The One Reality Show I Wish Would Come Back

The One Reality Show I Wish Would Come Back

Imagine it’s been 10 years since the breakup of your favorite band and one day you are suddenly given the task of searching the globe for each member.

Once you find them, you are told your only job is to convince each of them to reunite one last time for an intimate concert before a few of their biggest fans.

In order for the deal to be sealed, each member must sign the same copy of one of their vinyl album covers.

When you have collected all the autographs, you now hold both the ticket and the promise for the music to go live for one night only.

There’s only one catch.

Their egos have to get past that first meeting when they are all in the same room together for the first time in years.

For a reality show, I thought and still think Bands Reunited had the best concept ever.

Airing in 2004, the VH1 classic, as most reality shows at some point are, followed the host of TV shows in the early 2000’s sprouting up under the new, but not so new, genre of Reality TV.

Each one tried to outdo the other with some outrageous premise. Who will lay in a pit of rats the longest in order to move on to the next round for a possible payoff? What will happen when a woman finds out that the millionaire she met five minutes ago and has already decided to marry really doesn’t have as much money as he says he does?

Amidst these ridiculous and often shallow ploys to grab anyone’s attention, a few of these shows, and I put emphasis on the word “few,” actually aimed to relate somewhat to the interests of the viewer. Instead of stooping as low as they possibly could for ratings, they retained some of the dignity of good television.

Bands Reunited was one of them.

Original and though sprinkled with a little bit of that scripted unscripted reality TV magic, it never really steered too far in the direction of desperation.

The majority of the bands that the show sought to reconnect for fans were 80’s bands like Romeo Void, A Flock of Seagulls, and The Beat, and were often groups whose members had had some kind of falling out.

In the episodes where the band members were at odds, the problems were usually along the lines of, say, the drummer and bassist still being on good terms, and one, if not both, might say something whiny like, “you can just forget about us even being in the same room for too long with that prima donna lead singer. Oh, and the guitarist, well, he’s a hermit now so good luck getting him here! The keyboardist? He’s neutral. Everybody still loves him. He’s never taken sides. There’s got to be someone in the band who truly understands the brooding lead singer.”

It may not have been too extreme, but for those who got a kick out of drama, the show did fulfill it’s reality show duty.

Thankfully, it wasn’t entirely about that.

At the heart of Bands Reunited was the way it pieced the puzzle back together.

Host Aamer Haleem was the chosen one, the avatar for any music lover whose fantasy it was to puppeteer their favorite groups into once again doing what they did so well.

Haleem had the often awkward, but “do it for us all” duty of making it happen. Tracking band members down in their now various stages of life and surprising these present day Clark Kents at their homes or jobs with a big “Aha! I know all about your larger than life alter ego,” was more than invasive.

Of course Haleem didn’t actually jump out and say this, but when he was finally able to get them comfortable enough to step out from behind their storm doors and invite him inside, you could feel the music and its era begin to realign.

The best part about this was that you didn’t even have to be familiar with the band to see it happening.

So, did all this headway mean that the music always made it back to the stage, and the hearts of fans could be whole once more but this time it would be forever?

Of course not.

Sometimes only a few members would take the stage, or in cases like The Beat, no member performed for the show.

But think about it. Is all of this really about the concert at the end anyway?

What I loved most and what I think others also enjoyed about the show were the conversations Haleem would have with the band members, and the ones long overdue that they would have with each other.

Here it was, their opportunity to finally share their brief but vital points of view beginning with the band’s first meeting to the sudden birth of the spark that would take them to super stardom. And then the journey to the present, the explanation of why they chose to hang up their guitars and capes for lives disguised as mere mortals.

The two seasons of Bands Reunited saw members that did not want to have that initial meeting with their former band mates, and a few on the show even complained that they hated the experience. I can see that. It can’t always be forced into happening. In those cases it is best that the music just continues to speak for itself.

For the bands that found new life and continued to perform for fans following the show, I think the inspiration Bands Reunited gave to them would be incredible to see today with other bands who still want to pick up the pieces.

Seeing the undecorated human perspective on what changed everything was key. They were the stories we never though we would hear from the mouths of rock stars now face to face with the ones who shared in those fleeting moments when the world sat at all of their feet.

They finally filled in the parts that the band members had always wanted to have heard and fans were more than happy to listen to.

And they were all a unique look at what really happened.