Reality TV is fine art, not guilty pleasure

Jillian Sinder, Staff Writer

Art by Ella Jiang.

I like reality TV. There, I said it. Maybe it’s hard to believe, and I know that because of the misconceptions surrounding reality TV you’re all expecting me to hide this part of myself deep inside, but I feel no guilt. And better yet, I know that half of the people who gasped while reading this also like reality TV and are just too afraid to admit it. But I’m here to tell you to embrace the fakeness of reality TV and truly enjoy it. It is a beautiful art form that uniquely reveals the true human condition just like all beautiful art should. 

Reality TV is not a museum of social deterioration, but rather a museum of fine art. No matter which shows you turn on, you are bound to find a rare, insider look into someone else’s life. It allows us to understand deep human emotions and walk a mile in Kim Kardashian’s designer heels. The best way for society to express our advanced art forms is to create television shows that display the lowest lows and the highest highs of the human condition. Reality TV boils life down to the very high-intensity, emotional moments that create the most relatable and honest art.

Fine art is defined as the highest standard of artistic expression made primarily to be aesthetically pleasing. This is reality TV. Nothing is more pleasing to the eye than mansions, yachts, and designer bags. Reality TV has one purpose: to be a pleasure, and some of the finest art has that one purpose too.

Some people think that the acting in reality TV makes it fake, and though this is correct, it is not a reason to skip over Bravo or Food Network when scrolling through the TV guide. It’s the falsity that makes it so appealing. 

Reality isn’t enough for me. I need more than what reality has to offer. But with reality TV, I can indulge in daydreams, pretend I live in a mansion, or travel the Mediterranean on a yacht. Thanks to Top Chef, I now practice cooking oatmeal in the mornings as if I worked in a five-star restaurant, and every time I walk through the hallways at school, I can imagine I’m in an episode of America’s Next Top Model. Once you come to realize that reality TV isn’t in fact real, you’ll be able to enjoy it a lot more. After all, housewife cat-fights are so much more interesting when you realize someone had to write out a script for them. You need to allow yourself to break free from the realist chains that keep you tied up in the physical world and enter into the fake paradise that is Bachelor in Paradise and Love Island

It’s additionally important to note that almost all TV shows are 100% acting anyway, and reality TV is no exception. If you take away the name, reality TV is the same as traditional television: people acting in order to get the desired audience reaction. If you think you don’t like reality TV but you find yourself watching Friends, you really should try The Real Housewives. It’s basically the same thing: real-life people pretending to like each other. 

People say that reality TV is a guilty pleasure, but this is simply false. It’s just a pleasure. I have no guilt in indulging in a weekly episode of The Bachelor or binge-watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, and you shouldn’t have guilt either. I have no shame in appreciating true art. 

If you are a fellow reality TV lover, don’t feel guilty. Don’t hide that part of you. You deserve to enjoy reality TV in all of its glory. Watch it on full volume, really listen to the intricacies of those family arguments on full blast. Try to learn something about the evolution of our society. Marvel at its glory as if you were walking through the Louvre. And call it what it really is: the finest of art.