Soap box rant: Reality TV

At the moment our TV is flooded with reality shows—e.g. The Block, The Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover, Survivor, The X-Factor, Keeping up with the Kardashians, MasterChef.  Please don’t ask me to provide details on these shows as I don’t watch reality TV—I have in the past, but no longer can be bothered.   But other people seem to love them and they generally get very good ratings.  In some places where I have worked, "what happened last night" on reality TV is a hot topic of conversation the next morning, analysing it in great detail.

WHY are people so hooked on reality TV?
  • Is it because they “think” they lead dull and uninteresting lives and believe other people have far more interesting and exotic lives.
  • Or are we all nosy people who find fascination with others.
  • Or is it more to do with watching people do embarrassing and humiliating things— in which we find delight and entertainment at the failings and problems of others. Thrilled that it isn’t happening to us from the comfort of our lounge chair. If that is the case, it is all rather tragic.  
  • Its addictive and once sucked in, people can't stop.

I can understand why people like programmes such as Master Chef  (cooking) as we all love to watch people cook, but do you like to watch someone make a mistake, I don’t and get very uncomfortable watching them suffer (one of the reasons why I don't watch this programme).   

I am particularly fascinated by the health reality shows such as “Embarrassing Bodies” — why do  people who have a range of health issues (some very personal) go on national TV and show the world their private parts.  This really baffles me. Especially those who have been teased and have hidden away their problems for so long.  Perhaps they feel liberated.

The other thing about reality TV—the people who tend to be on these shows are not the sort of people I like to watch—they are the extraverts, the "noisy in your face sort" of person—and that’s why they are on TV I suppose!  And, I always wonder how real these shows are —what we see is only what the producer wants us to see, therefore what has been removed —anything considered dull and boring, we are only get the sensation, the drama.  So what is the point?  I'm still not really sure.
And  . . . while I'm on the topic . . . why do celebrities create reality TV of their lives . . . really . . . they aren't that riveting at all . . . sorry Sarah Palin and those others who have done this.


PS I have to admit I watch one reality show but quite different to these ones above —I do thoroughly enjoy Grand Design on the ABC where we can enjoy the journey of families who build or renovate a home in the UK – it isn’t embarrassing, people aren’t made fun of and it isn’t noisy and in your face.  It is all very calm and British!! One of my colleagues referred to it as an "upmarket" reality documentary.



  1. The thing that gets to me is the shallowness of both the reality shows and those who are riveted to them. It is such a superficial thing - it never goes deep and the horrible thing is that people exploit themselves and each other publically! What a sad, sad world we live in! :( I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that unless they were compensating for some kind of lack in their life. I guess people who watch those kinds of shows like to put their own lives out of their mind for awhile and live vicariously... It's probably like drugs - a way to forget reality by watching supposed reality! For those who appear on reality shows, I think it's part of their selfishness and pride - they feel big and important because of the audiences watching them. Apart from that, they probably feel empty because they're lacking true purpose and they are lacking the God who can fill them with true joy and peace and happiness.

  2. I dont watch the reality programs either. It's funny how people ask me who got voted off last nights "show" like they presume I watch them.

    Like you the only reality show I enjoy is Grand Designs, and if I miss it I dont lose sleep over it. Some nights there is just absolutely nothing to watch on TV so I put ABC radio on, that is much better entertainment, and I learn things too...

    Here I was thinking it was me that was the only one that didn't watch these shows, I happy now that I have company :)

    Have a wonderful day!

  3. We watch Grand Designs too.
    Watched the whole of the Block for the first time recently.
    We like the building / renovating shows but that's all we get caught up in.
    My hubby is a cabinetmaker and furniture restorer so these are the programs that spark our interest.
    BUT..if they get distasteful they get dumped quickly.
    Got more to do with our time than watch people being ugly to each other!!

  4. We don't watch much tv much less reality tv though I must admit I used to watch a bit of Australian Idol when it was on:) I think there isn't much good tv at all at the moment and so some of those people that watch it probably do because there isn't anything better on tv, though I might be wrong:)


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