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Reality TV Has No Reality In It
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
Englewood Cliffs , NJ
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dr. Patricia A. Farrell

Millions of people, we are told by the TV pundits and those who track viewership, watch trashy or reality TV every week.  Viewers, often, are absolutely drawn up into the stories, relate to the people, and yet while relating, they find it humorous.  Humor when someone is suffering in some way or being psychologically abused by a program, would seem to be something of which we are ashamed.  Yet, there doesn't appear to be any shame in this and, in fact, there is great joy.  If there were no joy or no enjoyment for whatever reason, the viewing audience would not be in the millions and these programs would go off the air.  Some programs, because of various unpleasant circumstances regarding the characters, have not been renewed and have fallen off the cliff.


What is reality TV?  Is it an escape for us, a comedic experience, or do we want to see that we are better off than these people in these programs?  Obviously, some of the programs show individuals who are extremely well-off in terms of their finances and yet we jump into their down-and dirty-world of their sexual peccadilloes.  Viewers love to see the cat fights, the women with all the money who throw champagne or wine into each other's faces or on their expensive dresses.  Is it a vicarious thrill for us that we would like to be the one throwing the wine?  For some, that probably is the case.  For others, it may bring up a sense of rage because of the entitlement of these people.


Watching a show if someone indicates a condo will rent for $65,000 a month, what would that do for us?  Does it make us feel envious?  Does it make us feel angry that they have that money and we don't?  Or does it make the realtor look unrealistic in what they are proposing?  Probably some of those answers will fit a number of people and no one answer answers it all.


Why do we laugh when people are embarrassed?  It makes us feel uncomfortable and we express this feeling not in one of concern or being upset, we turn it into humor.  Humor is much more acceptable to us than feelings of fear and, in some way, we're glad it's someone else and not us.


Reality TV does not portray common middle-class norms.  Most of the shows go to either extreme; those who are purportedly ultra rich with multiple divorces in their history, to those who are living on the edge or those who are seeking love in all the wrong places.  Producers of these shows gladly provide all those wrong places for the lovelorn and will tell people that they will find the perfect match if they sign up for the show.  One has to wonder what happens after the show and when most of the people walk away either after being rejected, hurt in some way, or made to feel like losers.  It is an extremely unpleasant circumstance and I don't believe that anyone who enters into the shows truly understands what they will be expected to do or what the outcome may be.


The money machine is rolling and whoever can make it roll more and collect more money will surely get a show.  Look at some of the titles that have been proposed where someone will meet and marry immediately another person that they do not know.  Look at the others where people are placed in incredibly dangerous situations.  What happens to the health and psychological well-being of people who roll around in the mud, naked, scrounging for any bit of food they can find and being bitten by all manner of insects.  Of course, this is not to mention the various diseases or parasites that they may pick up along the way and which will only become obvious in possibly months or years after the show.  Production companies come and go and once they've gone, try to find them for a lawsuit.  Chances are you will not be able to get any type of justice for whatever you believe happened as a result of the show.


Advice? Keep reality in its place and live your life rather than mimicking someone else's. 

Website: www.drfarrell.net

Author's page: http://amzn.to/2rVYB0J

Attribution of this material is appreciated.

Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Tenafly, NJ
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