I should not be watching reality shows.

There are many reasons that they’re terrible. Mainly, they market themselves as opportunities for people to make big achievements. They go so far as to say that they could change people’s lives. Especially shows like Idol and ANTM, audition thousands and thousands of contestants. These are huge, heavily backed projects with plenty of means. However, they spend a lot of time talking up contestants who do very well on the show, and contestants who are anything less are continuously insulted under the guise of giving constructive criticism. A show that claims to give opportunities and help people actually just gathers people together and puts them in front of a huge audience to be humiliated. Most of the idol contestants are trained singers. The logical next step for these people are to keep doing shows, and eventually sign with an independent label. Yes, the prize is an extravagant recording contract, but the show is the only place where people who have no other means of being singers get a chance. People who couldn’t afford vocal training and can’t catch a break. Even if you want to take on contestants who’re already good, then at least provide skill development for the other contestants who made it through. Instead of rewarding people who already have great skills, how about give something to the single moms, the handicapped, orphans, or those with precarious livelihood.

On ANTM, you see all these girls just holed up together in this house. They keep someone who’ll provoke the other girls to keep the ratings up, and then when someone doesn’t win a challenge, instead of cultivating improvement, they’re either punished or just sent to their rooms where they won’t be improving.

I understand that it’s a competition, but if you’re not going to give them anything, why drag it out for so long? You can just have everyone compete for a day and pick one winner. Clearly the judges are doing a bad job for not being able to spot the best from early on. They make such a big fuss about how hard it is for them to decide, but when someone doesn’t do well they’re not shy about criticizing.

Especially in Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon encourages in-fighting and keeps putting all the blame on one person for the whole dinner service. And he likes to shout at one person in front of everyone, humiliating them. And people keep watching cause it’s all so shocking. And in MasterChef, the judges shamelessly eat so much of each dish. They can easily have their meal at work, and yet they look with disgust when something tastes less then amazing.

Contestants do get publicity, but it only goes so far. It’s not much especially when you compare it with how much the judges get paid. I realise that if I don’t like it, I can get a more wholesome perspective of reality by watching a documentary. It’s a shame, that’s all. Instead of simply being survival of the toughest, it’s influenced so heavily by ratings and overproduction.