Reality Television is Fantasy for Students

By Aja Cooper

You’re in class most of the day, then you work until six, head home to get some homework done before “Basketball Wives” comes on, but then you remember the only food you have in the house has to be cooked and there’s just no time for that.
You hit the drive-thru only to find that they clearly don’t care about your schedule because they’ve decided to take all day with your order and the orders before you. You get home and realize that the new episode of “Basketball Wives” is already twenty minutes in and if you start tuning in now you’ll just be confused.
Now you have to wait another hour and a half to catch the re-run. There’s only one woman on the show who actually is a basketball wife but you don’t care, you just want to know if they’re fighting this episode because the preview left you a little unsure of where all of the girls stood with each other. You call them all by their first name because deep down these reality stars are just like family to you.
MTV, VH1, Bravo and Food Network have made the 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. primetime for reality television watchers. “Catfish,” “The Real Housewives” of anyplace you could think of and any other show casted with adults who behave with the same maturity of a teenage adolescent. These individuals open up and let us into their homes and allow us to accompany them as they make some the toughest decisions they’ve ever had to make, make some of the dumbest decisions we’ve ever seen and achieve some of the greatest accomplishments they’ve ever dreamed of.
Even with taking all of these things into consideration, reality TV can be ranked as one of the most unreal things on television, but we keep going back for more.
Kathleen McGirty, assistant director of the Elliot University Center confesses that she is one of the many who have been roped in by reality television’s advancements.
“I watch 6-8 hours of TV a day,” said McGirty. “I watch shows in the morning before work and when I get home. Weekends I may watch more.”
“Storage Wars,” “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “The People’s Couch,” “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Project Runway,” “Project Runway: All Stars,” “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and “The Amazing Race” are just a few of the shows that make McGirty’s list of reality TV show to watch. She expressed that she watches some of them live, but most of them are stored on her DVR for her to watch later.
For many of us, “America’s Next Top Model,” “Flavor of Love” and “Jersey Shore” were some of the shows that started our journey with reality television. We knew all of the characters’ names, personalities, and who liked and disliked one another. Their weekly dysfunctions served as our modern soap operas that we had to watch daily so we stayed in the loop like they were personal friends of ours.
McGirty said she too feels personally connected to some of her favorite reality stars. Following these reality stars on Twitter and other forms of social media helps McGirty and others feel like they are closely linked to one another. On some occasions reality stars live tweet while new episodes air and this gives fans a chance to interact with the reality stars themselves.
While many people will agree that reality television is made of up the most fake scenarios, the ratings for these shows increase daily. Whether they feel personally connected to the characters or just find the shows entertaining, society lives on the drama these shows feed them on a weekly basis.
Setting the DVR for binge marathons and avoiding work to watch “just one more episode” has become a trend in many households. Wanting to know who’s fighting who, who’s talking about who and who’s dating who, have become the meat of conversation.
The sad truth is, reality television has become the American way to escape one’s own problems and issues. It’s easy to avoid our mundane lives by tuning in to watch other people’s excitement and drama.

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