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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Reality television shows take over the airwaves

“The Osbornes'” Ozzie exercising to Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath my Wings.” “Survivor: Marquesas'” Maraamu tribe building a sweat as they pull their raft to shore, while teammate Sarah reclines on top as if she were Cleopatra and her teammates her servants. The love triangle between Steven, Trishelle and Frank on “The Real World.” How can you not love reality TV?

It all started out with years of “The Real World” and “Road Rules.” Then came the emergence of “Survivor” and “Temptation Island.” After a season of the two newly aired reality TV shows, no one thought reality TV would last any longer. But contraire: Today, we have a surfacing of over 20 reality TV shows, from FOX’s new “Joe Millionaire,” to “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” to “Fear Factor” and even “Trading Spaces.” Reality TV is here to stay and is growing, whether you like it or not.

You are probably reading this article, rolling your eyes, thinking, “Reality TV is trash,” but give me a chance to make my case. Sure, I agree that some of the ideas go a little too far and are sometimes trashy, but as years pass it is becoming more difficult to entertain our society. So, I have decided to challenge myself and fight for the opposing team: Why do we love reality TV?

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One reason: sheer entertainment. We watch these television shows because they provide us with laughter and emotions, or maybe because they make us feel our lives aren’t so bad after all. Personally, reality TV gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day after hours of classes, studying and working. Because I am not home all day, I can spend an hour watching TV while spending time with my roommates. Besides, what’s a better cure for laughter than to see 20 women of all different shapes and sizes fight over 20 dresses (“Joe Millionaire”) like predators catching their prey?

Another reason we love reality TV? We secretly learn a message and receive advice about relationships, friendships and/or love. The point of “Joe Millionaire” (besides completely humiliating these 20 women) is to find out whether the women are into Evan Marriott, who is not really a millionaire but a construction worker with a $19,000 yearly salary, for money or love.From watching only two episodes, the conclusion of which women are or aren’t in it entirely for money is pretty obvious.

Or, maybe a better lesson we learn is to never apply for a reality TV show unless we want to be the next victims on MTV’s “Girls Gone Wild” (which by the way will be holding casting calls for their spring break show at State Street Brats, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Why else? We can watch ordinary people become celebrities. A lot of those who are on MTV shows such as “The Real World” and “Road Rules” often receive chances to host other television shows, TRL, to appear at award ceremonies, etc. London native Will Young, the finalist in UK’s original “Pop Idol,” received three nominations for the upcoming 2003 Brit Awards for best pop act, best single and best British breakthrough act. And whether we like her or not, Kelly Clarkson has most definitely received the attention she desired.

And guys, when else do you see two girls making out with each other besides on reality TV? Those who aren’t aware of __________ become in tune with a completely different, alternative lifestyle, and it becomes not so different after all.

If so many people out there think reality TV is a piece of garbage, explain this: “Joe Millionaire’s” first episode, aired the evening of Monday, Jan. 6, racked up 18.6 million viewers — the biggest series debut FOX has seen in three years, not to mention that the reality-show-aided the network in surpassing ABC as the “most-watched television network.”

According to Nielsen’s Media Research, “Joe Millionaire” placed seventh on the list of most-watched television shows, following closely behind Friends, ER and the NFL playoffs.

ABC’s “The Bachelorette” placed 10th on Nielsen’s list and pulled in 17.4 million viewers for the first episode. “The Bachelorette’s” parent show, “The Bachelor,” hauled in more than 25.9 million viewers during its season finale.

But you know what? Perhaps the real reason we love reality TV shows is because there actually is no reality in them at all. There is nothing wrong with that. That is what makes them fun.

Over the next few months, many new reality TV series are to unfold, such as a 21st-century “Beverly Hillbillies,” “Green Acres” reality-style and “The Will.” However, the most interesting scheme I have heard yet so far is a show called “Married by America” which premiers in March. The show will cast a number of people who are tired of the dating scene and open to the idea of having a marriage arranged for them. After the singles are selected, the family and friends of each chosen single will interview contestants and pick their favorites. The catch: We, the viewers, call in on the last episode and vote for the singles’ best match, and the episode ends with a proposal between two single people who have never before met.

Is this going a little too far? Maybe. But I know that won’t keep me from sitting in front of the television with my Papa John’s cheese pizza and a bag of popcorn.

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