Why Can’t I Stop Watching Reality TV?

I remember a time when I’d have been super disappointed in myself for the amount of reality TV I’ve started to watch. I was always in the “reality TV is trash” camp and rolled my eyes at the idea of watching Big Brother. 

Reality TV was, to me, defined by shows like Big Brother where you chucked a bunch of people in an environment and watched them slowly hate each other, or shows where you followed a group of people round as they followed tenuous story lines. For some reason, I don’t count shows like Gogglebox, First Dates or RuPaul’s Drag Race in this list despite them definitely being reality TV but heyho.

Over the past few years I’ve found myself watching all of the following:

  • Big Brother (I started this on a CBB season and my one lasting memory of it is Verne Troyer stubbornly determined to open a door by himself and failing at it)
  • TOWIE (I got invested in this back in the Mark Wright/Lauren Goodger days and watched it for a good few seasons after)
  • Made In Chelsea (I swear this used to be amazing but I’ve forced myself to watch the last few seasons despite being desperately bored the entire time. Bring back Spencer Matthews just to fuck things up a bit)
  • Geordie Shore (this one I’ve always watched with a mixture of glee and horror, like most of the above it was only good in the beginning when you had the likes of Vicki Pattison in to make a quip before bashing someone in with their shoe – watching Chloe throw up in a pile of chicken nuggets isn’t quite the same)
  • Love Island (for the first time this year – I thought I’d watch the first episode “just to see” and watched it every night for it’s 6-7 week run. oops)

I’ve all but made my peace with my viewing habits now, too. But I keep questioning what it is about it that holds my attention? I think it’s because I don’t have to concentrate – it’s a time when I can switch my brain off and have a good laugh at other people’s expense rather than over-analyse every prop in the background like I do with Twin Peaks.

So then where’s the need to switch my brain off come from? I suppose when I was in uni, I had quite a lot of free time to switch off and do what I liked, but now I’m working full time, and writing a book, and occasionally taking on courses, and planning a wedding, it can be hard to get out of my head and switch off – which is when these poor souls and their story lines come in useful!

Either way, it’s become one of my top ways to switch off nowadays – I already know that one of my resolutions for next year is going to be to try and shift the balance back to reading being my main way of switching off!

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