Reality Obsession: Why We Can't Get Enough of True-Life Drama

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1. It makes us laugh…
Anybody who has tuned in for an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo knows that among the attractions of reality television is that it doesn’t need a script to make the audience laugh. Even the most talented of writers and most gifted of actresses would have difficulty channeling a character as full of life and hilarity as adorable Alana a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo—and that’s what makes her and other reality-TV stars of her caliber so well received.

2. It makes us cry…
Often shows centered around real life people and events are able to evoke a greater connection with the audience than scripted dramas. The struggles of the family members of Sister Wives, for example, registers more deeply in viewers because they know that even when the cameras turn off, the prejudice and pushback these women feel continues to be real. Whatever your stance is regarding the behavior of the characters on a reality-TV show, whether it be Sister Wives or another drama, it’s hard not to feel solidarity with their emotions when you know they are genuine.

3. It opens our hearts and minds to other worlds…
Best of all, reality TV gives audiences all over the world the opportunity to view different cultures, societies, and ways of thinking in a raw and honest light. Breaking Amish: Brave New World, for example, which premieres on Sunday, May 12, at 10 p.m./9p.m. Central, on TLC, follows the journeys of five young adults who have chosen to leave their sheltered Amish and Mennonite lives and immerse themselves in modern society. Last season tracked their difficult adjustment to New York City and this time around, Abe, Rebecca, Kate, Sabrina and Jeremiah will make a fresh start in Sarasota, FL. From the Big Apple to the gator state, the cast continues to face culture shock and internal struggles that most of us would have a difficult time understanding without their first-hand explanations of what growing up in an Amish society was like.