As lockdown went on, boredom in its purest form started to set in and the standards of television that I had once adhered to fell. Even Netflix gave up on me; confirming that I had indeed watched everything on ‘My List,’ after which I came up with the genius idea to turn to reality shows.
Specifically, dating reality shows.
I was a snob before and used to once consider myself better than watching reality TV but lockdown showed me my true colours. Even I was not above enjoying humans make fools of themselves on national TV.
My initial reason for watching reality tv shows was, truthfully, they made me feel better. I watched people lie, cheat, scream and fight with each other as time and time again, they fell in ‘love’ with someone they had met a week ago and claimed they couldn’t live without.
Watching this drama play out on my screen made me feel better about my life choices; which at the moment feels stuck, staring at the same four walls for about a year, with everyday feeling like Groundhog Day.
However, as I kept getting through seasons and seasons of these shows, their “reality” started ruining my image of love and relationships. Each character or even caricature lied and cheated, causing another person’s heartbreak and the drama that once felt entertaining started depressing me.
Watching human beings be deliberately reckless, disrespectful, inconsiderate and hurtful towards other people, essentially seeing the worst of people being brought out on such shows, made me start losing faith in humanity.
I forgot for a while that the stereotypes that such shows want me to believe in, are not always true. Not every guy is a cheater who only cares about sex and not every girl is clingy and emotionally manipulative.
I realised that the concept of these shows, in itself, is faulty. The makers try to sell viewers like us on the idea of happy endings and perfect couples and then end up destroying those same “perfect couples” who we are supposed to root for just so they can climb up the rating charts.
At the end of each of these shows couples who win claiming “true love” fast-forwards a few months later and throw that same love back, replacing them with a new “true lover”.
Even though the days seem to have more hours than 24, I realised for my sanity I needed to respect my time more.
I have now decided that until there are reality shows which put more emphasis on finding actual love and not lust, where every guy does not have a six-pack and every girl does not look like a model, where not only straight people but anyone can find love with whomever they want, I plan to go back to watching what I consider more useful TV.
For instance, I have just started bingeing quiz shows, with ‘The Chase’ very quickly becoming quite a favourite in my household; making me feel not so bad about watching TV since I seem to be retaining some knowledge.
However, this is one person’s opinion and unlike me if you can continue watching reality shows without them ruining your idea of humanity, I say go for it! However, if you are anything like this author, a hopeless romantic albeit a true cynic, my suggestion would be to avoid at all costs.
Photo by Mollie Sivaram