That Cosplay Reality Show

Even before it premiered, HOC created quite a buzz in the cosplay community and lot of it was not positive. And when it finally debuted, that buzz remained the same.

I have seen the first two episodes and plan on watching the rest of the season out of my own morbid sense of curiosity,  although I will not be presenting a review, I feel that this is the best review of the show which sums up my perspective perfectly.

And if you are interested in how masquerade/cosplay competitions really unfold, then this brilliant young lady has got the goods.

What is of great interest to me are the overall reactions from the segment of the community that HOC is portraying which are referred to as “Cosplay Elites or pro cosplayers or people who can build really cool stuff”.  For the lack of a better term, I will be referring to them as “Cosplay Elites”. These cosplayers are prominent on the masquerade circuit and the WCS. If they are not competing they are treating conventions as their own personal runway and reap certain benefits through their cosplays. And even with my limited interactions with this segment of the community, even I know that this is not an accurate portrayal of this group.

However this group has barely made a peep of criticism. In fact most of them have been downright diplomatic. There is one well known cosplayer who is more than happy to share their views about anything, regardless of whether you want to hear them or not. When this cosplayer presented their opinion on this show there was not an ounce of disdain in their words. In fact what they did not even critique the show. They just stated that if cosplayers do not like the show, they should ignore it and leave it at that. Quite altruistic and polite of them to do, however it sounds more like CYA.

As I stated before, there are benefits of being a member of this circle. Among them are being sponsored and being invited to attend conventions. And even better, getting paid for promotional appearances while wearing their cosplays. The more well known they are, the more opportunities come their way. Cosplay is a very expensive hobby, so it is in their best interest to taken advantage of any chance that will allow them to earn or save income. Especially because these slots are far and few.

Which is why it is not in the best interest of this cosplayer or any other member of the “Cosplay Elites” to air their grievances in private because they would risk antagonizing the powers that be of the entertainment industrial complex. Besides risking future television appearances, once word gets out about a cosplayer’s rabble rouser streak, they might lose future sponsorships and the welcome mat at conventions could be pulled from underneath them. It is not worth it, especially when they can make their hobby into a full time careers.

Even the cosplayer that was called out by YYH and was not even part of the cast has been very vague in their response regarding the matter. This cosplayer would be justified in giving both barrels to the producers and YYH, however they are not going to rage, at least not in public, about the matter in order to avoid any actions that could potentially burn any bridges. Therefore any flame wars will occur in the rest of the community because those cosplayers have nothing to lose.

Despite the nerd rage, more of this type of reality programming is already in the pipeline. A nerd version of the Real World will be airing on the same network where a bunch of nerds of different stripes intern for Stan Lee’s convention while living under the same roof and if the ratings are decent for HOC expect more seasons of this show. What makes reality programming so popular with the networks is that the capital outlays for reality shows is dirt cheap and there are a massive number of fans willing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of bad taste for a chance of 15 minutes of immortality.

Speaking of sacrifices, there will be definitely more cosplayers who are interested in only cosplay fame and there has already been a trend of professional models who have been using cosplay as a stepping stone to the entertainment industrial complex even though they have no idea what the difference is between a light saber and phaser which will bring more fodder for the geek girl myth.

Expect to see more masquerades and even masquerades without conventions. It would not surprise me that NYCC would reconsider returning the masquerade to their programming schedule.

YHH is definitely the clear winner of the show so far. By wrapping herself with a Pikachu sized coat of false modesty she has made claims of being referred to as the queen of cosplay, which is probably news to a lot of people, but prefers to be called the ambassador of cosplay therefore anointing herself as the authority on the subject. In her interviews she is well spoken and demonstrates a keen mind behind that pretty face. She is also able to make use of all her assets even when she is not in cosplay. Those low cut tops that she wore during the interview segments are not a coincidence. Which brings me back to the second episode where she expressed her “concern” regarding a cosplayer falling under the negative influence of JN because of JN’s alleged use of sex appeal over craftsmanship in her cosplays and that YYH believed that cosplay should be all about the craft. It is kind of funny hearing that from someone who uses their full figure form to their advantage, which of course she got called out on by a cast member she once mentored and the rest of the internet. She also got a lot of flack for comments regarding body shapes and sizes. Many of her supporters have stated that through the magic of editng, those negative moments were manufactured. True as that maybe, a lot of those words were not put in her mouth. However, it is not going to harm her brand, in fact it may ingratiate her to more people because it shows that she stands for truth, justice, fair play and high SAT scores by her position as being the “voice of reason” on the show.

I would not be surprised to see YYH leveraging the publicity of HOC by expanding her cosplay merchandising line to other products or she could possibly be the first member of the “Cosplay Elites: to make the transition to the mainstream. It is also not out of the realm of possibility that that one of her goals is to have the YYH brand acquired for a very large payout.

Whether we like it or not nerd based reality show programming has now become part of the entertainment industry. And there is no doubt that future programs will outrage the community which is probably what the industry wants. After all, everyone watches a fight.

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