The unrealistic reality of reality TV

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Do you ever sit back and contemplate why people find things entertaining? For instance, enough of an audience devotes an hour of their time every week to Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashians’ lives, allowing “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” to renew itself for its 17th season. For some reason, we find the theatrics of upper-class, extremely cosmetically modified sisters irresistibly entertaining. Some go beyond following their lives through television and hit the “follow” button on every type of social media account in their possession. We devote so much of our time focusing on the “reality” of other people’s lives, but for what reason, and is it healthy?

I will be the first to admit, I am a reality TV junkie, and have each day of the week scheduled out with its corresponding TV show. Between “KUWTK,” “The Bachelor,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Voice,” my life and the lives of millions of viewers around the world are invested in the “reality” behind the screen, but in all reality, it isn’t reality at all.

People accept the concept of reality television without even thinking of what is happening behind the screen. There is a debate that shows like “KUWTK” and “The Bachelor” are staged to draw viewership, but the truth of that statement has yet to be determined. But even with the potential scripting of these beloved shows, people still watch religiously, on the edge of their seats waiting for the next “mind blowing” conversation Kim and Kanye will have over rap music and designer clothing.  Each season of “The Bachelor” of “The Bachelorette” in the words of host Chris Harrison is, “The most dramatic season in Bachelor or Bachelorette history,” and audience members believe him and continue to tune in on a weekly basis.

We watch these shows, idolizing the people behind the screen while aspiring to have the lives that they live. Take “KUWTK” as a prime example of reality television, which is the furthest display of reality for most people. The Kardashians — ringleader Kris, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie Jenne r— are multi-millionaires who document their whole lives on camera for the rest of the world to see. Kylie, the world’s youngest-ever “self-made” billionaire, with a net worth around $1 billion at age 21 , is idolized by millions of young girls from all walks of life.

We as viewers watch intently as these powerful women strut the stage at London Fashion Week, with hundreds of cameras flashing, trying to catch every angle possible. We track each stage of Kim’s surrogate pregnancy, spending hours trying to find the “lucky” woman who has the “privilege” to carry Kim and Kanye’s child for nine months.

When the news broke that Tristan Thompson cheated on Khloe, millions of viewers took it upon themselves to have a personal vendetta against the forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The hearts of Kardashian fans across the world shattered into pieces when Kylie and rapper Travis Scott announced they were taking a break from each other.

Putting things into perspective in that way, our obsession with this family seems unhealthy, especially with the amount of responsibilities people have in their everyday lives. Why do we care so much about the lives of others, when we have lives of our own to manage? After all,“KUWTK” is still averaging two million viewers per week, and its ratings are continuing to climb.

Instead of idolizing the lives of individuals, shows like “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise” or any other reality TV relationship show within The Bachelor franchise or beyond, create an expedited dating process for contestants, where viewers get emotionally invested in the process. For most seasons of “The Bachelor,” roughly 25 women contest for the heart of one man for nine weeks, and, in most cases, the show ends in an engagement.

Realistically speaking, whether some of these relationships work out or not, the process in which the relationships form is not normal, and it does not promote the natural and healthy dating process that should take place in real life. Dating 25 women at the same time, and picking and choosing which ones you want to continue a relationship with for another week, is not normal, and the way these relationships function should not be idolized. Yet, from 8 to 10 p.m. every Monday night, we watch as one lucky man or woman aims to find love on reality TV.

I’m sorry to die hard “Bachelor” fans, but the odds that you are going to be proposed to on a tropical island to the man of your dreams who has known you for roughly two months is extremely low, and it probably shouldn’t be an aspiration.

So, why do we continue to watch these shows, engrossed in what is going to be the next ridiculous thing to happen? Things that happen on reality television realistically never happen in day-to-day life, so when we watch these shows on television, it is fascinating to us. Unfortunately, we need to constantly remind ourselves that what is happening behind the screen is not realistic. Nothing is wrong with indulging in these shows as a guilty pleasure, just leave the “reality” of reality television to the celebrities, and remain confident in the importance of your own reality.

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