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Two new adventure-based "reality" shows may be ignored in light of all the real reality on TV these days. 

Choose Your Own

iven what we've all been watching unfold lately, is there anybody who thinks that what we need is another good dose of reality TV?

It's a silly question, really, since what passes for reality when TV entertainment execs use the term is not very real at all. Living on rice in the Australian Outback, while TV cameras record your every move? Hanging out in a house in L.A. that has portholes for cameras even in the bathroom? This is hardly reality.

Nonetheless, some of these shows are attracting audiences, so don't expect the networks to change their definition of reality to conform with ... um ... reality.

Among the new crop of such shows are two of passing interest — "The Amazing Race" on CBS and "Lost" on NBC.

There are similarities.

Both involve contestants making their way home the hard way.

On "The Amazing Race," the contestants have to journey around the globe to get back to where they started in New York City. At least they know where they began. On "Lost," that's not the case. The "Lost" contestants were dropped in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the planet — we now know it was Mongolia — and have to find their way back to the United States without a lot of help.

The "Amazing Race" journey is expected to last a little more than a month. Eleven teams of two people each are zooming through cities and villages, countries and continents in hopes of winning a million bucks. The people on each team have pre-existing relationships. There are fraternity brothers, a mother and daughter, the obligatory gay couple, a husband and wife, and so on. Since the members of each team already have long histories, there's no waiting around while they get acquainted: the flare-ups and fireworks start right away. "You're a moron," one says. "But you knew already that I'm a moron," the other says.

The contests started in New York with instructions for the teams to make their way to Africa. Don't worry. They were told which flights were available, and the show picked up the tab. Once they got there, they had to do fun things like bungee jump off a cliff or cross a canyon on a cable. The last team to reach an intermediate destination each week is eliminated.

Over on "Lost," the adventure was moderately more interesting from the start. Three pairs of strangers were dropped down in the Gobi Desert. Since they didn't know where they were, it was fairly entertaining to watch them try to figure it out. (Did one team think they were in Austria, or am I imagining that?)

The "Lost" teams have little money and not much gear, although they have a cameraman with them. Whichever team is the first to reach the Statue of Liberty wins $200,000. (Makes you wonder how much NBC had to pay the cameramen, doesn't it?)

Reality TV is designed for viewers whose own everyday reality isn't all that interesting. But reality — the real kind — has taken on a new edge lately for all of us.

The big question now is, does our own ramped-up reality mean we won't much care about TV's fake reality?





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