Why are so many teens fascinated by the reality television phenomenon?

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Although more than half of the survey participants did not watch reality TV shows on a regular basis, more than 85% admitted to having watched a reality TV show before. What is the root of this fascination?

The next question I posed provides some of the participants’ answers to this question:

  • It’s an escape to a world we don’t live in, but a world that still exists. Also, to laugh at the stupid people on camera.
  • Because they have the impression (though its is false) that it is actually “real” which makes them feel a greater connection and therefore more pleasure/entertainment out of watching these shows ..?
  • entertainment
  • no idea
  • cause its awesome
  • Because it’s entertaining
  • People feel they can relate to reality television -In a way, reality TV = more dramatic version of their lives. -If somebody gets burned on reality TV, people feel good sometimes, because it’s not happening to them.
  • Even if people do not watch Reality TV it is now some what hard to avoid. However, I believe most people just watch reality TV as if they would watch any other genre of television. They watch it for pure entertainment, but it just happens to be that the show they are watching is someones actual life. These “reality stars” lives have plots like a soap opera, just no writer has written the script and the viewer never really knows what that person will do next. So in a way reality TV is edgier because its real and isn’t just ones persons imagination. Reality TV is more fascinating because the “characters” problems, habits, stunts, drama etc. is all real and regular people fiend observing other members of society. So I believe more people watch reality TV because the drama in reality TV shows are more realistic and relatable, therefore the viewers are able to experience more empathy and actual form a bond with these real people which ultimately draws them more in & gets viewers more hooked!
  • it’s funny
  • it’s entertaining
  • Funny
  • They like to think that the lifestyle is achievable & it is desirable! They like the excitement & wish it was them. They live vicariously through the characters.
  • In some cases it can be funny because it is such a polar opposite to reality i.e jersey shore. In other cases it can provide people with a life better than theres (for lack of a better definition). It might be appealing for people to look at a life of luxury especially in the modern materialistic society we live in.
  • Entertainment 🙂

From these responses I am able to come to a conclusion regarding why people find fascination in reality television. Not only do they watch it solely for entertainment purposes, but many people watch it because it is such a “polar opposite to reality” such as Jersey Shore, or The Hills. Sometimes it can be appealing to get a glimpse into a life of luxury, especially in the “materialistic” society that we live in. Reality television is everywhere, and people find fascination in the lives of the cast of these shows because they are so different from the lives that they currently live.

Click here for an article with interesting thoughts regarding why we watch reality television.