The Reality in Reality TV

I’ll admit it – I don’t watch reality TV. When I do watch TV, it’s scripted dramas like Mad Men and The Newsroom or teenage melodramas like Glee and Gossip Girl (I WILL make it to the end of the latter, even if its best days are over!) or comedies both S and I find funny like SNL and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That’s it. But if i’m alone, and mindlessly cleaning or putting my laundry away…I’ll drop by E! and see how the Kardashians are doing (because, let’s be honest, they’re always on).

For some reason, I find that family absolutely fascinating. To want to have everything documented. To basically create a life for TV. Of course the show isn’t extremely interesting, and most of the drama is self-provoked, but still. I’ll watch it every now and then. And I can see why it’s easy for younger girls to look up to them. They’re famous! They’re rich! They have hair Helen of Troy would envy! And I see why people mock them because, aside from owning a clothing store and Sears clothing line and occasionally modeling, they don’t do much.

But what I find really fascinating is when the magic of TV can’t fix everything. When the “reality” in “reality television” comes into play.

The season finale juxtaposed the birth of Kourtney’s second child, daughter Penelope, with Khloe’s inability to conceive a child. If this was a normal TV show, there would be an epilogue where Khloe pulls out a positive pregnancy test and everyone would cheer. But it isn’t. Something like that can’t be scripted. So the show ends with her on fertility treatments, and the blind hope that they’ll work. And still, today, she’s without a child.

And that’s what I find so incredibly fascinating. That even though you’re privileged, some things still can’t be changed. That wealth and celebrity and perfect hair can’t provide everything. That sometimes there is a sad ending, and producers can’t change that.

And I think it reminds me that celebrities sometimes have problems that aren’t self-inflicted. That there are things that are harder to overcome. That, okay, in a way, they are still kind of like us. And I hope the young girls who look up to them should remember that.

I hope Khloe uses her situation to be more. I hope she’s a real face women can see; someone who’s going through a problem that they might be facing as well. And, yes, I hope she gets her baby in the end.

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