HOLLYWOOD—Many of us can debate this, but the truth of the matter is we all indulge in a bit of reality TV. Rather it’s participating in the countless shows chronicling the life of celebrities or the Bravo sensation “The Real Housewives” of whatever, we find ourselves thoroughly entertained by the dramatics. I have always been a proponent and always will that reality TV is contrived. Nothing is 100 percent REAL, even though many of the stars on these so called shows would love for you to think otherwise.
I guess the one thing that truly had me thinking while writing this column was a recent episode of the Bravo show “Shahs of Sunset.” Sometimes you just happen to watch a show because there is nothing else on TV. Well, I found it laughable that some of the stars on the series found themselves utterly upset with another cast mate who refused to showcase every element of her life on the show. I mean most of these shows are a NO KID ZONE anyway, and sometimes their spouses act in similar fashion.
No one on reality TV is going to seriously tell me they are showcasing every single aspect of their life. Why? If that was the case a camera would be following you 24/7 and the only series where I know for a fact that transpires is the CBS reality hit “Big Brother” where actual cameras DO FOLLOW the contestants non-stop for an extended time period. I mean you see the contestants sleep, shower, eat, bicker, fight, you name it you see it all. I would even argue most of them who attempt to put on a ‘persona’ see their true selves emerge after a lapsed time frame, watch “Big Brother 15” if you think I’m lying.
Anyone watching a reality TV show, should never tell themselves what they are seeing is real. While it might not be 100 percent scripted TV, there is some formula put into play to create drama to draw a bit of a narrative, and considering we know most of these shows are edited it’s no secret that the ‘reality’ behind it is to manifest storylines that will cause the viewer to stay tuned in. I mean I know so many friends who indulge in the variety of “Housewives” franchises where they have endured #lesbiangate, #pantygate and most recently #cakegate. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence, but jeez God it seems so contrived, so pathetic and so drawn out it is no longer entertaining to watch. Unless the narrative delivers a twist or unexpected surprise, the rehashing of the same crap over and over and over again is just bad on the creators of these shows.
Now does this stop me from watching the shows? Not quite, but at the same time it does leave me venturing to find more entertaining shows. I do love a few reality-competition hits like “Survivor,” MTV’s “The Challenge” and “Big Brother” because they allow the audience to become involved by rooting for a favorite or underdog that as a viewer you want to win. If there is one reality hit I never miss it is “Vanderpump Rules.” It has to be the most entertaining shows that I’ve seen in years, and it works because the show DOES NOT take itself too seriously. The cast knows its goal is to entertain audiences, and they do a hell of a job to accomplish that feat. It’s not like that crap of a TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” where the audience or anyone who even goes on the internet is well aware of every single thing this family does months before episodes air attempting to chronicle events as if the viewer will have no idea what transpired. Now what fun is that people.
I think myself, like so many others indulge in reality TV because it’s nice to have an escape from our own lives. The drama might be contrived, but it’s NOT OUR DRAMA, it is someone else and it’s a ton of fun to watch it all unfold. Reality TV allows us to clear the mind from the everyday drama that haunts us, for at least 1 hour you get an escape, it might not be life-changing, but it helps destabilize that stress that can be so overbearing at times without reality TV it might be hard to survive.
Written By Kelsey Thomas