I didn’t like reality TV shows initially because I didn’t think that they were really real. I mean how can you let in the whole world to see you for who you really are? You gotta act a little and set up situations that keep the viewers interested; the ratings high and the money flowing in. How real could they be?
I guess I was simply projecting onto the people on these shows; I thought that because I act out a lot of my life, everybody else must be doing the same.
Interesting though, it is said that it takes most people on reality shows about seven minutes to forget that there are cameras around. But because the cameras don’t disappear after seven minutes, every now and then after the initial seven minutes you’d see a camera and be reminded that you are being watched. Point to take from this though is that at some point during the show, the actors are definitely out of character.
There is some meddling with the reality that is the reality show and so I don’t think that in the end they are a “genuine” representation of the lives of these people generally. Yet even with this skepticism I am still glued to the TV watching the Kardashians in Cuba. And before that New York and the Hamptons and so on… Why have I watched this family for so long and why are they still on TV? I could say that it’s because of people like my sisters who bait other people like me to watch the show even if we’d rather be watching football but in all honesty, I sometimes find myself genuinely interested in these people’s lives.
Why do we watch reality shows? I know why I don’t; it’s not that the people in them make the best life decisions, have the best lifestyles or offer the best advice on how to live my life. It’s not that I enjoy the fantasy of having been all these places with them, done stuff with them, gone through life’s highs and lows with them or that I aspire to be like them. It is in fact because I feel connected to them.
I recently moved into a new hostel. Now, I dread human contact because I often find that I cannot maintain enough interest in people over a long period of time so I often forgo the whole meet and greet to save myself the guilt of being “unfriendly” in the future. So I spent a few weeks before I said as much as a paragraph to my next-door neighbor. Eventually she stopped me in my tracks and asked for my name. And after names were exchanged, she explained herself that she didn’t think it was good not to know one’s neighbors.
In a universe of billions of galaxies, in a galaxy with billions of planets and stars; on this planet, we’re all next door neighbors. We long to be connected to other human beings whether they live thousands of miles away or practically next door to us. And I figure that the reason why reality shows are still going strong is because they make us feel connected to other people, the reality TV show stars that are often people we know but don’t see much of elsewhere or as is in the case of the Kardashians, people we only see on the reality TV show.
So rather than hate on people that make a fortune by simply doing stuff in front of cameras that they’d be doing anyways hadn’t there been any cameras, I’ll embrace these shows as an opportunity for me to feel connected in an increasingly fragmented world.