“Why am I still watching this?”

By Heather LaPergola
November 8, 2012

I honestly consider reality shows glorified forms of white noise. I keep them on in the background when I’m looking for something to just fill the room with sound, but I can’t actually see myself sitting down and saying, “Oh, I’ve been waiting for the newest episode of ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ all week.”

I consider Reality TV to be broken up into at least two different categories, which are reality shows and reality competitions. Reality competitions don’t bother me nearly as much. In fact, I even enjoy shows like “Survivor,” “American Idol,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” At least they have some sort of ultimate goal or meaning, making them more of a story instead of watching people just live their lives.

For example, the other day VH1 was on in the gym and I forgot my iPod, so I just plugged in my headphones and watched the episode of “TI & Tiny” that was playing. The entire episode could be summed up to: their hamster died, so the kids wanted a new pet, but TI didn’t want one, so to prove their responsibility they cleaned the house for a week. At the end they got a rabbit. By the time the credits started rolling, I literally said to myself, “what did I just watch?” More excitement happens in my own life than this stuff!

My friends and I joke around, as do most, that we’re crazy enough to have our own reality show, and the sad part is, we aren’t wrong. What they consider TV shows today really aggravates me. Shows like “The Jersey Shore,” “Big Rich Texas,” “The Housewives of …,” “Dance Moms” and “Toddlers and Tiaras” honestly make me worry about humanity. I realize that a lot of things in reality shows have become scripted, and that’s why the actions in them can be so shocking, but how can you still call a reality show just that if that’s not the “reality” of it?

It makes me twitch how most of these shows don’t have a real purpose and are still so popular just because the characters in them are “crazy” or “hysterical.” Also, if you noticed, I used the word “characters” in the sentence above. I did this because many times, these situations aren’t even how the people in these shows would normally act. The directors and producers push them to act up a little bit for the boost in ratings.

I truly miss that good TV can be hard to find sometimes anymore. This isn’t to say that I don’t think the shows on TV now are bad, that’s obviously not true. I watch “American Horror Story,” “The Walking Dead,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Dexter” weekly. But every time I flip through the channels, I’ll more likely than not find a marathon of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” for the fifth time that month than the last episode of any of the shows I actually enjoy.

There are the few exceptions to the rule, of course, that I can admit to watching. Channels like A&E and the History Channel’s reality shows usually can hold my attention, such as “Intervention,” “Storage Wars” and “Hoarders.” I like to give myself the excuse that at least I’m getting something out of them, because let’s face it, at least I learned more watching an episode of “Pawn Stars” than “The Bachelor.”

Reality shows are made because they’re cheaper and easier, which in my opinion is how most come off: cheap.  If you have the option, I encourage you to watch a show that actually has a plot and actors. Trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll feel better for supporting a storyline instead of fueling the eighth season of a show about extreme fishing.

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Heather LaPergola

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