Why We Love Bad Reality TV


‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ Miller Mobley/E! Entertainment

After a long day grappling with AP Lang and Honors Spanish 3, all Milken junior Mika Chemerinski wants to do is unwind with Netflix’s Too Hot Too Handle, a popular dating show focused on self-growth and resisting sexual urges. Chemerinski enjoys watching stars Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey’s “insane love affair” throughout the whole season and she laughs when they  do stupid things that lose them thousands of dollars. Lana and the whole cast’s adventures make Mr. Marcus’s difficult AP Lang assignments fade into the background.


It is a popular method of de-stressing to throw yourself on the couch after a long day and watch TV. Some people don’t want to watch a TV show that requires major plot deconstruction, heavy understanding of the characters and past episodes and makes you really have to think in order to understand what’s going on. Instead, we opt for the cheesy, clichéd, romantic reality TV shows that we can watch without paying attention to the plot and just simply enjoy the cringe lines and attractive people. It’s embarrassing, but who hasn’t fallen into the wormhole that is Bad Reality TV Shows?


Reality TV has always been viewed negatively across all forms of social media; popular reality TV shows are torn apart on TikTok and Instagram for being cheesy and unbelievable. But we keep asking ourselves, how can they continue to make a profit if everyone keeps hating on bad TV? The answer is simple: Bad TV is universally regarded as a guilty pleasure. The profitability of bad television has completely transformed the way TV is produced today; TV producers intentionally make bad TV to appeal to a specific audience, that being women aged 18-34. 

The Cast of ‘The Bachelor’ Season 26 ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

Reality TV shows, in particular, have always prompted us to fall victim to hours of binge-watching “Bad TV.” There is something about the blatantly fake drama and storyline that just keeps us coming back for more. On The Bachelor, we fall in love with the outlandishness of the drama and “out of pocket” characters. We love it because it’s bad. It’s like driving past a car accident on the road. When we see women in screaming fights over a guy in The Bachelor, we can’t help but look. We know it’s awful, but we just can’t look away. There is a part of it that piques our interest, and keeps us looking. 


“We love reality TV shows because we can just poke fun of the shallow characters and stupid plot lines that usually make no sense,” says junior Lauren Lieberman. While the audience of reality television is primarily women, many men enjoy it as well, emphasizing the “guilty” of guilty pleasure. Jack Milkes 22’ said, “Not to fall into gender norms, but as a heterosexual male, it feels strange to watch a show about people falling in love in reality Tv which is normally viewed by middle-age women.” He brings up a good point. Reality Tv shows have always aimed at a specific demographic. Since I can remember, I would always see my mother on the couch, immersed in the latest episode of The Bachelor. As a result, many men who enjoy reality television feel strange about it, because it feels so feminine. 


Some shows in particular we are obsessed with are Too Hot Too Handle and The Bachelor. The Bachelor is centered around finding love in the short span of six drama-filled weeks. It entails love and an endless amount of love triangles, our personal favorite. 

Keeping Up With The Kardashians
NBC Universal

The premise of Too Hot Too Handle is to put a bunch of attractive mid-20-year-olds in a resort under the false pretense that they are going to be in a dating show. 24 hours into this “resort” they find out that a robot named “Lana” will be watching them and that they must resist sexual urges or risk losing thousands of dollars from the prize. 


The superficial nature of these television shows is what keeps us hooked.  But we love it because it’s bad. There is a part of it that’s so intriguing, that keeps us looking. We also feel guilty because a lot of reality TV feels incredibly superficial. We know these reality TV shows are not really about love but more so about looks. We don’t want to enjoy it because we know the values of it are not what we stand for. But you can’t blame us. It’s addicting watching people do stupid things we know we would never do in our real lives.


If you ever need some good shows to keep you busy and entertained, here are some of our favorite shows: Too Hot To Handle, Love Island, The Bachelor in Paradise, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and Project Runway. Happy bingeing!