After days of trying to chose a topic for my bog, I eventually decided on the most devastating moment in reality television history. The 2016 Bachelorette finale, when Georgia chose to be with Lee crushing the heart of Matty J, and half a million Australian viewers.
Now if you’re reading this having no idea what the Bachelorette is, congratulations on having a life. ‘The Bachelor’ in short, consists of a group of women vying for the romantic attention of one man who, through the process of ‘rose ceremony’ eliminations, finds his “soulmate”.
Georgia Love’s season of ‘The Bachelorette’, in which the gender ratio is reversed, consisted of “romantic” moments in “intimate” locations attended by Georgia and her man of choice (plus a camera crew, production team and hundreds of thousands of TV viewers).
Watching Matty and Georgia’s love blossom (while she was dating numerous other men), became a weekly ritual for me, and by the time the finale rolled around, I was convinced this was a one horse race and our boy Matty, had it in the bag.
Now while I’m the first to say there’s nothing juicer than watching hearts being crushed on national television, nothing prepared me for the blindside of the century as Matty was left devastated (and so was my friend Caitlin).
This lead me to question how it is we become so invested in these reality shows. Why is it we enjoy watching others in their most private an embarrassing moments?
Is it some sort of anthropological study of man kind? A feeling of superiority over participants? Or are we simply driven by an optimistic desire to watch people find happiness.
While a combination of this provides the basis for reality TV, I believe the main reason audiences have come to love it, is the fact it provides a more interactive viewing experience.
Previously, traditional shows like sitcoms have allowed viewers to just sit back and watch. These new age reality shows however, encourage passive viewing with audience involvement.Many shows such as ‘Australian Idol’ even involve the audience in the elimination of participants through public voting.
This however, comes with it’s negatives, mainly for the participants in the shows. The Bachelorette for example. After the finale episode had aired, Georgia copped massive backlash from fans and viewers, outraged that she hadn’t chosen Matty who they believed she had a better connection with.
Because these shows are highly edited, audiences don’t get the whole picture and they only see what the producers want them to see. This is however, essential to keep the suspense and drama, because otherwise why are we even watching?
Despite the negatives, I continue to watch the Bachelorette, from the moment she tells them they are ‘exactly what she’s looking for’ and can ‘see a future with them’, to the moment she dumps them in a rose ceremony on national television.
Until next time,
Witkowski, T 2016, Why do we enjoy reality TV? Researches say its more about empathy than humiliation, The British Psychological Society, weblog post, 24 November, viewed 11 March 2018, <https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/11/24/why-do-we-enjoy-reality-tv-researchers-say-its-more-about-empathy-than-humiliation/>
McDermott, N 2012, Why We’re Obsessed With Reality TV, Greatist, viewed 11 March 2018, <https://greatist.com/happiness/why-were-obsessed-reality-tv>
Hicks, J 2009, ‘Probing Question: Why do we love reality television?’, PennState News, 24 August, viewed March 11 2018, <http://news.psu.edu/story/141303/2009/08/24/research/probing-question-why-do-we-love-reality-television>