Living vicariously through Reality TV

I try not to follow the trends if I don’t have to and I avoided reality TV for a number of years but unfortunately have since caved.

While I hated the Survivor craze when it first started, all it took was a few minutes of a mid-season episode of Survivor China and I was hooked – I have watched almost every episode since and am enjoying the current season of Survivor: Redemption Island.

But the addiction didn’t stop at Survivor; it extended to A&E’s Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force and Dog the Bounty Hunter, who repaid my loyalty to his show by stiffing me on an interview when I interned at Metro News Vancouver – unfortunately I still watch the show.

I didn’t really give much thought as to why I enjoy reality shows until Sunday night on Celebrity Apprentice when eccentric actor Gary Busey was fired – I started watching that show in the first season because I wanted to see KISS’ Gene Simmons get fired.

People have said that others enjoy watching reality TV because they enjoy seeing train wrecks, and Oscar-nominated actor Busey was definitely that during his stint on Donald Trump’s star-version of regular Apprentice – a reality show that I don’t watch.

Busey’s nonsensical analogies and strange behaviour are likely due to head injuries suffered from an accident but that didn’t stop musical stars Meatloaf, Lil Jon and John Rich from becoming enraged at his antics during various points of the season, thus far.

And that is one of the best parts of reality programs; the real-life moments and the raw emotion, not just in Celebrity Apprentice.

It happens when bounty hunters, U.S. Marshals or the police bust down the door of a safe house or hideout of a fugitive.

It happens when a person voted out of Survivor plays a hidden immunity idol and thus protecting him or herself from elimination and surprising the audience.

Some people like to live vicariously through others and that is a major reason why reality programming is so successful.

Not everyone in this world has the opportunity to live on an island with the chance to win $1 million, chase fugitives or work with Gary Busey.

– Karl Yu is Associate Editor of the Grand Forks Gazette