Confession: I really enjoy really bad reality television.
Back in my late middle and early high school years, I faithfully watched shows such as “Jersey Shore,” “Real World,” “Snookie & Jwoww,” “The Hills” and “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” which, if you don’t remember, was a show about 32 men and women living in the same house with a bisexual woman competing for her love.
All those shows were overly dramatic and truly terrible, but I watched every episode. I like to think my television viewing tastes have improved overall since I had braces, but I still have my guilty pleasures.
First and foremost, I love MTV’s “Catfish” and will defend it until the day I die. “Catfish” isn’t what I’m here to confess, because that show is of much higher quality than the shows where the entire plotline consists of a large group of twenty-somethings living in a house partying every night to find love.
My current obsession is not up to par with “Catfish.” It’s called “Are You the One?” and it’s awful, but so good.
Here is the show’s premise: 10 men and 10 women live in a house together (of course it’s a giant house in a tropical location). Before the show, they all took some sort of test, the results of which revealed who in the house was whose “perfect match.” Every single person in the house has a perfect match with someone else based on the personality tests everyone took. However, no one knows who his or her perfect match is. The whole point of the show is to figure out all the perfect matches. If everyone figures them out by the end of the season, the cast splits $1,000,000 to take home.
There are a few plot twists and rules, but that’s the general format the show has followed for the three seasons it’s aired. The reason my enjoyment of this show is not something I gladly admit is because of the way the cast members act. Every week, I waste an hour of my life watching people cheating on each other, girls screaming at each other, guys punching inanimate objects, and people bawling while saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”
To make it worse, the cast members who misbehave the most get the most airtime because they are the most entertaining. I feel my IQ drop each week as I watch this show.
But I can’t stop. Watching these people make complete fools out of themselves is oddly entertaining and hilarious. Plus, trying to figure out who the matches are adds a small aspect of intelligence to the viewing process.
I think part of the underlying reason reality television does so well is because the people who watch it might secretly enjoy how much better it makes them feel about themselves. They could be lying on the couch in sweats, neglecting their math homework and eating hotdogs, yet be thinking, “You know, my life is kind of a mess, but at least 26 million people aren’t watching me punch a wall because a girl I met four days ago is kissing another dude.”
Which, ultimately, is why I think “Are You the One?” is even able to exist. The entertainment factor alone is so high that it makes up for its awfulness.
Still, I would love to be on the show. Watch out for me in season five.