Reality Shows + Romance = 3
The Effect Wedding and Romance-Themed Reality TV has on Actual People
Reality TV shows and romance are the most compatible couple to ever exist. True, reality TV has been involved with a myriad of industries, making the acquaintance of everyone from dance moms and ice road truckers to celebutantes and D-listers. The genre is about voyeurism, with every reality show allowing viewers to people-watch from the comfort of their own homes. But shows such as The Bachelor, Say Yes
to The Dress, and their vastly expanding televised universes leave viewers wanting more. Instead of discovering obscure lines of work or churning private people out as new tabloid staples, they root for someone finding true love. Soon after, they’re dying to witness weddings at their most sensorily rich, down to every detail. It’s undeniable chemistry making brides gushy, but also green when it comes to planning their own nuptials .
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette- royalty in the reality romance genre- are practically carousels. Each season offers viewers popular characters who branch off to lead seasons of their own. The funny thing is viewers know that this is how it works. At the dawn of the genre, The Real World depicted issues which mattered to 1992’s youth. Fast forward and the show went on to offer generalization narratives we want to believe or narratives producers feel the audience should believe rather than life itself. The distillation of people into characters plus the open secret of heavy editing undergird the belief that the genre is a facade. The ethereal world romantic reality TV builds up- hot air balloon and sky-diving dates- seems to declare this: In a world full of insincerity, long live romance.
“Reality shows create this kind of fantasy experience, but because… it’s not like James Bond in a movie, where you say ‘Oh, I’m never gonna do that,’” said Matt Harry, a former editor on The Bachelor.“Because it’s in this reality format, it makes it seem like ‘That’s something I could do, too.’And I think people do kinda aspire to that.”
The Bachelor’s focus on dating would need to be ice watered down to reality. Series which are actually about individual wedding details show viewers different “premade” brides each episode. It allows comparison for items people are told are worth splurging on in pursuit of perfection. The cyclical trends of culture-based creative economies (food, fashion, photography) featured in these shows make you feel you have to become an entertainer yourself. Viewers lose focus of the details they’d like to prioritize and raise the
budget for every individual item.
Nicki Lee, a YouTuber who blew up when she told the story of her audition process for The Bachelor, echoed the sentiment that wedding
shows make you raise your standards and the maximum prices you’re willing to pay in the process. “They keep showing more and more
women that have these higher budgets because people love to see the high-budget dresses,” said the Youtuber and baker in regards to
Say Yes to The Dress. “So you have people, brides, who are looking at these dresses that are $ 15,000, $10,000,” said Lee. “And then
you have people look at these dresses that are five thousand dollars and you’re like ‘Oh, that’s kind of affordable,’ when in reality that
would not be in my budget at all.” While it is fun to follow the exploits of this match-made-in-heaven sub-genre, you and your future partner should know that a wedding doesn’t have to be grand to go on to become stunning memory.
Author: Julia Stephens