Tattoos and Reality Television

Reality television shows have pretty much taken over everything, fashion, home improvement, singing, dating, and yes even something as cool as tattoos.

In recent years we have seen shows such as Miami Ink, Inked, LA Ink, and this past summer’s Tattoo Highway.  For those who where lucky enough not to watch I will give you a rundown of each.

Miami Ink was of course a tattoo shop in Miami, Florida. I’ll admit I watched it every so often because they did sMiamiInkome decent tattoos but the ones they showed all seemed so similar to each other. I think the show’s goal seemed to be showing what it is like to work at a tattoo shop on Miami Beach.  It also showed a bit of the shop’s artists personal lives. Basically, they had regular issues with employees, picky customers and girls in bikinis from the beach.

01-la-ink-dvdLA Ink was a spin off of Miami Ink when a girl named Kat Von Dee left Miami for Los Angeles opened her own shop which gets a lot of celebrity clientele. It is the most interesting of the tattoo reality shows in my opinion. Mostly to see if any famous people will go into the shop for a tattoo from Kat or one of the other artists. Other than that it is quite similar to Miami Ink, just different artists and locations.

Inked was actually, if I remember correctly, the original tattoo reality show starting around 2004 or 2005. It was about a tattoo shop opening up in the Palms Casino and Hotel in Fabulous Las Vegas. The shop owner was motocross racer Carey Hart (the guy who is on and off with singer Pink if you don’t follow motocross). It focused a lot more on the people working in the shops than on the customer’s tattoos unlike the shows that followed it.


Tattoo Highway is about a tattoo artist, Thomas Pendleton, who was actually on Inked for awhile opening his own shop but with a catch. It was a tattoo shop in a tour bus. He said he wanted to bring the tattoos to the people. He traveled all over the country trying to make his mobile tattoo shop work with a couple of other artists and his wife who was also on Inked for awhile. I personally think he had good intentions with his idea but did not think of his customers’ interests rather than doing tattoos that he wanted to do instead. I saw on multiple episodes Pendleton taking a customers artwork or ideas and doing something completely different that he liked. I never saw a time when the artwork or idea would be bad, they all looked like they where made to be tattoos. He simply just said he didn’t think it would be very good. He was a bit of jerk by not even trying to give them what they really wanted. It really aggravated me, making me hate the show.

I, myself, wish these tattoo shops would keep their business off television. It almost makes me not want anymore tattoos. It is bad television and is just as bad as all the other reality shows on television.

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