The Gist

The Heart of Reality Television

It isn’t all competition and cat fights. Born This Way follows the lives of a few charming individuals with Down syndrome.

The cast of the fourth season of Born This Way.

Jaime Yandolino

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On The Gist, autocracy isn’t always bad for an economy. But as Turkey shows, idiocy definitely is.


Reality television has a reputation for uninhibited narcissism, ruthless competition, and terrible business pitches. But when Jon Murray created The Real World in 1992, he worked to make something complex and innovative, not a circus of humanity’s basest instincts. And in A&E’s Born This Way, Murray follows the lives of individuals with Down syndrome in Los Angeles, sharing their laughter and tears, their beautiful community, and how they strive to be just like everyone else.

In the Spiel, Christine Hallquist makes history. Can she do it again in November?

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Twitter: @slategist

Podcast production by Pierre Bienaimé and Daniel Schroeder.