Reality Television: The Ever-Expanding Genre


Lisa Alioto

24 October 2020 32 comments

It all seemed to start with MTV’s Real Life television show where we followed the lives of a handful of young adults.  Now we are inundated with reality competition shows of every kind, peeks into the lives of celebrities, and more.  What’s the fascination?  Why do we find ourselves pulled to these kinds of shows more and more?

Competition Shows

As you may have noticed the number of reality competition shows is increasing at a great rate.  There are human “survival,” baking, fashion, fitness, and even body painting reality shows.   The list is nearly endless.

For some reason (guilty as charged), we find ourselves drawn to these slices of human nature that may or may not represent our interests.  We get drawn into the carefully chosen personalities on the show and our competitive nature comes out in full force.  We often choose a winner early on and watch them proceed through the contest.

“Improvement” Based Shows

This category of shows is broad and also every expanding.  You have your hotel, home, restaurant, and retail improvement shows.  They highlight what is going wrong with a place and show us how to make it better.  I can often see the fascination with these shows as it’s a great way for us to learn to improve our own spaces. But it goes beyond that, for whatever reason we are enthralled in watching the mishaps and wins on these shows.

“Real Life” Shows

We haven’t seem to have left behind our fascination of watching the real lives of people in action.  Often times now though this is based on famous people, or people that become famous from these shows.  We see their good sides, bad sides, and really all sides of what their life is like. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that the rich and famous have much of the same ups an downs we face daily.

What is our Fascination with all this?

I think that at times we just like to see unscripted life in action – no matter what the topic is.  Sometimes it’s to learn (“improvement shows”), other times to feel better about our own lives (“real life” shows) and other times just for fun (“competition” shows).  We love to see an underdog come out on top!

I don’t see this fascination ending anytime soon.  In fact, I can easily see all areas of this genre expanding into new topics as the ratings for these shows continue to rise.

What’s your take on Reality Shows?

Do you watch them?  If you do, what draws you to them?  Do you have a favorite type?

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32 thoughts on “Reality Television: The Ever-Expanding Genre

  1. I don’t tend to do Reality shows I mean some are good, but ones like Love Island or TOWIE I don’t watch them, there not my cup of tea. I’ll happily watch talent shows or I’m a Celeb, but I’m a bit picky hahah

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I hear you – there’s no way you could watch even close to all of them. We each have our favorite genres within this genre!

    2. I don’t really care for reality TV, but the ones I hate the most are one alike Big Brother and Love Island. They are the worst of the worst and make celebrities out of some of the worse kinds of people

      1. Lisa Alioto

        Thanks for stopping by and commenting Unwanted Life! Appreciate your comments!

  2. Charity says:

    Lol I love to watch reality TV shows! It’s just kinda mind numbing and gives me a break to relax after a busy or stressful day! It’s one of my guilty pleasures.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Charity I feel the same way – it’s an “easy” watch after a long day!

  3. I am not into watching reality tv show. But some South Korean reality tv shows are interesting to watch. It also helps me to get to know my favourite celebrities better.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Yes, I’ve watched it for that too Fadima – to get to know my favorite celebrities on a more personal level.! 🙂

  4. I love all of the house improvement shows. But I could never get into any show where the people are causing all kinds of drama or they are trying to find love with someone who is dating all kinds of other people at the same time. Neither of those concepts has any appeal to me.

  5. Lisa Alioto

    I love the home improvement – esp. the renovation shows too!

  6. I watch selected reality shows. I mean you can’t avoid them, this is the norm in this era. I usually watch cooking competitions and about personal development – making people’s lives happy and better.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Me too Vinn – I watch a good variety of these types of shows too.

  7. I used to watch all manner of reality shows years ago, like Big Brother, but not so much in recent times. I guess another type of reality show could be on YouTube with people’s everyday vlogs. Definitely really easy to get sucked into watching, and perfect for just having something on in the background while you do other things.

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Exactly – it can be “easy” television at times Aimsy. Good background noise and entertainment at times!

  8. We watch home improvement and cooking reality shows but things like TOWIE, MIC, Love Island are a no-no, the participants are too annoying!

    1. I hear you Lisa – there’s a fine line between good and bad reality telelvision! 🙂

  9. I’m not really into reality shows to be honest, unless you count Forensic Files! Sometimes, if it’s on at a hotel, I’ll watch House Hunters or something but it’s not my top pick. I prefer darker crime shows.

    1. I like crime shows as well Jen – there mystery in them is intriguing!

  10. When I was younger I used to love reality shows, but as I’ve gotten a little older I don’t watch them as often. I am partial to a little bit of Love Island though, but that’s about as far as I get these days.

  11. Lisa Alioto

    I watched Love Island as well – wasn’t my favorite but yet I couldn’t pull myself away!

  12. I’m not a fan at all. I did used to sit with my partner and watch some like X factor and I’m a celeb…. they do hook you in, but it’s not something I’d ever choose to watch.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thanks for sharing Adam – I completely understand your viewpoint (even though I don’t have that much willpower myself :-))

  13. I don’t really watch many reality shows but this was such an interesting post!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Sophie Lou – thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  14. I don’t watch any reality tv shows tbh. I used to watch a few but I always got bored! They’re not for me but I can understand the appeal x

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I, guiltily, am hooked on way to many. I wish I was more along the spectrum toward where you are Jenny!

  15. I hate to admit it but I love some reality show, it’s a great entertainment on boring days for me. I don’t keep up with every single one though, it has to be one that catches my attention and isn’t necessary drama for views. Great post!

    xoxo Olivia |

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thanks Olivia – I’m the same. There’s a few I’m drawn to and many that I am not.

  16. Reality TV is my guilty pleasure I’ll admit. Although I know the majority of it isn’t reality and is scripted, there is just something about it that makes it almost addictive in a way.


    1. Lisa Alioto

      I hear you Holly – I feel the same!

  17. I used to watch reality shows but now I tend to watch fiction haha. Through time everything improved for sure!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I hear you – I used to watch a lot more reality television but over time I have tapered down.

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