Why we love to hate reality TV shows

Most of us moan about reality TV shows, saying there are too many of them and they are cringeworthy. However, are we all telling the truth because the ratings seem to suggest otherwise. We might complain and embark on a flustered channel hopping exercise with the remote control whenever one comes on, but are we irresistibly drawn in and end up watching anyway?

There is a general consensus that reality TV is trashy and somewhat beneath us but truthfully, we love it. Before appearing on I’m A Celebrity, both Michael Buerk and Edwina Curry admitted to being very uppity when it came to reality TV, but both enjoyed the time of their lives on the show and helped their career a little too.

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And it seems we can’t get enough of the brilliant Apprentice and X Factor, both running for many series over the years and still attracting millions of viewers. Strictly Come Dancing seems to go from strength to strength, topping the ratings with a whopping 9.2 million viewers. The statistics don’t match our criticisms. Don’t miss your favourite shows and consider contacting Bristol TV aerial installation if you’re experiencing problems.

It’s too easy to say that true talent wouldn’t get through the stages but that is to miss the point. Shows like these are pure light entertainment and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The X Factor is no more trying to find the next Madonna than the Apprentice is trying to uncover the next Richard Branson. The shows are really about the anticipation, the human story, the silliness, intrigue and drama. The shows are as successful as Disney films because the whole family can enjoy them together.

The shows are designed to have something to entertain both a teenager and a grandparent, so it’s not difficult to see why so many of us settle down on a weekend evening to engage in a little light-hearted family entertainment. We know it’s not as culturally high-class as visiting an art gallery or opera, so it becomes a guilty pleasure. It is still a pleasure though, even if viewed by many as the lower end of the TV market.

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This form of TV was not always so lambasted. In the beginning, it was seen as a form of documentary. The first was a show called Seven Up which was broadcast several decades ago about fourteen children and where they would be in the year 2000.

This programme was a glimpse at the real lives of British families and aired a follow-up in 2012 with the children all now middle aged. The Family was another show that was seen as cutting edge and pioneering at the time, taking a look at the warts-and-all experiences of family life.

These shows no longer feel intimate or intrusive but seem a very familiar format to us now, offering a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into normal family existence that now seems quite unremarkable.

We can moan all we like but these shows wouldn’t continue to be made if there was no demand for them. Secretly, the  British public are fascinated and attracted to real-life entertainment.