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Rogue Rules

Even if you love reality TV, it can still be infuriating. Here are our 10 ways to keep the genre alive and make it better

Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, ... | RULE NUMBER ONE A ''Simple'' lesson -- knockoffs are tacky
Image credit: The Simple Life: Michael Yarish/Fox
RULE NUMBER ONE A ''Simple'' lesson -- knockoffs are tacky

1Enough with the rip-offs
Have network executives learned nothing from all of those ''Friends'' and ''Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' clones we never watched? Fox's ''The Simple Life'' was funny, but if NBC wants the same success it will have to do a lot better than its upcoming show ''The Good Life,'' which tweaks Fox's title and subs in Mama Hilton for Paris. Speaking of Fox and NBC squabbles, we would much rather watch Oscar de la Hoya and Sly Stallone pummel each other in the ring than see their dueling shows, ''The Next Great Champ'' and ''The Contender,'' square off. The lesson? Time spent photocopying last season's innovative hits would be better spent thinking of, well, future seasons' innovative hits. -- Jennifer Armstrong

2Try to hate women and gays a little less
''The Bachelor'' and other shows apparently believe that women are most interesting when they're in bikinis or on ''fairy-tale'' dates in fancy gowns and borrowed diamonds. (Note: At least they've stopped making the princesses try on the ball gowns for the prince.) We realize draining reality TV's hot tubs and curbing its horse-drawn carriages won't eradicate sexism, but how about planning dates that introduce a woman's personality as well as her bustline? And please, no more Guess the Gay games like ''Playing It Straight'' and ''Boy Meets Boy.'' The rationale behind secretly replacing the gay men with a few straight ringers is to prove that ''we're all the same inside.'' As James' best friend Andra put it on ''BMB,'' ''That's bulls---.'' Wouldn't offering gay men the same opportunity heteros have to find fake love on TV prove that just as well? Take a hip tip from ''Queer Eye'': Make gays the main attraction, not a sideshow. -- Mandi Bierly

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