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Reality TV Shows That Help Me Forget My Problems

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

It’s no secret that I love reality TV. I’ve always loved reality TV—the “trashier” the show the better. Something about watching someone else’s life fall apart in 20 to 40 minutes makes me feel better about being behind in my classes, my sad romantic life, and whatever else is ailing me that week.

Watching television has always been an escape for me—I’ve always been able to place myself into whatever it is I’m watching on TV and live vicariously through the story being told or the drama unfolding before me. Because of this, reality TV has always been really easy for me to watch. There are no characters, no superpowers, no one is unrealistically smart or strong. I can put myself into the show as the person I am now without having to stretch my imagination too much. 

RuPaul’s Drag race

My first go-to show is RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’ve already spoken about RuPaul’s Drag Race many times in my articles, and I understand the problems with this show. They’re the same problems that come along with any reality T.V. show: The editors are constantly twisting and turning the queen’s words on over their heads to create fake drama to pull the audience in… Well, I’d be lying if I said this manipulation didn’t completely and utterly work on me. The relationships, the breakups, the hardship—I want it all!

As an English major, I am endlessly interested in the ever-changing English vernacular. The way that people speak English in Canada largely differs from the way people speak English in, say, Trinidad. And the way that people speak English in America differs greatly the moment you become a drag queen. Other than the interesting sociolinguistic analysis that I get to do every episode that I watch, I never truly get surprised when I watch the show.

Every single season of this show follows more or less the same outline, so I can always expect the same challenges for the queens to tackle and the same hoops that they have to jump through. For me, always consuming the same thing with slight variations in the flavour feels safe and easy. This is a show that I can put on while I cook, while I write, and while I draw. I don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on in the show because I’ve already seen the same thing played out time and time again in every season. I understand that a lot of people don’t necessarily enjoy the same thing over and over again on the television that they watch, but it’s something that I often find comfort in. 


The second reality TV show that I watch (more often than I would like to admit) is Masterchef. Something about all of the different food they prepare, the high tension, and the screaming at one another makes me feel good about myself. Even though I’ve never been put in a situation like the contestants on Masterchef continuously are, I feel as though I could single-handedly outcook every single contestant who has ever appeared on the show. Most of the new recipes I get are from this show, and I love getting to watch the process of all of the recipes unfolding!

Something about watching the competitors run into the gigantic and colourful pantry, collecting all of the ingredients, and telling the audience about what they plan on creating is highly entertaining. The actual creation process is what always interests me—it’s so satisfying for me to watch five to fifteen people creating full meals. And don’t even get me started when the meal they prepare isn’t up to Masterchef standards—pure comedy and sheer entertainment. Everything about a home chef not perfecting a three-Michelin-star recipe gives me enjoyment. The stress on the face of the contestant, the disgust on the face of the chef who inevitably perfected the recipe, the joy on the face of the contestants who have created a better dish. While the structure of each episode may be the same, the recipes are always different, and the stress that these people feel always feels different. This show makes me feel less stressed about what I have going on in my life because at least Gordon Ramsay hasn’t told me that my dish is inedible and disgusting. So, as far as I’m concerned, I am a Masterchef. 

The Great british bake off

The last show that I watch to get away from what I have going on in my life is The Great British Bake Off. This whole show is everything that I need to calm me down when I’m feeling stressed. The calm, relaxing British accents, the kindness that the contestants have for one another, the light history lesson that they give the viewers every episode—it’s all amazing. All of the stress I feel when I watch Masterchef completely dissipates when I watch The Great British Bake Off. Not only do I get to know what each episode will be about before I go in thanks to the brief but descriptive titles (for example, “bread week”) but also, the only thing that I have to worry about is my favourite contestant getting eliminated.

This show is also full of real baking tips that I use in my everyday cooking. In my opinion, the earlier seasons of this show are better as they feel so nostalgic and, somehow, calm. This is such a peaceful cooking show, and it will always be one of my favourites to put on when it’s raining outside and I’m in a cozy mood. This is such a safe show for me that has the power to put me in a very good mood. 

All of this is to say: I don’t care what people have to say about reality TV. I enjoy watching real people, representing real-life situations, in extreme circumstances. Television has always been a way for me to escape the stressors in my life. While I love to sit down, watch a movie and enter a fantastical world of scripted romance, drama, thriller, etc., it’s not always what I look for in entertainment. It’s much easier for me to shut my brain off when I’m watching reality TV. Because nothing is scripted, if you miss something that happened on screen, it’s not the end of the world. I never feel like I have to rewind the show to watch something that I’ve missed, so I get to split my attention in any way that I please and just enjoy the show. Reality TV creates the perfect escape for me, it might be able to help you too.

Eve Chamely

U Ottawa '23

I'm from a small town in southern Ontario, I love Romantic poetry and sustainability, a strange combination but trust me... it works. :)