In my opinion, "Real People" was probably the greatest
reality program in the history of television. It definitely was one of my
favorite shows, for reasons which will be discussed below, and it is sad
to see how little remembered it is today.
"Real People" had quite a bit going on for a television show.
It had a large amount of comedy, though most of the late Skip Stephenson's
jokes were far older than George Burns as were most of the physical comedy
bits. But, they were still watchable and all the cast members did well
with the comedy.
One thing that set "Real People" apart from the highly
degenerated reality programs that came later was that the show was not
afraid to tackle serious issues. In fact, a segment on the Adam Walsh case
gave John Walsh (now host of "America's Most Wanted") his first
national television exposure. Other serious topics the show dealt with
were people with disabilities, the long-delayed recognition of the Navajo
contribution to World War II, MIAs in Vietnam, etc. That aspect of reality
TV seems to have been forgotten today.
But, my favorite aspect of the show was the cast - actually one cast
member in particular. Considered by many to be *the* star of the show,
Sarah Purcell was a very unique individual who far outshone her castmates.
In addition her great beauty, Sarah had enormous range in terms of the
material she did on the program. She could do the most serious of segments
and also do slapstick comedy with great skill. Then, there was her
greatest claim to fame - the stunts. During the time "Real
People" was on the air, Sarah did many risky and dangerous things in
segments for the show, stunts like walking on the girderwork of a 30-story
building, sitting on one of the eagles of the Chrysler building (over 900
feet above the ground), driving a race car, playing roller derby, working
in a refueling plane, rafting in the Grand Canyon, and many more. Sarah
possessed a very rare combination of beauty, personality, brains, and
spirit - a combination that has never since been duplicated.We've not had time to write about this TV show yet. If you were a fan, we'd love to have you help us out by writing a synopsis or review!