Why You Watch Reality TV

Reality television has exploded in the last decade. In fact, it would be difficult to find an hour of the day when a reality television show isn’t on. What exactly is the appeal of reality television that has so many viewers completely hooked? Why has the popularity of Reality TV spanned all socio-economic statuses, age groups, and education levels? Perhaps it’s the unscripted glimpse you get into other people’s lives that helps take the focus off present troubles, or makes everyone’s day to day lives seem a little less “crazy.” Whatever it is that draws Reality TV fans in, this fairly new phenomenon has certainly taken the entertainment industry by storm.

Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why you watch Reality TV. First, the defining aspect of Reality TV is probably the manner in which it is shot. Whether the show takes place in a real setting with real people (much like a documentary), shot in front of a live studio audience that participates in the program, or uses hidden surveillance, the best Reality TV relies on the camera capturing everything as it happens.

Secondly, I agree with those who have said Reality TV shows are escapism for viewers, much like books, radio, and even TV were to prior generations. Our fascination with stars of Reality TV is probably seeing if they have any likenesses to us, our lives, our stuff, and our values. Sitcoms were the big deal in the 70s and 80s, and continues. Today Reality TV finds itself at the peak of an exponential growth. New shows come out every season taking the genre in a new direction by adding or enhancing plot devices from other genres.

Finally, living vicariously, we may hate to admit it but there is a little Reality TV star in all of us. Who doesn’t want to be a ‘Housewife of Atlanta’, New Jersey, Orange County or where ever and get paid big bucks to look fabulous and eat catered meals? Of course must of us can live without the hair pulling and drink throwing, or is that Basketball Wives?

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