Admit it. There’s nothing better on a hangover than putting on the latest episode of Geordie Shore, and secretly relishing in the fact that you didn’t make quite as much of a show of yourself last night as they did. Alternatively, if it was a bit of a rubbish night, you might very well wish the opposite! But why do we turn to reality TV? Are we bored? Are we not content with our own lives? Are we just sick of everyone on scripted TV, and we fancy the underdog? Well, let’s see.
Not All Reality Shows Are Created Equal:
There are so many kinds of reality show out there, from American faves starring the Kardashians, through to talent shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. Both types rely on the concept of ‘real people’, but of course, the lives of these ‘real people’ come in different degrees and vary greatly.
Then you’ve got the likes of The Great British Bake Off, Super Nanny, and WWE’s Total Divas. Each has a widely different intended audience – and some can even be watched by your nan. Whether your thing is watching drunk girls screaming at each other or toddlers prancing around a stage in a tiara, there’s something for everyone. From the early incarnation of reality TV like in the Big Brother days, the interest has always been astounding… and ever growing.
These days, people can be reality stars of sorts from their own homes. We’ve probably all got our favourite viral star, making those hilariously shareable videos that we can’t get enough of. To be honest, these days, you don’t really need to do much – just do something outlandish, and be in the right place at the right time!
The Obsession Runs Deep…
People aren’t just consuming the shows themselves and then leaving it at that. Nope, they’re allowing reality TV shows to infiltrate into their real lives… yep, some serious Inception stuff right there!
There are tons of spin-off apps which have stemmed from reality shows, most notably including Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. You can’t talk about reality without mentioning arguably the archetypal reality entrepreneurial queen herself, and her game is among the most popular. The aim is to get to the A-list; so it’s arguably based on Kim’s life herself. Yes, it’s really addictive.
Other big name shows have online games, too. Notably, Sun Bingo hosts slot games including Britain’s Got Talent, in which players trigger different features along the way by skipping from the audition stages through to the semi-finals and eventually the final – complete with the official music and various acts.
Are Reality Shows Even Real?
In all honesty, whilst a lot of reality shows claim not to be scripted, it’s well documented that in actual fact, a lot of them are. The internet went crazy last year when Reddit spilled all on the matter, whilst most people have a story about how they’ve heard it’s all scripted because a friend of a friend went back with some lad off The Valleys after a night out.
However, the idea that anyone can star in them is always appealing. Since the dawn of fame, it’s been well documented that everyone apparently wants their 15 minutes of it, whether secretly or not! Nowadays, people stay hooked because they’re constantly trying to push boundaries. You’re watching real people’s lives – but often people with a talent, or at least a lot more going on.
What’s The Deal With the Obsession, Then?
Twenty years ago, would we have ever have pictured ourselves where we are now? For most of us, reality TV is all we’ve ever known. In all honesty, it must have been refreshing, for a time – the notion that real people could make for actual viewing.
The lines between reality stars and other kinds of stars is really blurred – the Kardashians and Jenners are the biggest names in the world, whilst people who start in relatively modest roles in Gogglebox can become Queen of the Jungle on I’m A Celeb – of course, we’re talking about Scarlett Moffat. If you’re on reality TV these days, you’re famous. Full stop.
People actually study reality shows these days. Yep, it’s an actual thing. That means that psychology actually has something to say about why we can’t get enough of it.
It’s been suspected for a while that we’re so keen because we love to see people get humiliated, but there’s also another school of thought that it’s because we’re actually an empathetic bunch instead. If humiliation was the main reason we watched them, apparently we wouldn’t secretly desire to be on reality shows, as many of us seem to. The more we like them, the more we fancy our chances at appearing!
How about you? Fancy yourself on the next series of Ex On The Beach, or would you literally rather cry?