If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with the show, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Why do you ask? First off, the show started when I was still living at home so I would watch it with my mom and it was our bonding time. Later on in life, I watched it with girlfriends, fantasizing about our dream dates with our dream guys. Now, it is pure entertainment. Yes, I still dream that I could be flown to a tropical location and fall in love but I know that’s probably not going to happen.
So why have reality shows, like The Bachelor, taken over the television landscape? I know I’m not the only one who has a reality show obsession due to the fact they continue to be created because of numerous successes. From Jersey Shore and the Housewives, who show us an interesting perspective to society, to The Biggest Loser and American Idol, which tug on our heart strings and make us reach for our dreams, reality shows come in very different shapes and sizes to address many walks of life.
Sharlene Sones, founder of Brandstoria and author of Storyworks: How Stories Can Advance Your Business, Cause and Career, recently came into our office to talk about storytelling and its importance to our practice. Storytelling gives us the power to reach customers and strengthen our brands’ campaigns. Storytelling is also why reality television is such a phenomenon. Each person has their own story so individuals want to see theirs or something similar on television. And that is exactly what occurs when you watch these shows.
Whether you are an up-and-coming fashion designer who wants to one day dress the First Lady or just someone who knows a lot of trivia and needs extra cash, you can always see yourself in one of the characters in a reality show. You see your story being represented on the television screen. Although people would slightly disagree and say individuals can see themselves in many mediums – movies, sitcoms, etc. – reality shows definitely bring something different because these truly are real people, living their real lives – often in unique situations – so you feel a connection to them. Movies and other shows utilize actors who, let’s be serious, are not like us and are not as relatable.
Reality show personalities open themselves up to the audience each week, giving their personal story which allows the viewer to feel as though they know them on a greater level. That is why these shows are successful. They tell a story and a deep story that the audience has grown accustomed to, appreciates and expects.
So the next time you are flipping through the channels and see a reality show, stop and watch for a minute. Although I cannot guarantee you will like it, I can guarantee that you will see yourself in one of the characters portrayed. You will see your story. Embrace it, accept it and love it.