Reality tv: pleasure or plague?

If you are reading this and happen to know me in person, you probably know that I watch an awful lot of reality tv. Well, to be quite honest, there is not much else on tv these days. Even so, I watch a lot of it. I watch it for several different reasons. For example I watch Sisterwives (En Man och Hans Fruar) because I find it fascinating to see how a man and his four wives and 17 children fits into modern day Las Vegas. In other words I can learn something. I can learn something about a lifestyle that is pretty much as far away from mine as you could ever get, yet somehow when it boils down to it people are not that different.  Who am I to judge? , they seem happy enough. I also watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Keeping Up With the Kardashians to see how rich people live their lives. Harmless entertainment one could call it. I can switch my mind of from things that reminds me of my own boring life.

But today I watched something that made me think. I watched True Tori, a reality show following Tori Spelling (you know the ditzy one from Beverly Hills 90210) and her husband coming out of rehab after a cheating scandal. The show is mainly focusing on her and how she dealt and is still dealing with it. Her reasons for filming she explains is to get her side across rather then lies being spread about them in the gossip magazines. I have to admit, even I struggled to watch it. I felt like I was a dirty voyeur, having seen something that was not meant for my eyes. Many of you will be saying: too much!! But where do you draw the line? Why is this concept the biggest thing on tv right now? Who benefits from it? Lets have a little look…

It seems like the variety of shows are endless. We have got shows such as The Apprentice or shows like the X-Factor and American Idol. Shows that are looking for ’real’ talent of some sort. To find real talent they want us to believe, though the contestants on The Apprentice are chosen not purely on their ability to do a good job but also based on how they will come across on tv. In a group of people we have a certain amount of roles that have to be filled such as a villain, a leader, a hero and so on. Without a contestant filling that role the show would be boring regardless of how good the cv of the contestants are. As for outright talent shows? How many people watch for the oh so funny try outs in the beginning? We certainly don’t seem to mind watching people who are clearly mentally unstable having the hope of their dreams squashed by an oh so honest Simon Cowell. We have I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here, where the viewers can get revenge on celebrities they don’t like by voting for them to do gruesome tasks such as swimming in fish guts or eating kangaroo penis. Sounds awfully humiliating right? Well, when your old dead career all of a sudden comes alight again and you make a ton of money on the back of it who cares. We have got the whole Real Housewives franchise, supposedly showing how rich, strong women live, with money and class. Like a sort of empowerment promo for women. Or, as Brandi Glanville put it ”Money doesn’t give you class, it just give you money”, which seem to be a more of an accurate description. The sole purpose of these shows seems to be to show women bitch, backstab and argue about and with each other. Then of course of the bottom of the barrel we have got shows like Big Brother, Paradise Hotel or The Valleys. The shows where they supply young people with no other purpose to be there other then to become famous or win some money are supplied with as much alcohol as possible. Bottom of the barrel did I just say? Lets see…

The truth is that these types of shows are a massive success for everyone involved. Someone gains the music career they have always dreamed of. A washed out old actor all of a sudden is high in demand again, housewives get their own shop, beauty line or book deal and others become famous for no other reason then that they had sex on tv and can laugh about it all the way to the bank, earning substantial amounts from personal appearances in night clubs or glamours spreads in lads mags. Even product placement is rife on all these shows. So everybody is happy. They viewers get entertained, the advertisers get sales and the participants gets fame and money. Win win for everyone.

What do you think? Is it just harmless entertainment or is it a sign of something bigger and potentially something that is not very good for us? I’m left with a bit of a bad taste from watching True Tori. It makes me wonder is nothing sacred? Should nothing be kept private anymore or is it good to share? You know, a problem shared is a problem halved they say. I guess my conclusion will be this; we live in a world were we share everything. That was clear when Tori tearfully looked into the camera to tell us how heartbroken she was due to her husband cheating.  Celebrities share their lives with us on reality shows of different kinds whereas the rest of us have to do with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Are we not all guilty of the same thing to a certain extent? After all, it is nothing new, in the middle ages we would call people being beheaded entertainment.