slasher movies can teach us about reality TV.

The Challenge’s milestone and other TV this week

The Challenge turned 500! It’s aired in four different decades now, so I asked those of you who love it what keeps you tuning in. The result:


Survivor is getting scarier

To continue the Halloween theme: Survivor’s merge episode was terrifying—this time, the nonsensical twists meant no Tribal Council.

At this point, I’m hoping for a cast mutiny like in season one.

Don’t forget: You have just two more weeks to watch two of Survivor’s best seasons on Netflix, including the great Survivor Cagayan.

News about reality TV stars

From the Archives: Behaving badly

⭐️ I recommend

That’s everything for this week. I hope you have a terrific weekend. Here in Florida, I’m looking forward to spending some time outside thanks to our first cool weather of the year!


🌄 This is Reality in Focus issue 265, first sent Oct. 29, 2021, and it would most definitely smash the hourglass.

💻 This newsletter is hand-crafted in Florida by me, Andy Dehnart, and is supported in part by reality blurred patrons and paid subscribers to this newsletter. I’m grateful for them. If you can—or have a healthy expense account!—consider becoming a patron or upgrading your newsletter subscription.

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📷 Photo of a pumpkin by Masha