daily post challenge #197: why are reality tv shows so popular?

Might it be a subconscious desire to “keep up with the Jonses?”…but in reverse? “How’s that?” you say. What if instead of wanting to be like the stars of reality TV shows, we want to make sure we’re not like them at all, or that we’re better than them? Kind of a convoluted way of thinking. But isn’t life these days…convoluted? twisted?

The Bachelor (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Who would have thought guys and gals would flock before the cameras for a chance to win the heart of the opposite sex? Twenty five single or divorced men and women do just that every season on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Go figure. Millions of viewers, including me, tune in to see the unfolding drama of men and women dissing each other to their faces, or behind their backs. There’s no shame, no embarrassment, no “What are my family and friends going to think?” The star of the show is kissed and cuddled and who know’s what else, by as many people to whom they find themselves attracted. After all “the end justifies the means,” and they have to “kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince, or princess,” and “the game’s the thing.”

My daughter, who also watches now and then, swears off ever wanting to be a contestant on The Bachelorette. Thank God! I’d probably want to string some guy up by his toes if he ever toyed with my daughter and made her cry, in front of an audience of millions. I know, I know. These people deserve what they get because they’ve opted to look foolish. Well yes, but my daughter’s still my daughter. I’d expect most parents of these frolicking singles are mortified to see what goes on with their children…and not behind closed doors!

Jill Zarin and Dina Manzo

Image by pamhule via Flickr

Just as I watch swinging singles get together, or try to get together, I use to spend time with The Housewives…of Orange County…of New York…of New Jersey…of Beverly Hills. Why did I bother? Knowing that most of these women are wealthy, or aspire to be wealthy, I was curious. I was also hopeful they’d be nice people. After watching several seasons of a combination of the various ones, I can count on one hand how many were, and remain, women I’d befriend…in another life, of course. In my current one, we’d never, ever cross paths.

Restored Victorian mansions on Bergen Avenue

Image via Wikipedia

I enjoy watching HGTV shows where couples or families are seeking new living quarters. Again, I’m mentally comparing my life with theirs, whether as young marrieds, parents, or empty nesters. I’m amazed at the amount of money folks are plunking down for homes these days. This, probably our last home, cost us in the high $200,000’s some 14 years ago. How can couples in their late 20’s and early 30’s afford to buy mega homes  for 3 times what we paid in our 50’s? It’s mind-boggling! But it’s also a sign of the times.

Bill gates' house2

Image via Wikipedia

The dot.com generation has money to burn. Forget manufacturing, agriculture, construction. People in those occupations are becoming what housecleaners, fruit pickers, and landscape workers are to my generation. Employees of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple pay others to custom-make whatever they fancy, often dine at up-and-coming, new wave eateries, and oversee the building of fantasy homes.

So you see, I’m just your average middle-class, suburban housewife, eyeballing what others have and how they live. But in all truth, it’s not because I want what they have or want their lives. Whether it’s that my Catholic education continues to hold sway, or that my imagination allows me to momentarily insert myself into someone else’s life, when I switch off the TV I thank my lucky stars for the life that’s mine. But I can’t pass judgment on those who are in reality TV, for I’ve no clue…

what their own lives are like…so to each her own…hugmamma.


Image by Adam Crowe via Flickr

10 thoughts on “daily post challenge #197: why are reality tv shows so popular?

  1. I’ve shamelessly watched many reality tv shows. They are addictive, I suppose it is curiosity. I think a lot of people aspire to be on them shows because a lot of people think being famous would be the best thing… ever?


    • No need to apologize…we’re all human…and naturally curious. But that’s as far as I’d care to go. With fame comes a lot of stuff…positive and negative. For me, the negatives would far outweigh the positives. But it might be different for others…I wouldn’t want to be the judge. To each his own, really. That’s why we’re all different…and that’s as it should be.

      hugs for subscribing…and leaving a great comment… 🙂


  2. I don’t like TV reality show, usually it’s quite a really bad TV I think. I don’t like to see people getting fool of them self, just seems they don’t have any respect left.
    In maybe 10 years of reality TV show in France, only 4 people are getting famous, and yet if I’m right, this 4 people were “stars” of the 3 first TV reality show !
    So now, if you want to get famous, TV reality show is not enough any more.
    I don’t think this is a good example for young people, it only show a picture like this one : you want to be famous and in the scandal newspaper, so get into a reality show, tell stupid things and play with the extreme feelings so you will find your face all over the web and cover of bad magazine and you will be paid for this !? But what next ? What about finding a real job to get pay of and not only to be lying for a couple of month around a pool making a fool of yourself ?!

