More than just a guilty pleasure: How Reality T.V distracts me from my Reality

I felt like it was time for a little bit of a more lighthearted post. I am actually not much of a reality television fan. However, there is one particular show that I have now been watching for just about 15 years (ohhh my gosh, just typing that out makes me feel hella old) that holds a special place in my heart. That show is MTV’s “The Challenge”, originally known to me as “Real World/Road Rules Challenge”. The latter may sound familiar, as the show’s original casting pool came from people who had either appeared on Road Rules or the ever popular Real World. The series is a competition based show in which the winner (which could be a team, pair or individual) wins a relatively large sum of money and in some cases a Saturn Ion, woo! On the path to victory, friendships are tested and broken, romances blossom, LOTS of booze is poured and general debauchery ensues. And then somehow between the fights, the tears and the hookups some people actually impress you with their athletic prowess.

I recently read a quote about reality television that struck me, “In the reality- TV era, unstable behavior becomes a valid career choice”. No wonder I had such an obsession! There is a reason this show was my go to. Every season I would get to see like 20 hot messes make a fool of themselves while also kicking ass and winning money. As a formerly self-described train wreck and collegiate athlete I actually felt like I could relate to this show on a deep level. Saying that I relate to a reality tv show on a deep level truly makes me cringe, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t.

I also thought (as I’m sure many other fans of the show did) that I would be a GREAT addition to the series. I once shared the desire to make my reality t.v debut to a friend and he turned to me with the most serious expression and said: “No…please don’t… you’d be the next Snookie”. I’m too old to be cast now though, so it will always remain a mystery how great I could’ve been. Ughhhh I just had to go get my Master’s Degree during the prime reality t.v years of my life. PLD if I do say so myself. Honestly, ​though, I do not know if I could handle it. I have a hard enough time facing my friends after I do something embarrassing. If I let a million viewers glimpse into my private life I would probably find a nice looking rock and hide under it for the rest of eternity.

So now I just get to call myself a longtime viewer, and that is fine. One of the aspects of this show I really enjoy is how many of the people are cast for multiple seasons. When you’ve watched a show for 15 years and it still follows many of the same people’s story arcs, you grow attached. I feel invested in them. Whether it is watching somebody who once told somebody they wanted to smash their head and eat it (I kid you not) fall in love or a religious fanatic wanting to settle their beef​ by wrestling, I am never left non-entertained. I’ve also learned​ so much from​ watching. For instance, I now know approximately how much furniture is possible to smash during the duration of a Yellowcard song. What would my life be without that knowledge!?!?!?! So here is my Johnny Banana’s toast to the Challenge. Thanks for being there for me year after year. You always know how to make my spirits high when I am having a bad day, especially on trivia challenge day and for that, I am forever grateful.

❤ Sweeney

One thought on “More than just a guilty pleasure: How Reality T.V distracts me from my Reality

  1. Gigi Becker

    I am quite a bit older than you and I was ‘of age’ when the first Real Worlds aired. The boring ones where it was just people in a house with no real set up situations. I thought about going for it but I knew my self esteem was already so low that I made a fool of myself enough in front of people who already liked me I could not imagine what I would do in front of strangers and TV cameras trying to be “Cool” LOL

    I am so glad I was not in my 20s with social media! I would not have survived.


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