The rise of reality TV shows is extraordinary. Since the onslaught of Paris Hilton’s “A Simple Life” in 2001 –which at least, attempts to give the multi millionaire heiress an experience of normalcy– society has since appear to give into self indulgence, portraying the rich and famous without any shame.
Fast forward to the year 2014, “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is easily the most talked about reality TV show with nine seasons to boot, just as “Kimye” (the happily married Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) becomes one of the most widely reported couple, dominating the headlines of countless of tabloids, not to mention being on the cover of Vogue magazine.
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It seems stupid to ask, but why do people watch or even enjoy reality TV?
Clearly, we know that certain parts are scripted and cannot possibly be true and yet we continue to let ourselves be deceived. There is no doubt that plenty of us are able to list a number of negative impacts as a result of watching them. The Bacherlotte/Bachelor series creates a grossly skewed concept of love, HoneyBooBoo was exploitative on so many levels, and don’t even get me started on the crazy partying lifestyles of the stars from #RichKidsofBeverlyHills.
Yet in spite of all these warning signs, we still watch it or at least in one way or another, know about their existence. Love them or hate them, the fame and popularity of these reality TV stars are unstoppable.
In my opinion, whatever feelings we have towards them stem from our craving to identify ourselves with these beautiful and brazen, more real than reality characters. Very often, they strike a thin line between portraying an extremely believable mundane scenario of every day life, such as having family fights, or even eating while the camera alternates these shots with their super glamourous double life, dodging from the paparazzi, spending exorbitant amounts of money on useless stuff, etc.
Whatever it is, as viewers, this certainly conjures rather disorientating and surreal effects of having to consume and process of overwhelming images that are shown to us on the screen. Without thinking too much and dwelling on the logic of cause and effect, our thoughts are directed as we are absorbed in the lives of others.
That is, for me, the attraction wherein lies the power and thus the rise of reality TV shows. What about you? Why do you watch it?