Thirst: The Only Real Thing about Reality TV

the simple life

thanks a lot, ladies.

THERE ISN’T a week that goes by that I don’t receive a Facebook message or see an e-mail in my inbox that turns out to be a casting notice for a new reality show.

Some have to do with dating. Some have to do with the “struggle” to make it in any given profession. Some really aren’t all that particular at all, as long as you fall into a certain age range and have a particular look. Each time I see such a notice I roll my eyes and hit “delete.” No thank you. Reality TV is not for me. It is, however, for plenty of people and I can’t seem to understand why.

First of all, have you ever seen anyone look good on a reality TV show? I’m not talking about someone getting a lot of press coverage, or suddenly being boosted into the stratosphere of fame, or making a ton of fast cash, or becoming part of pop culture (what’s up, KK). I asked if anyone ever looks good- as in they don’t seem superficial, materialistic, brain-dead, manipulative, or a borderline alcoholic. If you’re wracking your brain and coming up empty-handed, it’s because such a portrayal doesn’t exist. It’s pretty obvious to everyone at this point that reality TV isn’t actually real and, for some, the “perks” that go along with being a reality star outweigh their actual portrayal.

You’d think that in a time where everything is documented and stays documented for eternity, people would be more hesitant to put themselves on display. For god’s sake, even when a “celebrity” deletes an inappropriate tweet it’s already been screenshot and is still there for the world to see forever. It really rubs me the wrong way that contemporary society has glamorized being a reality star. Bad behavior is rewarded (literally) and people who are willing to make fools of themselves are living better than the majority of the country. I call this phenomenon “cray for pay.”

I can understand why people would subject themselves to such a lifestyle when I look at it from a financial perspective. Appearing on TV is lucrative, there’s no two shakes about it, and the majority of people are looking for the easiest way to make money in the shortest amount of time possible. A few months of a camera following you around while you party can begin to sound a lot more appealing than actually putting in the effort to achieve something worthwhile, especially since such a worthwhile achievement would end up probably paying half of what you’d make on a reality show. It sucks, but it’s true.

Aside from the monetary payoff, I still have trouble wrapping my head around why someone would want to be a reality star. None of us are perfect and even if you’re on one of the “classier” reality shows, you have more likely than not behaved badly or said something you’ve ended up regretting on camera. Why would you want to re-live that with millions of strangers? Why would you want to subject yourself to the scorn and derision of the entire country, sometimes even the world?

The only thing that’s certain is it doesn’t seem like anything will dissuade Americans from a nice paycheck and easy fame. With popular reality shows being knocked-off, there’s no sign of these shows slowing down and plenty of people that still want to be their stars.

Too bad they’ll never be the kind that counts.

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