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5 Reasons We Love Reality TV: Why We Keep on Keeping Up…

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Let’s be honest, we’ve all been guilty of lingering on the channel hosting the reality TV ‘trash’ we all love to hate – I’m looking at you E! Network…

There are so many different formats, it’s a wonder there’s an audience for them all, and yet new concepts are being brought to air every day, so there must be somebody watching, right?

They might not be the most rewarding or stimulating programes we watch, but their ratings continue to rise, so why are reality TV programmes so popular?

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Here are some of the main reasons why reality TV attracts such a big audience:

1. Escapism

I think it’s safe to say that we don’t all sit around in our multi-million dollar mansions, discussing the latest gossip with our family members, while munching on salads and cookies from our giant uber-organised jars.  One of the main reasons we watch these shows is escapism.  It’s an hour where we get to forget about our own ‘normal’ lives and get a behind the scenes look at the lives of the rich and famous.

2. Fantasy

According to Psychology Today, the growing fascination with reality television stems from our desire to fantasize about the prospect of easily acquired fame.  The stars of these reality shows, such as Love Island for example, spend anywhere from a few days to a few months on these programmes and then seem to be instant hits, acquiring hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and deals with beauty and clothing brands, just because the whole nation watched as they lay around in a bikini for a few days.

3. Ego boost

I’m pretty sure we’ve all had that moment when we watch these kinds of programmes and think ‘thank God my mother/sister/friend isn’t like that.  Drama-filled programmes like this make us feel better about ourselves.  We realise our friends are not as stupid or immature, nor do they create so many problems in our lives.  ‘Drama, drama, drama’ – see The Hills season 5.

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4. Replacement relationships

When we watch reality TV programmes over a number of seasons, we begin to see the characters as someone we know.  We recreate the detached relationship we have with some of our friends and relocate that friendship to a TV character.

5. Peer pressure

Peer pressure is another reason we watch reality TV.  Or just a desire to join in on the convo – watercooler chat, if you will.  Would we really be watching if our friends or collegues weren’t also? Probably not.  I can’t count the amount of people I’ve seen over the last few days on Instagram talking about Netflix’s new Love is Blindfrom what I gather, people meet through a wall, talk for a while and at the end get engaged? Bizarre, but such is the world of modern televised dating, I guess.

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