Reality Stars:Doing the Most…But for What?

Those who indulge in reality television can tell when a person gracing their screens is thirsty for attention (that is, more so than your typical fame seeking TV personality). That’s why as soon as I spotted Nia Crooks on a recent episode of Basketball Wives I knew she was parched for the spotlight – so much so that I had to have a sip of water in her honor. However, the manner in which she chose to score cheap fame has landed her in legal trouble.

As many of you saw this week (and if you don’t partake in the nonsense because your entertainment palette is of higher footing, I hear Chips Ahoy has a special prize waiting), a very lively Nia said to series regular Jennifer Williams, “Do I need to slap you in the face to wake you up?” Jen said, “I wish you would!” And – boom – she got popped.

But as I noted on Twitter, “PSA: If you can’t part with the TV stand you’ll have to sell on Craigslist to cover court costs, don’t slap the saddity. They will sue.”

And so Jen has, filing a civil suit in New York against Nia on assault and battery charges.

The idea of a celebrity holding a press conference to publicize a lawsuit centered on an incident that took place while filming their reality show has understandably caused people to suck their teeth in disgust. Yet, regardless of how you feel about the way it was announced, here’s to hoping that Williams’ suit against her former assistant and ex-friend Nia Crooks instills a valuable lesson in her and other aspiring reality TV stars.

There’s constant talk about how reality TV enables people to humiliate themselves for money and celebrity, but increasingly we see people trying to net both at the expense of humiliating others.

Like Nia, who appears to be operating under the unfortunate impression that if she huffed and puffed that she, too, might be a Twitter trending topic and regular VH1 check casher. Same for Erica Mena, who immediately started beef the second she began to film scenes for Love & Hip Hop. Likewise, Marlo Hampton, who might not have gotten physical during her run on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but went for the juggler when she attacked exiting cast member, Sheree Whitfield – including the use of an ugly gay slur she’s since apologized for.

It’s not that I expect common decency on programs designed to entertain audiences by featuring behavior that’s everything but. I do, however, find myself increasingly annoyed with people who force the ruckus because they think that’s required to make a lasting impression. It’s the trouble that comes when a popular show brings new folks into the fold. They know what the formula is – or at least they think do – and go above and beyond to try and prove that not only can do they duplicate it, but deserve a regular chance to do so. More times than not, though, such antics only cause series devotees to cling to the cast they’re already used to.

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Don’t they know that no one likes a person who tries too hard?

Sure, doing the most might net these wannabes a few headlines on a blog or TMZ, but as Williams’ suit might soon prove, there’s a cost attached to these cheap shots. I’m sure it won’t be long before we find out if Nia thinks it was all worth it.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick


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