5 Reality Shows That Are Really Just Human Suffering Disguised as Entertainment

In ancient times, Roman citizens engaged in entertainment that heavily drew on the pain and suffering of other people. Romans gathered with family and friends to watch as gladiators brutally fought each other to the death. Gladiators were awarded with praise and admiration if they managed to survive a battle against a hungry lion, bear, or wild boar. This innate desire to watch fellow humans suffer lives on today in the form of the modern reality show. Any avid reality show fan has been asked the question: “Why do you enjoy seeing other people fighting?”. Do not feel ashamed, reality show enthusiasts. Tell the naysayers that the Romans did it, and the Romans were cool. Then, explore my top five picks for reality shows that will serve your primal desire to watch other humans get hurt. 

  1. 1. The Bachelor/The Bachelorette  

    The Bachelor is probably the reality show most notorious for constant drama and fighting. The Bachelor revolves around a single man searching for his future wife among a large group of hopeful female contestants. Naturally, emotionally charged fights and verbal disputes constantly break out among the contestants. I mean, is there anything more painful than flying across the country and leaving your life behind just to get dumped by your boyfriend, who is also dating twenty other women? 

  2. 2. 90 Day Fiancé 

    A source of many humorous memes and discourse online, 90 Day Fiancé follows the lives of couples who have applied for a K-1 visa, which permits a ninety day stay for fiancés of U.S. citizens. As the visa expiration date draws nearer, the couples must decide if they are to get married or part separate ways. The concept seems innocent enough on paper, but as you watch, you realize you are essentially just seeing two people in desperate situations blatantly try to take advantage of each other. The U.S. participants are often just socially isolated men attempting to convince their fiancé that they have the means to support a lavish lifestyle, when in actuality, they are, respectfully, broke. The foreign fiancés are usually financially disadvantaged women looking for a place to crash in the U.S. What could go wrong?

  3. 3. My Strange Addiction 

    A show that unashamedly exploits the mental turmoil of its participants for entertainment, My Strange Addiction is certainly not a show for the faint of heart. It explores the lives of people who partake in unusual compulsive habits, like eating paint or obsessively wrapping oneself in full body casts. Some go as far as to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to maintain their habits. You are really just watching people ruin their lives on TV. 

  4. 4. Shark Tank

    Watch as financially depressed Americans attempt to navigate an economic system that was designed for them to fail in this Emmy Award-winning series. Entrepreneurs hoping to drive their businesses into success appear on Shark Tanktrying to land an investment deal from one or more of five “sharks”, wealthy business tycoons with valuable financial resources and high-profile connections. Granted, there are many business-minded individuals who appear on the show with a great idea that launches them into success, but others, such as the inventor of the “sticky note holder” and the man who created a pair of socks sold in threes, are not as fortunate. Contestants with “dud” ideas are often insulted and berated by several of the sharks and sent home realizing they’ve plunged themselves into immeasurable debt. 


  5. 5. Beyond Scared Straight

    Did you ever smoke weed as a teenager? If so, be grateful that your parents didn’t send you off to a night in prison followed around by TV cameras. Beyond Scared Straight documents the experiences of troubled teens enrolled in a “scared straight” program designed to alert them of the potential consequences of breaking the law. Participants spend a night in prison with inmates prompted to invoke as much fear into them as they can. Needless to say, it’s a difficult watch.