Literary Characters Who Could Be on Reality TV

Posted by Eve Legato

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, some reality TV shows are so well-known that they must tap into some human instinct. Maybe even some literary instinct? Because we know plenty of characters from books who would be great candidates for reality television. Here are a few.

Lily Bart: The Bachelorette

In The House of Mirth, Lily Bart goes through plenty of one-on-ones and eliminates many suitors. There is more than one proposal. Will anyone get the final rose?


Hester Prynne: Teen Mom

Too real? Honestly, though, The Scarlet Letter is full of baby-daddy drama. And ex-husband drama. And there’s a cute kid in the middle of it all, being precocious. We might as well be describing Teen Mom.


Miss Havisham: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Miss Havisham’s life in Great Expectations needs some shaking up, and what better place to start than Satis House, with its crumbling stones, stopped clocks, dust, and decaying cake? She even has a tragic backstory to inspire Ty Pennington to bring his crew out an do her a solid.


Julie Powell: MasterChef

This one’s a little meta, considering Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously involves a sort of imaginary mentor: Julia Child herself. But the judges could be real-life mentors, and the show is for amateur, not restaurant, chefs. A confidence-builder, for sure.


Phileas Fogg: The Amazing Race

Around the World in 80 Days is like the 1870s version of The Amazing Race. There is competition (though it’s mostly against the clock and the detective Fix), and there are unique challenges Fogg faces at each international location. The guy navigates a herd of bison and inspires a ship mutiny to get where he wants to go. He could definitely win The Amazing Race. 

Eve Legato

Eve Legato enjoys gifs, trashy reality TV, literary fangirling, and cheese. Follow her on twitter @evelegato.