Why do people watch reality TV shows?

Published 9:39 am Monday, September 21, 2015

I am hooked on a reality television show. “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” reality television shows were never on my list of “want to watch,” but I took a peek and now I am mesmerized by these shows. “Bachelor in Paradise,” which is on during the summer, also kept me glued to the screen. These shows air on the ABC network.

My interest started when Iowa native Chris Soules appeared on “The Bachelorette” last year. He was from a small community in Iowa, and I was interested in how a small-town boy would fare on a big-time television show. I had never watched the show before Chris Soule’s entrance to the ABC series.

For those who are not familiar with the series, the premise is “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” meet 13 — I think it’s 13, I don’t usually count — members of the opposite sex, and out of those candidates they are hoping to find the one person they want to spend the rest of their life with. They want to find the love of their life.

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At the point of watching the first show with Chris Soules it was a mild interest. He didn’t get chosen by The Bachelorette. I watched and wondered why anyone would want to be one of many competing for the same woman. Then, Chris Soules became The Bachelor and of course I had to watch to see if he found his true love. Small town boy finds true love in the big time city in front of millions of people.

I think it has to be the mystery writer in me that kept me watching, at least that is what I thought kept me watching. It was like my soap operas, and I had to tune in to the next episode to see what would happen. Along with that I was interested in the characters, their flaws, their motivation, still not understanding, especially when it was The Bachelor, why beautiful, seemingly intelligent women would put themselves in the position of watching someone they liked smooch and do other things with other women. Why would a woman wait in line for someone to notice them out of 12 or 13 other women and then getting down to the final three, waiting to see who he chose.

After watching one season of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” I found I became interested in the men and women as people, and I found myself liking many of them. I became curious of what would happen to them after these shows ended.

Keep in mind I am now officially a senior citizen, and I didn’t admit to those I know that I watch this series. I would get bashed for watching something so frivolous. In fact there was a time where I would get bashed because I love television. I decided I didn’t need to apologize to anyone for watching television because others thought I should be doing something better with my time. Many wonder why a senior citizen would get hooked on the ABC series.

I finally figured out why people watch this show, while watching “Bachelor in Paradise” this summer. Aside from all the drama that happens, no matter how old a person is, they still want Cinderella to find the perfect prince. I still want to believe in love and happily ever after. I still love a good love story and the happily-ever-after ending, and that is what the ABC Series does, it teases the happily-ever-after story. I watch because I want to believe in the love story.

We are sucked in to the love story, and we are sad when it doesn’t work out. Some of the relationships on these shows did end in marriage and happily ever after. Others didn’t last and broke up before the live after party.

Some of the people participating on the show really want to find love; others want to find fame. It wouldn’t be a popular television show without the very nice people and the scheming underhanded women or men who will do anything to win the affections of the person who is giving out the roses each week. Yes, roses are handed out each week to the ones chosen to continue on in the competition, and the ones who don’t get a rose get sent home. Again, the mystery writer in me wants to see who is chosen and the workings and manipulations behind it.

We live in a world where people who come from obscurity find fame and fortune because they were in a reality show. They didn’t have to win an academy award to become famous or star in a popular sitcom or television drama. They didn’t have to have a hit song or host a talk show or do anything other than compete or promote their personal life in front of millions of people. The only talent they had to have is to be themselves or pretend to be themselves.

I can’t argue with that because I watch “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” and now “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” series. I am a big fan of the farmer from Iowa, Chris Soules. He might rate right up there with my awe of Robert Redford, and look at the fame Redford has found over the years through his movies and other ventures.

Chris Soules fell in love and chose his lady, and it didn’t last. He has found some fame, and I predict he will find more because he seems to be a genuine person and hard worker. Who can deny fame to a nice guy who still hasn’t found the love of his life? But then what do I know about any of these reality stars because these reality shows seem to be about fantasy, and how real can a fantasy character be?


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com. Her Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/julie.