So I've become a reality TV junkie. I don't know when or why this has happened, and I'm a little surprised by it myself, but somehow it has happened. I used to be one of those people who would write off the advent of reality television as a fad, one that wasn't suited for my entertainment needs. There were a few exceptions of course, such as the Real World series in the early days of reality TV, but I did prefer original programming to reality television.
But then as some of the shows became more comical and unbelievably popular, such as Flavor Of Love, I Love New York, Real Housewives series, Celebrity Rehab & Fit Club, among many others, I found myself tuning in more and more. Initially, it was my guilty pleasure and I looked at each show with a side eye. But I now find myself tuning in and really enjoying (sometimes) some of these reality show "characters."
In the last year or so, I've noticed that a lot of the programming has moved from original dramas and comedies to reality shows anyway, which only increases my viewership and has fueled what has become an addiction. In the last season or so, many of the really popular original series that I loved have been canceled such as Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daisies etc. and have been replaced by shows that were also subsequently canceled---The Unusuals come to mind. As a result, I find myself losing interest in the original programming as I am afraid it will be canceled and instead watching what seems like a sure bet just to avoid disappointment.
With the Real Housewives series, a series of shows set in Orange County, New York, New Jersey and Atlanta, I found myself entertained from the first series (OC) and then continuing to watch the different versions of the series as they years have gone by. With the newest series, Atlanta and New Jersey, the Real Housewives series has become a franchise that has become must-see-TV as everyone is talking about it---including Anderson Cooper, which says a lot about its popularity.
In the hopes of following their popularity, Bravo has introduced even more reality shows in the past year or two, The Rachel Zoe Project, Flipping Out, Miami Social and New York Prep among others. VH1 and MTV and even BET have also increased their reality show programming. MTV knocked the ball out of the park with the Real World (now in its 22nd season) and of course, the now legendary Laguna Beach-Hills phenom. After RW New York (the 2nd one) and RW Vegas (with Irulan and crew), I kind of lost interest in the Real World, and I never got into the Hills. But I've enjoyed the Tiny & Toya series, the Celebrity Rehab series, Keyshia Cole and her family and many more.
The problem with the success of these shows is that there seems to be more shows created to take the place of these shows, so that as soon as one "season" ends, there is another show for a whole new "season" ready to step in. Add to this, the fact that the television seasons now include Mid-Season and a Summer season, and you have a whole lot of television there.
So I've decided to end my addiction somewhat. I'm pulling the plug and limiting the shows that I watch, period, not just the reality shows. It can take too much of my precious evenings away and I can't live vicariously through these people, no matter how fun it is.
It hasn't been easy as there have been even more reality shows that I've wanted to check out. And I've watched one or two episodes of the new shows, but I'm learning to be a lot more selective about my guilty pleasures. The good thing is there is so much of them now, I can pick and choose, which isn't so bad after all.