Arts & Entertainment, Film & TV, Movies & TV

Why reality TV shows calm me down

Everyone has a specific show that calms them down — many people turn to “Friends” or “The Office,” but I gravitate toward “Dance Moms” or any “Real Housewives” show.

I have been watching reality television since I was a kid. I knew when “Kate Plus 8” was airing or when the new episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” was coming out — needless to say, I was obsessed with TLC. I would be glued to the TV to watch the drama of people’s lives unfold.

real housewives of orange county at a virgin atlantic airlines event
Real Housewives of Orange County. Watching “Real Housewives,” “Dance Moms” and other reality shows allows viewers to escape the real world. COURTESY OF GINA HUGHES VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

My reality TV obsession stayed strong as I got older. After TLC fizzled out, I turned to “Dance Moms” on Lifetime. I was at my TV every Tuesday night, ready to watch dance teacher Abby Lee Miller scream at the mothers of her child dancers. The moms would fight back, of course, while I sat back and binged all the drama.

When watching the show, I would forget about my own drama. My life was dry and uneventful in comparison to the dance moms’.

After watching every season several times through, it became my ultimate comfort show. As embarrassing as it might sound, I find the screaming and yelling of “Dance Moms” rather comforting,  and I have my favorite episodes that I turn to on an especially bad day.

One of my favorite moments on the show is when dance mom Holly Frazier turns to another mom on the show and says, “You’re entitled to your wrong opinion.” Anytime anyone slightly disagrees with me, I always think of that moment.

When I am not watching “Dance Moms” and I turn on a sitcom or a drama, plotlines can land too close to home. I use TV as my outlet, not as a way to rehash my own life. It’s boring to watch a show and know what’s going to happen next or watch a character go through a similar situation to you.

Reality TV is definitely not reality. Most people do not spend their days stirring the pot and handling the amount of drama the cast of “Dance Moms” or “Real Housewives” deal with, but that’s why I find it so comforting. Nothing in my day-to-day life resembles what I see on reality TV, and I can, without a doubt, turn on the TV to escape my reality.

Besides the fun of the drama, there are some takeaways from reality TV. It’s important to stick up for yourself and stand behind your opinions, no matter how other people react to them. All of the dance moms stand behind every crazy thing they say and do. If they can confidently scream at their child’s dance teacher, then I can ask for a better grade or even be proud of my reality TV show addiction.

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