I like The Hills, so what?

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While trying to express why I like watching The Hills in class, I realized that I had a harder time explaining it than I thought. After putting my thoughts together, I’d like to explain some reasons. I’m not arguing that the show is some amazing work of art, I am just explaining what is likable about it, or more accurately, what is so appealing about it which has me, along with many others, watching it week after week.

While I am embarrassed to admit it, I am vicariously living through the characters in The Hills. I can experience broken relationships, drama, and high heels without the true pain of it all! I laugh, I gasp in shock, and I cringe at the character’s actions and it’s a true rush. I feel like the only drama in my life which I can compare to The Hills ended when I graduated high school and part of me still craves it.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I love gossip. The Hills allows us to hear all parts of a rumor from every perspective without getting caught. The gossip in reality tv is more convincing than non-reality shows because the characters are more real, more relatable. Even with such wealth and tabloid fame, the characters in reality tv shows will never be considered “stars.” This keeps them on our “normal” level as opposed to A-list actor level. We relate because they do not have any special talents, looks, or lifestyles that none of the viewers could potentially have.

A relatable character on screen is very vulnerable to its audience. Seeing a character on The Hills at their worst is the ultimate connection to them. It makes them seem human because we all go through the same emotional issues. But a reality tv show cannot be “too real” or else it gets boring. The audience doesn’t want to watch some roommates sitting around the couch vegging out, like one can see on Big Brother. Taking the exciting, yet realistic, parts of one’s life and putting them in a 20 minute episode is the way to keep an audience.

It’s easy to find similarities between reality shows. A reoccurring character cast is seen with the typical hero and villain. The audience loves to love the protagonist while loving to hate the antagonist. It’s a never-ending battle between good and evil which the audience loves to take sides on.

Reality tv shows know how to target audience. There are psychologists working on set in order to appeal to viewers and the low costs of producing such shows with the steady viewership means that they are not going anywhere. I think that reality tv shows should be looked at in a different context than scripted series. Instead of looking for a work of art, one should succumb to his or her guilty pleasure and enjoy.

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