There are a few things I like about reality shows. It's nice to see a different reality than the one that I'm currently in. Not that I don't like my life; I do, mostly, but there's not nearly as much adventure and excitement as in your standard reality show. When's the last time I was required to bungee jump off a bridge, for example, or rappel down the side of a building? Never, that's when! Not that I particularly want to do those things, but my point is that my life doesn't require a lot of adrenaline for me.
I love watching people using their talents in an extreme way. I've watched American Idol, but my favorite talent reality show is So You Think You Can Dance, mostly because I've always wanted to be able to dance. These are some gifted people, and I love watching them use their talents. I'm not so crazy about them being scorned by judges for not doing well enough, but at least on SYTYCD they aren't quite as brutal as Simon can be.
I think by far my favorite part of reality shows is the competition factor. I love contests of skill and could probably get emotionally involved in a snail race if there was money for the winner. There is something about seeing people's true colors come out when the pressure's on that is really telling about their personality. Nowhere is that more apparent than on my favorite reality show, The Amazing Race. These are the ultimate regular people - they don't need to have an iron will (and stomach) like the Fear Factor contestants, or ruthless ambition and a need to dominate like Survivorites. Amazing Racers are just people who think it would be fun to do crazy challenges while they travel around the world. The excitement on their faces when they find out where they are going next is the closest to kinship that I'll ever feel with a reality show contestant.
But it's the other behavior of those contestants that keeps me from being on that show. When the chips are down, some of those people get ugly with a capital ug. I've told Ryan that there's no way I'd subject my marriage to that kind of laboratory experiment - some couples end up completely falling apart and while I'd like to think that we'd be mature enough to handle the stresses of the game, I would never take the chance of putting our worst arguments on national television.
Here is a list of reality shows that I've enjoyed:
The Biggest Loser
The Amazing Race
The Next Food Network Star
The Next Iron Chef (can you tell, I really like cooking reality shows?)
So You Think You Can Dance
The Apprentice, in the early seasons
Most of these shows is pure fluff, nothing but entertainment, but every so often I learn something. Like the other day I was at the gym and struggling to run longer than I have before. I could hear Jillian (from the Biggest Loser) screaming at me to keep going, and while in person I would have hated being yelled at, being yelled at by a voice in my head was somehow motivating, and I ran for a whole mile. (I know, that's nothing to get excited about, but I don't know that I've ever run a mile before.) And the cooking shows motivate me to try new techniques in the kitchen, and learn how to chop onions faster.
So, judge me if you will, America, for my love of reality shows. But if you're going to judge me, make sure you call and place your vote for me, Emily, as The Next Big Reality Show Lover!