People often ask me how can I watch reality filth day in and day out? As a law student I spend most of my day having my mind toyed with by the Socratic method. When I get home I need a break from thinking and reality TV provides that it! Even during my mindless moments, a few good life lessons managed to seep through. Yes, I learned valuable lessons from reality TV! Although I do not think that was the intention of many of these show creators, I was able to come away with ten things worth sharing!
1. All that Glitters is not Gold
No other reality show, illustrates this better than the Real Housewives. Pick any location (besides Beverly Hills) and there are glaring examples of this. These women are decked out in Gucci and Dolce. They drive Range Rovers and Porsches yet there are filing for bankruptcy or being evicted from the homes they rent. Come again? All that glittery exterior has left their bank accounts empty. Better yet they probably could not afford it to begin with. For me this is what makes these shows hilarious! Watching women, who want to be rich but really are not, work to put on a façade that they are, so that they can get on a TV show about rich women, and then really become rich is so entertaining.
2. Letting the world into your relationship is not a good idea
Some call this the curse of the reality show. No one knows this better than Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. After their very popular reality show Newlyweds the couple split. The problem here was the world was able to be a fly on their wall during their first year of marriage and as the world will do, they criticized. Letting the entire world into your relationship is probably not the best idea for a celebrity or even a regular Joe. Socially networking can be the devil, just like a reality show. We should be careful who we let in and more importantly keep some things private!
3. Money Can’t Buy You Class
Although she herself is guilty of many classless offenses, reality star Countess Luann said it best in her poorly sung song “Money Can’t Buy you Class”. I guess I assumed that wealthy women went around saying “darrrrlllinnggg” and blowing air kisses on both cheeks and just being all around classy. Well they do all of that but in reality it is a front! These shows were suppose to show us how the other have lives and make us envious but many times the shows have done the exact opposite. Clearly when some of these reality stars made their first million it was not accompanied with a book on etiquette! As a reality show connoisseur I have witnessed physical altercations, verbal death matches and all out cattiness by so-called rich and classy women. I have realized that rich and classy are not synonymous. For one, I cannot imagine to many “classy” women participating in a reality TV show. In the real world, these women are just like us…. maybe worse.
4. At 24 I am not ready to be a parent
Here recently I have been thoroughly entertained by the 16 and pregnant series and its spin off Teen Mom. For those of you under a rock, this show chronicles girls who become pregnant during their teenage years. From the “baby daddy drama” to just the financial aspects of raising a child at that age to struggling to continue their education, these young ladies deal with a lot! Clearly I am well beyond being in their predicament but this show illustrates the selflessness a person should have before they have a child. Some girls on the show step up and others do not. Watching this made me realize something about myself. I am just not willing to give up my freedom for diaper duty! I may have to wait until I can afford a full time nanny.
5. Reality Fades but dumb is forever!
I have to say I questioned whether I was on the right career path when I found out how much Jersey’s Shore’s Mike “The Situation” earned in 2010. He made $5 million dollars just for hanging out at the beach and coming up with new lingo like “grenades” and “DTF”, all while I’m wasting away in law school. After the cloud of envy disappeared I realized for the past few decades there have been many reality stars who rose to fame, made millions and are now appearing on a where are they now show. Heidi and Spencer come to mind. They blew all their money assuming that fickle America loved them enough to allow them to stay in the spotlight beyond fifteen minutes. Americans tire of the same gimmicks so quickly! Mike probably will not be able to raise his shirt to sell products in ten years. Forty-year-old abs just are not appealing. So with said I think I stick with my education, it seems a little more reliable.
6. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
Break ups are hard for anyone but I am sure it is a lot harder when your ex is cast in a reality show just because of your relationship. Shaunie O’Neal has received criticism for filling the cast of Basketball wives with women who like herself were no longer in relationships with basketball players. Can you imagine your ex being offered a reality show just because of your previous relationship with them? Yeah, neither could Dwight Howard. He went to great lengths to prevent baby mama Royce Reed from using her new platform to bash him. I can only imagine what Howard hoped to prevent her from saying, but in the end I think he made the right decision. Their participation in the show is fueled by their disdain for groupies and cheating mates. If their relationships ended peacefully I doubt they would have enough fuel to participate in this reality show. So remember guys, be careful how you treat women because one day she may enact her revenge in a very public manner like facebook, twitter, or if she is lucky enough a reality show!
7. Don’t make someone a priority if they will only make you an option
We have all heard this saying before but there is no greater example then Holly Madison from the Girls Next Door. The show documented her, and two other women’s relationship with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Despite these other two “options” Holly went on and on about getting married… to eight-year old Hef. I enjoyed the show but I did find myself giving Holly the side eye. She’s now living the life that she should have been living for the past five years and he recently became engaged to a young woman young enough to be his granddaughter. At eighty I am wondering if he can even make it down the aisle. Holly is of course pissed about the engagement but that is all on her! If he/she cannot make you their one and only then it is time to move on and fast!
8. Don’t believe everything you see!
Clearly every reality show is not completely based in reality. For me this is a small fact that does not take away from the entertainment value of the shows. Shows like the Hills would have been just as great as a scripted series. Even still I would be a fool to believe that everything I see played out in my favorite reality shows was not the result of some prodding and scripting. I use the same level of healthy skepticism in my every day life. My friends and family call me the google queen and with google literally at my fingertips with my iPhone I make sure to check any and everything. In the information age there is no reason not to!
9. Importance of Family
Whether you hate them or love them, you have to admit the Kardashians understand this better than anyone! Kim Kardashain skyrocketed to fame because of a little video featuring her and former boyfriend Ray-J. Not long after that she brought the rest of her family in on the fun with the start of Keeping up with Kardashians. Now every Kardashian is dabbling in something within the entertainment business. They even tried to get the youngest member of the family, 1 year old Mason, paid for appearing on their reality shows. Those who will admit to watching their reality shows (raises hand slowly) will tell you that there is usually a coming together family moment, scripted I am sure, at the end of each episode reminiscent of old school family sitcoms. Many attack them for being fame whores, which they of course are but I will say I like that they are fame whoring together and sharing the wealth!
10. Know yourself
At the end of a lot of reality shows they get together and have a “reunion show” where they go over all the drama from the season. There is always that one cast member who is shocked about how they were portrayed during the season. They generally blame it on editing, as if editing can put words in their mouths. Although I would never go on a reality show I think anyone who is considering opening their home to cameras should do some self-reflection because they may not like what they see. As for me, I realize I talk a lot (among other things) but I have embraced it! Some may find it annoying while others realize there will never be a quiet or dull moment with me. J Self-reflection is good for everyone! Take some time to get to know yourself and embrace it.