Cue the Sun

Cue the Sun! by Emily Nussbaum

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Cue the Sun!:

Yeah, it was always kind of a mess.

Quick synopsis:

The history of reality TV.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

The Smoking Gun website took off when it first posted information about a lawsuit related to Fox’s Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

The first instance of “reality programming” dates back to the mid-1940s.

My Take on Cue the Sun!:

I am worried about Emily Nussbaum. She clearly needed to watch thousands upon thousands of hours of reality TV to write her book, Cue the Sun!, and I am seriously worried about what that can do to someone’s mental health.

If you love reality TV, then this review is simple. You must read this book and you will absolutely love every page. If you hate reality TV, then guess what? You and I are in agreement. I hate reality TV. Unless Gordon Ramsay is in it, then it should win an Emmy. All others are trash. All that being said, I still loved this book.

The reasons why everyone should love this book are evident from page 1. Nussbaum’s writing style is easy to read, and it feels like a conversation. Also, I am not kidding about how much reality TV she must have watched. She is utterly meticulous, and consistently brings up events that have long been forgotten. And I mean long forgotten. Nussbaum doesn’t start with a show like Survivor. Instead, she traces the roots of reality TV all the way back to the 1940s and works her way to today. The chronology is seamless and a chapter on a show called An American Family is a particular standout. If you aren’t keen to go back that far, then you are missing out. However, Nussbaum quickly gets to all the shows you know and love (or love to hate).

There is no way to write this book without inevitably touching on some political hot buttons. The Apprentice was a show after all and is the subject of the final chapter. As someone whose tolerance for political diatribes is zero, I think Nussbaum is fair with her subjects throughout the book. Yes, I don’t think it is hard to pick out what side Nussbaum herself is on. However, multiple times I read a chapter and thought, “Hm, I think one extreme would be mad about this part of the chapter, while the other extreme would be mad about another.” In the end, Nussbaum’s research is so extensive and so well presented that it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you fall on. A great story is just a great story.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Random House.)


A great read. Buy it here!

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