These 5 obscure reality TV shows will change your life
Reality TV has built up a bad reputation. It’s a guilty pleasure, that thing you secretly TiVo but pretend you don’t watch. Or, your proclaimed interest is so extreme that you’ve almost convinced yourself it’s ironic. But hasn’t slummy content aimed at the lowest common denominator long had a niche? Look at Shakespeare, indisputably highbrow, yet his plays are chock-full of dirty jokes for the cheap seats. And that’s what reality TV is - the stuff for the cheap seats. But who doesn’t need a cheap seat from time to time?
Reality TV taps into a real human need. The need to turn your brain to “relax” mode, and to feel a little superior to the people who are willing to make their lives your entertainment. In times of great trauma and hardship, we don’t turn to Proust. We turn to the Real Housewives of Atlanta, New York and Miami.
So, here are the five trashiest and/or most underrated reality shows for five very relatable everyday-life scenarios.
BELOW DECK: MEDITERRANEAN
You’re tired, you’re over it, and you know you need to get to bed soon so you can wake up in five hours and do it all over again. But your brain is racing from being used for so long. What you need is Below Deck: Mediterranean. To be brutally honest, nothing happens on this show. Ever. Like, nothing. The cast cleans the yacht decks, gets drunk on rare days off and (drama alert!) messes up plates of appetizers. It’s the reality TV version of a Xanax for your overworked brain. You’ll probably fall asleep before you get through an entire episode, and that’s okay.
Hey, no judgment. It happens to the best of us. But if you wake up in a shame spiral, what you need ASAP is someone who has done something worse than you. And one might argue that going on TV to participate in a fairly obscure competitive naked dating show is something anyone can feel superior to - regardless of what or whom you might or might not have done last night. Go ahead and turn on Dating Naked immediately. The best part? With the cringe-worthy awkwardness every time a new contestant arrives, clearly second-guessing their involvement on the show as they make the naked 20-foot walk across the beach to meet their date, you’ll forget your own cringes in no time.
RICH KIDS OF BEVERLY HILLS
Sure, a status piece is an investment, but you’re also a regular person who has to pay rent for their regular apartment. Which is another way of saying that life is totally unfair. When you need to get away from your insurance payments and bills bills bills, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills is the answer. See how the other other half lives, and take a small bit of pleasure in knowing you’re much more grounded - you would never spill your Dom on Dorothy’s Birken. And, your splurge will seem so modest in comparison. It’s all about perspective!
Remember The Real World? Of course you do. Well, Netflix has acquired what is essentially the Japanese version - six young people who are given a luxury home and a car, a camera crew and no scripts. It’s called Terrace House and it’s a glimpse into a real world that’s probably pretty different than yours. You may have used all of your vacation days on your cousin’s wedding, but you can still go to Tokyo for 28 minutes at a time.
Ok, so this show is far from obscure, but there is a strong case for it making improving your self-esteem. It truly has something for everyone, even those who think it couldn’t possibly - those who refuse to watch what many consider trash. But if you’re feeling beat down after a terrible date, this is the cure. It features people competing in physical challenges for love, it has some of the best comedic editing out there, and, most importantly, it has a whole nation attached of people who truly believe in love - for the right reasons. So if you need a little push to put yourself out there, just remember that true love exists - it has for 21 seasons. And you couldn’t embarrass yourself any more than contestants on The Bachelor.