I remember when people got together on weekday nights to relax and enjoy their favorite TV shows, like Friends or Beverly Hills 90210. These days, it's like that tradition has been completely warped. Sure, there's Modern Family and the Jason Priestley-less 90210 reboot on The CW, but for the most part, people are making water-cooler talk—or, let's be serious, G-chatting—about reality garbage like Jersey Shore, Bridalplasty, and perhaps worst of all, totally horrific shows like Hoarding: Buried Alive.
In short, it seems like we can't get enough of reality TV shows about people who are seriously mentally ill.
Call me crazy, but I've had a hard time wrapping my head around just how watching people collect cats under their couches or eat detergent is entertainment. Then again, I've never been one to watch horror films. I've never seen The Ring, The Exorcist, or any flick starring a guy with a mask and a chainsaw or whatever. And I'll be a completely fulfilled woman if I never see anything in that film genre for the rest of my life.
So, maybe it's that people who opt for hours of horror reality on TLC, E!, and MTV are just the type to go for scary movies? Seemed plausible ...
But I soon learned that there's more to it than getting disturbed for entertainment's sake. A friend of mine recently shed some light on the subject. She said, "I watch these people who choose their puppets over their spouse or who didn't know they were pregnant until they were going into labor, and I think, 'They're so screwed up and mental—they make me feel 100 percent sane and normal!'"
BINGO! We want to step right up and watch a freak show, so we can rest assured that our strange tendencies (eating bowls of cereal in the middle of the night, having a cluttered car, whatever) are really nothing to worry about.
If that's what it's about, I only need a 30-second commercial for Intervention or a quick flip to "tru TV" to think, "I am really grateful for our relatively healthy, sane life devoid of crack pipes, beat-downs, and balloon fetishes." And then, I'll happily go back to watching a Sunday night airing of a fluffy, romantic fairy tale like Pretty Woman, Legally Blonde, or The Princess Diaries. But I shouldn't be so judgmental. After all, some might say frequently devouring pink fantasy rom-coms is crazy in its own way, too.
Do you watch insane people on reality shows to make yourself feel more mentally stable?
Image via AETV.com