Why I Hate Reality TV

by Ken Mueller on July 1, 2010 · 7 comments

I hate reality television. I don’t watch any of them.

Two reasons:

First, I think they bring out the worst in us. In order to win any of them, you pretty much have to sell your soul. On shows like Survivor, it’s all about “me,” and you do whatever it takes to win, even if it means selling out your friends. In many ways Reality TV is least common denominator TV. On shows like American Idol, we tune in to see people like Simon Cowell ridicule the panelists and put them in their place. He’s the man we love to hate. And on those shows that follow individuals and families around, like Jon and Kate plus 8, well…we all know what happened there.

And we watch because…everyone likes to see a train wreck. We’re all rubberneckers…driving by and minding our own business, but we have to slow down and watch. We become voyeurs.

Secondly, I dislike reality shows because…well…they aren’t real! Every one of them is contrived. The moment we turn on the lights and camera, and offer people money, things change. We don’t act like ourselves…we act the way we THINK others want us to act. There are scripted elements, and then of course there is the editing. Lots and lots of editing. Because after all, the name of the game is ratings.

This is why I prefer Social Media. Facebook and Twitter are my reality shows. Real-time give and take with real people.

Oh, sure, there is filtering that goes on, and there are many aspects of our lives that we might not care to share with the world. But for my money, what happens in the world of Social Media is more real than anything on television. For most of us, we aren’t performing. We let our guard down and give our friends and acquaintances a peek into our lives.

And we can see through the facade. If people aren’t being real and transparent, we can tell. We know when they are wearing a mask.

Whether we are representing ourselves as individuals, or representing our businesses, Social Media works best when we are real.

So get real.


Other Side,

First off, I normally don't accept comments from folks who don't use a real name or real e-mail address. However, I don't watch reality TV. At all. And I don't expect them to go away, but that doesn't make them right.

And I don't know of anyone who says Social Media is the end all, cure all. Not even me!

Other side
Other side

Let's face as much as we all opine and whine about our disgust with reality shows, we've ALL watched them from time to time. We are all to some degree or another morbidly fascinated by that which differs from our -at times-status quo lives. These shows are making their producers and the networks that air them; money. Rant all you want, these shows will not go away any time soon.

Contrary to "popular" opinion, social media is NOT the end all, cure all.

Brad Sears
Brad Sears

Personally, I agree with you. But let's face it: Realty TV is all about maximizing return on investment - making the most money while paying-out the least. Contrived or not it works. Another sad commentary on our times.


I really really agree with you.

You must only think that since I get married, and before it, I never had a TV Because I' don't want it!
And I'm very relaxed at home, talking with others persons into home instead of forgetting them with eyes glued on tv.

Suzanne Vara
Suzanne Vara


I have to admit that I do watch a reality show or 2 but it is Biggest Loser and now Losing it with Jillian. I cannot help myself watching people transform their lives.

I agree with the train wreck syndrome. It is like we have to see what they are doing next when really it is so fake. The idea that people would become famous for their dysfunctional lives is nuts. The new found fame and to keep viewers and the paycheck rolling people are willing to do anything.

For the most part I think people are transparent in SM. There are limits on what we would put out there as it relates to our personal lives vs business lives but that is with anything.

Maybe social media will help get us away from the train wreck syndrome and be who we are and not what we need to do for ratings.



I agree, but I don't consider most of those of the shows reality TV. Considering they set them up in situations that wouldn't actually happen or have them go on trips they would never take.

Deadliest Catch is the only reality TV show that I consider to fit the genre.


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