I have a problem with a reality tv show. And by problem I mean I am a dedicated watcher of….. the Real Housewives of New Jersey. And by dedicated watcher I mean that I am counting down until Sunday for the new season to start.
Part of me says that although I shouldn’t be watching such garbage, this is fine because obviously I am not going to wake up one morning and become one of these women. I mean, it’s not like this show is horrible- it’s just a bunch of goofy women that create drama. It’s not Jersey Shore bad, but it’s bad. It’s harmless entertainment. My life is so unlike the lives of these women that I enjoy watching it in fascination/horror/repulsion. At the end of the day I want to watch a show that totally takes me away, and this show fits the bill.
However, I’m starting to think that I should stop watching this show. There are other shows that I have stopped watching because they tend to make me concentrate on things I shouldn’t. For example, I used to love watching shows on HGTV like House Hunters and Million Dollar Homes. It’s so interesting seeing what you can get for your money in different parts of the country. But the thing is, when watching these shows I started realizing that I was feeling house envy. I am not going to have a million dollar budget when we buy our first home, but inevitably I am going to compare the homes that we can buy with the million dollar homes. Should I be watching a show that leads to me feeling somehow dissatisfied with my own life? Dissatisfied too strong of a word, but I get that voice in the back of my head saying, “oh if only I could have a pool in my basement then life would be fantastic,” or worse yet, “don’t I DESERVE to have an entire room dedicated to my own closet?”
For some reason, although the homes on the Real Housewives are immense I am too focused on the outrageous behavior to really feel envious of these women. Mostly, I end up feeling bad for them because of their family problems and silly arguments. Then I feel really bad because I realize that I am entertained by this. I mean, one of these women has a serious problem getting along with her teenage daughter and I am watching it on tv. Isn’t that incredibly intrusive? I’m watching her relationship with her daughter unfold on television and saying, “well at least I’m not going through THAT.” I suppose that this might be comforting for someone who is going through such a struggle, but still I’m not in that situation.
I suppose that my problem with the show is that it shows the dual nature of people. These women tend to be silly, gossipy and materialistic, and at the same time suffer with real-life issues. Doesn’t everyone? Should I stop watching the show because they are silly, gossipy and materialistic (and consequently those are three personality flaws that I share)? Or should I stop watching because I am entertained by their crazy family drama? Or am I reading too much into this and just keep watching?
All of this is weighing on me because now that I have a daughter I want to focus my time on meaningful things. Clearly watching this show is in no way meaningful, but during my “break” time should I be watching or reading something that is going to be positive instead of this cheap entertainment?