Watch This, Not That: Documentaries

I kind of remember when reality TV was invented. For me, it was invented when Season 8 of MTVs The Real World debuted. Then I watched it and thought it was the exact opposite of the real world.

It’s been all downhill from there.

A few years ago I had a gig writing comedic recaps on reality shows such as Vanderpump Rules and The Real Housewives of Dallas, some of the most pretend reality there is.

I broke up with reality TV for a while with the exception of My 600lb Life. Documentaries are where it’s at and readers, have I got some Watch This and Not That’s for you.

My first recommendation is YouTube’s The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story.

In the 90s, most teenage girls were either Team Backstreet Boys or Team N’sync and if you were Team 98 Degrees you knew nothing about pop music.

Anyway, did you know Lou Pearlman is the reason you had to pick a side? Did you also know that he was a complete fraud who scammed several elderly people out of their life savings with the help of U.S. Representative Charlie Crist?

Well, it’s true. Brought to us by Lance Bass’s production company, The Boy Band Con is such a good telling of the boy band craze, the man behind it, and how he deceived so many while simultaneously making music history.

Speaking of the 90s, my next suggestion is all about nostalgia. Before there was Netflix and Chill, there was Be Kind, Rewind.

In those days, when you wanted to watch a movie at home you had to physically leave your house and drive (or ride with your parents) to the local video store.

For most of us, that video store was Blockbuster. Aahh, Blockbuster. The smell of the weekend. My next Watch This is Netflix’s The Last Blockbuster.

I loved this documentary. It tells the story of how Blockbuster came to be, why it was the greatest, what happened to it, and how the very last one is hanging in there.

For anyone who wants to reminisce or would like to know more about their botched Netflix deal, I highly suggest The Last Blockbuster.

Here’s something you don’t need to know about. Paris Hilton.

Since I’d scored big with that boy band documentary, I let YouTube’s autoplay guide me, and next up was This Is Paris, a documentary on Paris.

Good god. Sure, her voice finally caught up with her age, but that’s about the only thing that’s tolerable. Other than that the entire documentary is pretty insufferable.

If you watch it, be prepared to weep when you see her museum of MacBooks she has a room designated for, and listen to her explain that she needs to buy a new one after every breakup.

Feel your heart break when you discover she NEVER wears the same outfit twice.

There actually is a deep scene where she talks about the abuse she endured at bad kids camp that still haunts her to this day (Side note: she recently testified in court against this camp).

It’s a serious situation until Nikki Hilton brings us back by asking Paris “Do you remember how horrible you were to our parents?” It was objectively funny.

Look, I grew up with a Mexican grandmother so it’s REAL hard for me to feel bad for Paris.

Anyway, unless you’re interested in learning how Paris stayed rich after growing up rich, I do not recommend This Is Paris.

And while we’re on the subject of spoiled rich kids, I also don’t recommend Netflix’s Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal.

We all know the story: Aunt Becky used that Full House money to get her bratty, underserving child into USC. And she wasn’t the only one.

A bunch of rich parents did it, all with the help of a guy named Rick Singer. The majority of it is shot in reenactments which I get because most of the people this scandal involves are in jail.

The documentary is meant to show how fucked up the system is but here’s the deal: it’s nothing new. And the worse part is there will always be kids that want to go to these shit colleges that allow this.

FUN FACT: I went to school with a girl who wanted to go to the University of Texas at Austin but didn’t get in. Instead of just going to another University of Texas she lied to everyone, telling people she got in and would actually walk around the campus pretending to be a student. She eventually got caught. This happened more than 20 years ago so this story also serves as a reminder that people don’t forget. I also didn’t like her so I enjoy telling it.

Anyway, my point is, I would rather watch a documentary about that girl (and would also like to be interviewed for it because I have a lot to say) than one about these scandals that aren’t even surprising aside from discovering that Aunt Becky learned dick all from the life lessons on Full House.