Reality entertainment has become more popular than ever. Earlier there were fewer options of reality TV like the classic Britain’s Got Talent, MasterChef and MinuteToWinIt. However now, that range has quadrupled in the span of a few years, from Keeping up with the Kardasians, Shark Tank, Survivor and a host more. What Reality TV shows us is how the lives of a select few have been ‘transformed’ so as to speak by performing silly tricks, skillful manipulation of a craft, or by fame, borne of our desperation for some kind of drama.
It makes us envy people, root for people, hate people and sends us down a visceral but very tangible emotional roller coaster ride. If one were to introspect, then they would come face to face with a potentially troubling truth; that Reality TV is the absolute opposite of its name. It is Pseudo reality, which temporarily pleases us but causes long term debilitating effects upon most. Therefore, I would think that it is Harmful, if viewed with the kind of obsessed intensity it is viewed with now.
The fact that these shows are viewed with such borderline obedient regularity points at the fact that we are somehow exceedingly unhappy in our job or relationship or with our success in the world. This is the reason we turn to these sources of entertainment to provide us with some excitement in our seemingly unextraordinary lives. Granted these shows provide us a temporary high, but after that, the world around us, our ‘true reality’ seems so much more mundane and boring. Our lives painfully uneventful when juxtaposed against those who live more exciting lives by virtue of their entry into some reality TV show.
The cold truth is that very few of us may gain entry into the blitzy and glitzy world of reality TV. Most of us may live simple ordinary lives. However that does not mean that our lives are not without meaning, we will all have our small victories, happiness’s and joys. It may not be on a fabulously large scale, you may never have a show broadcasting all the events in your life but that okay. Those moments are just as important and you are in the vast majority of humanity. Even the renowned painter Vermeer, shows that there is something immensely honorable and noble about doing the chores or getting your children ready for school, though those event may never be in the spotlight. This is why he chose to paint instances from everyday live like a Milkmaid or children playing games on the roadside or someone making lace.
If it is reconciled in an individual that their lot is good as it is and enough as it is, they will still be able to watch Reality TV and not be so strongly affected by it. The shows will now be viewed with awareness and therefore detachment.
In conclusion, Reality TV can be harmful as it plays on our desires to live more exciting lives, however, though Reality TV may never change, like Vermeer, we can still be content with that which is perfectly and beautifully ordinary.