As many of us turn to movies and television as a source of escape from the overwhelming events going on around us, finding the right mindless content can feel like a chore.
I’ve found that in the past few months, I have had a hard time grappling with the events of the world and then choosing to watch a movie that makes the audience question the existence of life. Instead, I’ve found myself knee deep in Disney movies, the magical world of Harry Potter and the holy grail of mindless TV itself: reality television.
In no means is reality TV there to inform the public on important issues, at least beyond Karen sleeping with Chad behind Jen’s back. The genre honestly should be called “Anti-Reality TV,” or “Actual People Living in FantasyLand TV.” However, reality TV provides a certain level of mindless escape from the crippling anxiety that living through a global pandemic, amongst all of society’s other plights, has brought upon 2020.
There is something enticing about being able to turn on a program and view it simply just to view it; not watching something to perfect your curated LetterBoxd profile or to become a connoisseur in every niche subject matter. In some ways, having 45 minutes of blissful ignorance serves as a form of self-care…. To shut out the rest of the world for a small minute and even have a laugh at how absurd the lifestyle many of these people live is.
If you like beautiful people who clearly live in their own world so far removed from actual life, reality TV is for you. It provides the laughs, the tears, the drama, sugar, spice and everything nice. Put down the newspaper, close out your email, pick up a bowl of popcorn and strap in your seatbelt for an episode or two — you’ll need it for the ride that these people take you on.
For dating and relationships, there are always the classics: “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Love Island.” These bring in dozens of beautiful men and women to live in a house and more or less compete for “eternal love”… as if it works like that, but nonetheless, they are more than entertaining.
Netflix has also released two dating reality shows over the past few months: "Love is Blind" and “Too Hot to Handle.” Both place the contestants in their own bubble, cut off from outside influence and feature completely ludicrous conditions; i.e. getting engaged to people you’ve never seen after three days or getting paid $1,000,000 to abstain from sexual activity for four weeks.
My personal favorites are the documentary style reality tv shows that follow the lives of a cast in their everyday lives. More specifically, “Vanderpump Rules,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and of course, the original stars of reality TV, the cast of “Jersey Shore.”
There are also travel, lifestyle, legal and more types of reality tv shows. Pretty much whatever you can think of, it’s probably out there. So while I’m not necessarily recommending that these types of shows should start winning Oscars for life-changing, outstanding performances, I think there are claps to be given for the brief recess from everyday life they can bring.