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Reality tv has always been something you love or hate, and I have been on both sides of this particular war. However, the older I get, the more I seem to enjoy melting my brain.

Let’s dive into this.

As a kid I remember watching The Bachelor with fervor – I was intrigued by these women – and often mystified with whom the bachelor winded up choosing – someone who often wasn’t necessarily “my favourite” of the show.

I always preferred The Bachelor to The Bachelorette – the men on The Bachelorette aren’t necessarily boring but when compared to the drama of the women fighting over one man on The Bachelor – it certainly seems that way.

One show I also watched while in elementary school was Joe Millionaire. The premise is similar to The Bachelor – except that the man is posed as a millionaire – and really isn’t. The woman who wins his heart must then decide whether she wants to stay with him when he confesses this after choosing her, knowing for instance (season 1), he’s actually a construction worker. To be fair, who exactly would say, “er, sorry – no, that doesn’t work for me actually,” on national television? Man, I want to re-watch that.

After that, I didn’t really watch reality tv, or else, nothing I remember. It wasn’t until I was in university that my interest peaked again. And boy, was it a low point. I watched one of the trashiest reality shows out there, aptly named Bad Girls Club. Wild women live together, go out together, and fight with each other in this one. Quite different from The Bachelor, but yet I was obsessed! I was just fascinated by the conflict, and would of course, always find a couple of people to fixate on, mostly based on their sense of style.

Jersey Shore came out when I was in high school but I told myself I’d never sink that low. I caught an episode here or there but never committed. Until one fateful day, when my sister convinced me. Let me rewind here: my younger sister & best friend Annette is a certified reality tv aficionado. This girl would watch Tila Tequila, Flava Flav – you name it. Eventually I caved and watched a couple of episodes of each and saw the appeal, so once I started Jersey Shore, I was hooked. I thought it would be horrible, but it’s actually super entertaining and quite an interesting view of the human experience. You find yourself siding with people during arguments, laughing at the amount of ridiculousness, and wanting to drink Corona non-stop.

I actually had such a hole in my reality heart after Jersey Shore that I watched Jerseylicious, also while in college, just to keep the Jersey life going. Jerseylicious is about a salon in Jersey where there’s drama with all the staff. That’s all I’ll say except that it’s one of the trashier options out there.

After university, I didn’t touch reality tv for a while. Cue: Love is Blind.

I return to my obsession with romance-focused reality tv. So many people have watched all of these shows, but Netflix having its own romantic reality tv show (one of the better ones they have) created a whole new fanbase, it seems. Love is Blind is a bit believable because there are – how should I put this – somewhat normal people on the show. There are nerdy types, people who have their shit together, people who don’t speak in a flow of slang and curses.

Sister then introduces me to Love Island. I watch the American version and love it. She forces me to watch the UK version which is no question, the superior version. This was one of my biggest tv obsessions. I watched every season of every version – US, UK, and Australia, and have seen season 3 and 5 of UK (the superior seasons) twice. I know. Don’t judge me. But there’s just something about watching a show with 50 episodes per season where people just chat that is so comforting to me. Add in sauvignon blanc and salt & vinegar kettle chips and you have the ideal evening.

Now this takes me to another Annette recommendation, which may have become my favourite reality tv show of all time: Vanderpump Rules.

I heard whisperings of Scandoval but not knowing much other than cheating being involved, I watched the latest episode at the time (season 10, episode 6) while over at Annette’s. Then we watched the first two episodes of the series. I left my sister’s wanting much more. In the next few months (weeks??) I watched it all.

Now I’m VPR starved, so I’ve been watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (RHOBH) for Lisa Vanderpump, the breakout star of RHOBH. I never would have guessed VPR was a spinoff! I’m enjoying it, though not as much as VPR, yet I have an inkling I’ll continue watching more of the Bravoverse (RH of New York, Atlanta, Pontemac).

So, now I’ve listed almost every reality tv show I’ve seen (let’s not forget Netflix’s The Circle, Too Hot to Handle, The Ultimatum, and Perfect Match). But let me explain why I get so pulled into reality tv. I love the romance, the drama, the fashion, and most importantly, watching lifestyle. I especially like learning about people’s personal style, and watching people just go for coffee, read, and shop.

I find the ‘characters’ who I like for their personality and style, and get inspired. I even imagine myself on the show sometimes!

All in all, reality tv is a wonderful way to waste some time, especially when hungover, but I highly recommend you keep some more, ‘tasteful’ hobbies while you’re in this rabbit hole, to let’s face it – keep a sense of reality.

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