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The Altered Reality of Reality TV

As an avid reality TV watcher, I like to think I have a good knowledge of the dos and don’ts of watching reality TV shows. Reality TV has quite a reputation of being “lousy” or “trashy” TV, but if you follow these tips, you can get the best experience out of these truly entertaining shows.


1. DO pick a show to match your interest

There are so many different shows to choose from, so pick one that relates to your interests. If you like cooking, try Hell’s Kitchen or MasterChef. If you enjoy dancing, watch Dance Moms or Dancing with the Stars. If fashion is your thing, watch Project Runway or America’s Next Top Model. If you are adventurous, watch Survivor or The Amazing Race. And if you are a middle-aged mom stuck in a college girl’s body (like I am), try any show on Bravo.

2. DON’T take it too seriously

According to the Oxford Dictionary, reality TV is defined as a “television program in which real people are continuously filmed, designed to be entertaining rather than informative.” Just as the definition states, it is intended to be just for fun and not for learning purposes. However, even though it isn’t intended to be informative, that doesn’t mean you might not actually learn something. According to Business Insider, shows like Shark Tank and Undercover Boss can actually help better further your knowledge of business and finance. Remember, TV is meant for entertainment, so sit back, relax and just have fun!

3. DO watch with friends

Most activities are more enjoyable with company. Reality shows are even more fun to watch when you’re around people, so grab your favorite friends, remote, popcorn and start watching! Even if you and your friends have super busy schedules, maybe take one night out of the week to sit down together and watch your favorite show.

4. DON’T believe everything you see

As heartbreaking as it may seem, most reality TV shows are scripted and fake. Through Hollywood investigators, rumors can surface debunking some of the most famous reality TV shows. For example, Dance Moms is one of the fakest television shows on the air. In its earlier seasons, the show was filmed in my hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (later being filmed in Los Angeles, California). One of my friends, along with her dance studio, was asked to participate in one of their phony competitions.

“The producers made all the other studios line up to make a tunnel for them to enter the competition and it was a huge ordeal. Then they staged two fights between the moms and had their dancers dance twice to get the best shots. At real competitions, you get only one chance to dance” said Courtney Misterka, a local dancer for Dana’s Dance Dimensions who was asked to perform in the fake competition.

With all of these tips and tricks, you watch reality shows with all the information you need. Just remember to use the term “reality” lightly because in the end all TV shows are meant for entertainment.

Sierra Powers is a sophomore public relations major with a double minor in event planning and interactive design for media. In addition to Her Campus, she loves dancing on the WVU Hip Hop Dance Team and obsessing over her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. And she is a huge reality TV and Diet Dr. Pepper enthusiast. She can't wait to write about entertainment, fitness, and more!
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