    You tell me that you paid your house around 200 000$ in the 50’s ? Wow that’s so cheap ! In Saint Ouen, you can’t get a house for this price but only an apartment around 40 to 50 m2 ! (2 bedrooms / living room / kitchen / bathroom and if you’re lucky garage ! ). In Paris, according to the “arrodissement” you can’t even have a 1 bedroom apartment… As for the south of France, around Nice, you can’t buy a house. An house is more around 500 000 €…
    That’s crazy how expensive re getting the price in the real estate market !


    • What I take away from watching reality shows, and I only watch a couple when I remember that they’re on, or I happen upon them when I’m cruising with my remote control, is how lucky I am to be living the life I live. I often wonder about the stars of reality shows and their moral compasses. And then I wonder what is it that they’re missing in their lives, which drives them to crave such attention on the world stage. Fame and money? They can’t be big celebs, so why not be mini ones?
      Then I wonder…is there a little Narcissism in all of us? Don’t we all want to tell our own stories…

      and hope someone’s listening? 😉


  3. Well, let’s see. Where do I begin? My reflections on this are less kind. I think we live in a voyeuristic society, where it has become easy through the media of television to live life vicariously through others. People want to explore in others what they have not: money, fame, sex. As we retreat into our technology-filled lives with Droids and iPhones, iPads and Hotspots, we socialize through databits – texting, Facebooking, tweeting, and yes, blogging. And if people are going to live life from their couch, through their TV, why would they watch Little House on the Prairie? They would rather see who is hooking up with who on reality TV, and then have a text conversation with their BFF.

    As for my daugthter? If she ever went on such a show it would a reflection of my cataclysmic failure as parent.

    My wife watches both HGTV and Married Housewifes of Trash Town, but she is more balanced and objective than me.

    My great penance in life is that I am going to have to watch all of these shows someday, including American Idol, because that is what my children will be watching. And I am going to have to watch it and be quiet and appear interested, so that they will talk to me about their world.

    God help me then.


    • Love your combination of integrity, and reality. You’re right. For the sake of continuing to be immersed in your children’s world, you’ll have to partake of their world…at least as an observer.

      My daughter and I love The Voice, a new reality show. Real singers aspiring to the next level, a record contract, or professional recognition have the opportunity to be coached and yes, judged, by current celebrity singers of note, like Christina Aguilera. The coach/judges have as much at stake for one of them will have discovered “the voice” who wins.

      In another life, I might have been a singer/dancer/choreographer, so The Voice holds special appeal. And since my daughter’s a professional dancer who choreographs, and loves music, having played the violin for many years, she too is drawn to the reality show. It’s great to find common ground with my 25-year-old daughter. But it’s helped that we’ve always been close, and are now…

      bff’s… 😉


  4. I enjoy HGTV design and househunting shows. Especially International Househunters so I can see another area of the world without leaving my living room.

    Most of the rest of Reality TV shows I ignore. 😉


    • Love House Hunters, especially International, for the same reason you indicate. Otherwise I’d never be able to see what homes in other parts of the world are like. I feel the same about homes in other states. Hey! I even like going to open houses in my own neck of the woods. My husband…not so much. But at least he sits and watches HGTV with me…sometimes. He wasn’t born as curious as I was, and still am. 😉


  5. Not very many of the couples who paired up on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are still together. So, why are contestants still signing up to appear on these two reality shows?
    (Are Trista and Ryan Sutter the only couple that are still together?)


    • Probably for their moment in the spotlight. A desire to compete. Possibly being discovered by TV producers. Curiosity…travel…a chance to meet the hunk, or the beauty. None of which would ever convince me or, more importantly, my daughter. 😉


hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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