My Reality TV Obsession

"Vanderpump Rules" is a reality hit that I never seem to miss for its level of drama.

UNITED STATES—I shouldn’t be obsessed with reality television, but for some odd reason it seems piercing into the lives of complete strangers with the thought that what I’m seeing is somewhat ‘real.’ Yes, I use the term ‘real’ loosely because is reality television composed of the absolute truth.

For example, one of my guiltiest pleasures at the moment is the Bravo hit series “Vanderpump Rules.” It’s just one of those shows that hooks, with the lavish and not so lavish lifestyles of employees at Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant Sur in West Hollywood.

These kids, as they are loosely called, most are actually in their 30s, navigate their lives around the workplace. It’s somewhat baffling because most people wouldn’t dare spend most of their off-time with those who they work with. Heck you already have to see them 8-10 hours a day, five days a week. Why spend anymore time with them?

The factoid of most reality television is drama. When I say drama, I’m not referring to actual fighting. I mean let’s face it; no one really wants to see that level of behavior depicted on television. It’s a bit disgusting to say the least. This might explain why VH1 has tamed many of its reality shows which were riddled with chaotic levels of violence. So much to the point that viewers started to complain about it! Yeah, that’s a first.

This notion of drama goes back to confrontations, secrets being exposed and the truth being at the front and center of most of those confrontations. Many of these reality shows tend to relish on the factoid that a secret starts at the beginning of the season and drags until the season finale where the entire truth explodes in the faces of the cast. Sometimes as viewers we are well aware of what that secret is, we’re just waiting for the rest of the cast to discover it. The one problem that lingers with most of these reality shows is nothing occurs in real-time. What precisely does that mean? It means the show is taped in advance, and carries out events that took place months before. So sometimes leaks do take place in the reality show well in advance of its airing because the audience has seen the leaks over the Internet or read about them in the media.

Nearly 15 years ago, the notion of reality television was something that we never even heard of; nowadays reality television has dominated almost all of the major networks, not to mention most cable networks as well. I will argue when you watch HBO, Showtime and the rest of those premium channels, reality television is something you won’t see, scripted television yes, fake TV as many would like to call it no.

So precisely why is reality television such a boom? It’s cheap to produce, not to mention the fact that if you bring the right level of originality than you can have a major hit like MTV with “Jersey Shore.” Yes, that was a series that I watched without missing an episode. Perhaps the greatest triumph for a reality show compared to a scripted series is rarely to you see REPEATS.

Yep, that’s right for 8-12 episodes you get new drama each week. They rarely take those hiatus breaks that many of the network series takes. Note: that is something that can easily take an interested TV lover away from a show. I mean if it disappears for like 2 months, you tend to find something to fill that gap and before you know it you’ve completely forgotten about that series that you ‘loved.’ Reality television in a weird sense knows how to keep bringing the audience back week after the week without complicating things, hence, my obsession.