Real life is hard.
College is expensive, the economy is awful and cable news is constantly preaching the end of the world as we know it.
With that said, who can really blame anyone for wanting to escape all of that for a half an hour? Sure, the Kardashians may be shallow and famous for no reason. However, when all I’m hearing on CNN is bad news, Kim losing her diamond earring in the ocean for 10.5 seconds is a much easier catastrophe to stomach. That’s the kind of drama I want to have in my life.
Reality TV has been one of my sick addictions for some time now. I recently fell into the death trap that is the Jersey Shore and The Real World has been like comfort food since I was in middle school. My TV doesn’t really leave the boundaries of E! and Bravo most evenings and I will defend these awful programs to the death, and I have a good reason to.
Watching reality TV is a break from all the real reality out there, not an excuse to completely ignore it. When I watch the Jersey Shore I get to watch other people screw their lives up while I laugh from the safety of my couch. Sure, the drama isn’t real. Everyone needs a little fluff in their lives.
These shows are a safety net for all of the decent citizens of America. We can’t all be fashion designers, celebrity publicists, Vogue interns or paid partiers. We can, however, feel like we are as they spout off the dramatic happenings of their parallel universe. The people who get hurt by the on-screen drama are also very well compensated for their grief, unlike the peons of non-famous society.
Finally, reality TV is a self-esteem booster. It may promote narcissism in its stars, but so does Facebook.
When you watch The Real World, you realize how normal and uncomplicated your life is, since you aren’t the one throwing up on national television. You are smart enough not to punch mirrors and shove cash in a waiter’s mouth. You are safe at home watching that ‘star’ get arrested for disorderly conduct for the fourth time this season. You did not give yourself a concussion by slamming your head into a concrete wall.
Hopefully, you are watching these situations and realizing that these people are making fools of themselves. In comparison, the viewer can see the good choices they make as laudable, even if they aren’t as fun.
The trick to being a functioning member of society as well as a pseudo-reality addict is simple.
Turn it off.
Make balance a priority in your life. There is nothing wrong with a guilty pleasure so long as it doesn’t become your only pleasure. Most on-campus organizations only require an hour a week for a meeting. That’s two episodes of Keeping Up With the Karhashians. Since E! plays it on loop, you can still catch up on them after you build your resume. I lead a very full life and still enjoy my Rachel Zoe Project when I get home, and so can you.