If you’re a regular watcher of reality TV–whether it be Jersey Shore, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or The Bachelorette–you know how often you’re likely to get sh*t from other people who just don’t get it. It’s idiotic, they say. It’s trash. It’s not real, you know. Um, yeah. We know. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch, and watching doesn’t make you any less of an intelligent person. In fact, if you’re someone who loves to sit down and indulge in a healthy dose of your favorite reality show, here’s what watching reality TV says about you.
1. You’re interested in people
If you were to read a classic novel like Anna Karenina, you’d find yourself awash in brilliant metaphors, interesting plot turns, and beautiful writing, all of which makes it the masterpiece of literature we still read and study today. But if you whittled all that away and looked at its bare bones, you’d find a story of people interacting in life–realizing desires, having complex relationships, seeking happiness. And you know what in the end that’s exactly like? Reality TV–shows built around people, their stories, and their interactions. People make up all the interesting parts of life, and that’s what you know you’re getting a taste of when you watch.
2. You’re not judgmental…But you love to judge
Most of us spend a lot of our time making judgements. We critique what other people are wearing, who they’re dating, how they handled a situation. But if you were to actually sit down and talk to me about it, I’d tell you it’s all talk. How someone else lives their life doesn’t affect me. And you never know how you’d act if you were in someone else’s shoes, so you can’t really judge the choices they make. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love to talk about it. If we were really judging the people on reality TV, we would never be able to watch. It would be too maddening. But making small critiques about what they do and how they act is all a part of imagining you’re there in that same scenario, and imaging how you’d live it out yourself.
3. You always pick invisibility over flying
We all know the classic ice breaker question: if you could have a super power, would you pick invisibility or flying? Of course, flying would be amazing, but in the end there’s always something too appealing about being able to go wherever you want and just watch. To know what people really say about you or what they’re like when they’re alone. Not like you necessarily want to watch them get naked or anything. It’s not that creepy of a desire. It’s just an interest in knowing what people are really like when they think no one is watching. Reality TV may not actually be real. But what watching reality TV says about you is that you like to watch. By pretending, watching the bachelorette go on a date satisfies that small craving to peak in on the private things you’ll never really get to see.
4. You’ve got a healthy dose of curiosity and imagination
It’s just plain old curiosity, and a bit of imagination that allows us to pretend what we’re seeing is real. Even if we know in our hearts it isn’t, it’s easy for the mind to accept and pretend, just like we do watching fictional TV and movies too. You don’t sit there going, “oh, that’s not real.” You’d never enjoy it. And reality TV is the same way. The people who don’t enjoy it are the ones who sit there going oh, that’s not real, spoiling it for themselves. Meanwhile, the rest of us don’t believe it either, we just allow ourselves to take it like it is, the same as we would for something obviously fictional. Our minds are open and we allow our imaginations to engage as if this were totally real life unfolding right before us.
5. You’ve found a life hack to accessing other experiences
For the most part, people don’t really want to go on reality TV. What watching reality TV says about you is that you know how to live vicariously. It just allows us to somewhat feel like we’re participating in those kinds of experiences, without actually having to take any action or risk. If a friend says, listen to what just happened to me, you’re all ears, imagining the drama or cringe-worthy moment as if you were there, but no part of you actually wants to have been there. Yikes. It’s just exciting to feel as if you were. Reality TV is just another way to access this feeling. You can feel like you’re the one taking shots with Snookie at the club or sitting with Kim in her closet, but you never even have to leave your couch. (Although, sitting with Kim in her closet is an experience I would actually love to have.)
6. You appreciate a good story
A huge part of enjoying reality TV is the fact that it is fake. While these are real people putting their somewhat real selves before the camera, there are even more real people behind the scenes crafting plot lines for them or editing content to make it totally gut-wrenching. Watching reality TV just means you’re able to appreciate all that well-crafted work being put in on both sides. Plus, part of what makes this all a great story is that, in the end, even if they’re scripted, all of these interactions are based on real, honest human emotions, making for the best kind of television. Every good storyline is really just based on the interesting ways in which people interact with one another. And all of these interactions could technically happen in someone’s life. The likelihood has just been given a little bit of a harder push here by producers.
7. You feel empathy
If you were a person who didn’t get people, you wouldn’t enjoy reality TV. You wouldn’t be able to relate to what they felt or what they were doing, so you’d either go crazy watching all these idiots laugh and cry all the time or you’d just be bored. what watching reality TV says about you is you’re in tune with your emotions and a person with lots of empathy because you’re able to feel what the people on the screen might be feeling in these private moments and put yourself in their shoes, which is an important part of living life.
8. You know you’re not better than anyone
Lots of people find themselves inclined to look at people like the Kardashians and call them stupid or superficial, without really knowing much about who they are. All they have to do is watch them spending a while figuring out what to wear or hear Kim’s vocal fry (a sexist thing to look down on someone for BTW), and they’re immediately condescending to the whole show. But the Kardashians or the contestant of any reality TV show are just people who’ve been put on display. If you were recorded all the time, you’d be sure to say stupid things every once in a while too. It’s normal, and people who can’t hang with it are just too busy thinking they’re better. But what watching reality TV says about you is that you learned a long time ago that you’re not better than anyone else and you’ve got no room to judge.
9. You’re fully aware of your own humanity
That’s all it really is: watching people be human. Other than having cameras in their faces, all people do for the most part on reality TV is be people. If you want proof, look at the fact that at least twice a season, the bachelor or bachelorette has a total meltdown when things get too stressful. They’re exhausted by the drama and having to keep up with so many people. No one in that spotlight ever pretends that this dating scenario is normal. It’s extremely difficult and they’re honest about that the whole way through, showing they’re still normal people having natural emotions even if that brings certain aspects of the show to a halt so they can recover. And if you’re watching, it just shows that you’re aware of all those normal and natural feelings too. That just comes with being human.
(And all the crazy. We love it for that too. When you break it down what watching reality TV says about you is that you love the drama. Duh.)