The Psychology of Reality Television
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The Psychology of Reality Television

The Psychology of Reality Television

Millions of viewers tune in every week to watch Kim Kardashian and her family take over the small screen. Nowadays, the Kardashian brand has branched out from sex tapes and television to our smart phones and closets. Why are we so interested in what this otherwise talentless and boring family?

Reality television shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashian's and The Real Housewives are the modern day soap opera. We watch reality television how our parents watched Days Of Our Lives. The reality of reality television is it is not much different from a soap opera. There may not be a script, but there is a producer saying things such as, "Kourtney, I want you to tell Scott you might be pregnant and Scott, I want you to get really mad about it and stay in a hotel for the night... and action!" 

Reality television is also a lot like an improv show. The actors are given a scene and then act it out in the most entertaining way they possibly can. Reality stars should be considered actors because the line between reality and acting is very blurry. Many reality television stars appear on Watch What Happens Live! hosted by Bravo TV's Vice President of Development and Talent, Andy Cohen. Some stars reveal just how set up their reality shows are by saying things like, "they are not the same person you see on TV." Some stars even reveal that people they have a feud with on television is their friend in "real" life. But we don't watch these shows to see two women getting along, we watch to see hair being pulled and tables being flipped over. 

Some reality stars such as Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from the short-lived popular reality television series The Jersey Shore seemed to go through an identity crisis when he checked himself into rehab for drug issues probably steming from the frequent alcohol abuse seen on the reality show. Sorrentino also said that he abused painkillers during his time on the show because he thought it gave him more energy. Sorrentino let the influences from the television show effect his real life in such a way that he basically became the "character" seen on the show. 

While you are sitting in front of your television living vicariously through Lauren Conrad, remember that what you are watching is probably a completely contrived scene at a club or restaurant that the "stars" normally would not go to but have to because that is where the production instructed them to go. I wish there was a class taught about the psychology of reality television because we could probably learn a lot about what it does to the people who are on it and the people watching it. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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