Reality TV or Really Fake?

It makes no sense, but I want reality TV to be real.  I want to see real people doing real things and experiencing real emotions.  I still remember how betrayed I felt when I found out that so much of The Hills was staged and scripted.  If they are going to pass it off as real, I want it to be real but the thirst for drama and the competition for ratings has only gotten more intense over the years so I am having to learn to accept that half of it is fake.  Why do I watch these shows again?   
Season 1:  Monet & Vaughn, Jamie & Doug, Jason & Courtney
Is anyone else watching Married at First Sight?  Or is everyone still obsessed with The Bachelor?  I quit watching The Bachelor a long time ago.  The episodes were too long.  It was two hours weekly hours of what could have been condensed into one without all of the long pauses and elaborate rose ceremony back when I was watching it.  After the show became a hit and spun off into the Bachelorette in alternating seasons with the loser from the previous episode getting their own show it was just too obvious that everything was contrived.  The runner ups go on Dancing with the stars and all I could see is a circus for people who want a free vacation and the chance at reality TV fame.  I love drama, I really do, but I wanted to watch people fall in love and everything but was happening.  I wasn't that crazy about it to begin with.  I have fond memories of Trista and Ryan, but it wasn't too hard for me to quit.  

Then I heard about Married at First Sight.  This groundbreaking show in which people agreed to be matched up by experts, and have their first meeting at the alter right before they say their wedding vows.  Everything happens in their own city and they continue their regular lives as they are filmed for the show.  Crazy right?  I am already happily married so it's hard to say if I could bring myself to do such a thing.  I hate the idea of cameras documenting it, but...I think I might be open to it.  Some people walked out of the casting when they heard it would be a legal marriage.  Nobody knew a thing about the show yet and the ones who remained were truly interested in taking this bizarre chance to find their life partner.  Well, that was season 1 in NYC.  All the crazies came out for season 2 NYC, and it was a complete train wreck.   We are approaching the end of season 3 Atlanta, casting has already been announced for season 4 Miami and any hope for authenticity or true love is starting to look like a lost cause.

I love the idea of it.  Why not?  People meet on the internet, arranged marriages are very much a thing in some cultures, and if you have had struck out on finding a life partner on your own....well it is not entirely impossible that someone else might do a better job of it.  Married at first sight, the honeymoon, move in together and 6 weeks after "I do" the couples have to decide if they will stay married or get divorced.  On season one two out of the the three couples stayed together and are both entering their second year of marriage.  The third wife that got divorced is now part of a spin off show called Black Love.  On season two there were two out of three couples who decided to stay together, but six months later they were no longer together.  Jessica and Ryan D were  reduced to restraining orders.   Sean and Davina had geographical barriers and Davina was a raging narcissist in my opinion. All three seasons had a couple in which the wife didn't find the husband attractive.  In season one Jamie overcame this.  She and Doug are still married.  In season two Jaclyn overcame this and became attracted to Ryan, but he couldn't commit or overcome his attachment to living with his mom and niece.
Season 2 (Top): Jessica & Ryan, Sean & Davina, Jessica & Ryan // Season 3:  Sam & Neil, David & Ashley, Vanessa & Tres
Which brings us to Season 3 which is looking like only a little bit less of a train wreck than it did in the beginning.  Samantha is not initially attracted to Neil and was a plain old meanie at the beginning, but seems to be coming around.  She was so mean, rude and immature I can't believe Neil was so patient.  David continues to profess his affection and shed tears for Ashley who is probably friendlier to the cashier at the grocery store than she is to the stranger she agreed to marry.  She's so cold that even after David is accused of inviting another girl out for drinks I'm still in his corner.  Nobody made her do the show yet she acts like she is totally put out that now she has to try to like the guy.  She has a serious stick up her butt.  Maybe it's the camera's, but she is stone cold and so closed off that she probably is not a good fit for a show like this in the first place.  Tres and Vanessa had instant attraction, and that may or may not have something to do with them being the only couple out of the three to consummate their marriage.  Neil and Sam have progressed to hugs, but Ashley won't let David touch her hand.  Tres and Vanessa hit road blocks when Vanessa's daddy issues are triggered and she gets upset at him for things she is afraid he may do, but I have hope that they will last.   Only recently do I have hope for Neil and Samantha.  David and Ashley don't stand a chance.

These couples try to fit what usually happens in months and years into six weeks.  The learning to live together, the petty fights, the move towards trust, the falling in love.  People are people and marriage is tricky.  As a married person myself, I really find the expert advice, counseling sessions throughout the season and the way the couples navigate this process to be very interesting.  There is useful information in every season.

Married at First Sight seems a heck of a lot more thought out than The Bachelor Casting.  I'm sure they do a psychological evaluation as all reality TV shows probably do, but good looks and a potential story line is probably just as important if not more important as personality traits.  The experts of Married at First Sight stand by their process.  The questionnaires are thorough, every angle is considered, and they are truly matching people who they deem compatible, but any season after the first one is a bit spoiled for me because once a show "takes off" I really question the intentions of the participants.  I should probably do that anyway, but I'm one of those people who wants to believe everything is real.  Not only that, but the cameras themselves probably skew the entire process as well.  Do they just want to be on TV?  Do they just want to get paid?  I don't know if it's true or not, but I am hearing that they are paid to be on the show and that all of their living expenses are taken care of.  Are they thinking ahead to a possible spin off show like Jamie/Doug and Courtney/Jason did for staying together?  Everyone from season 1 is still on TV and Jamie has started her own jewelry line.  She is also a former Bachelor contestant.

Season one was legit.  All three couples really seemed to be in it for the right reasons and very committed to the process.   I give Jamie the side eye now and then because she seems so eager for fame, but on the other hand I think she really wanted to find love and why not capitalize on the exposure.  This show seems so much more realistic than The Bachelor.  I mean, they get legally married.  To a stranger.  I don't think anyone can take that too lightly.  I want it to be real, but in the end each episode is just a snippet of what actually happened.  There are cameras and ratings and the lines are so blurred that it is impossible to tell one way or the other.


Renae said...

I am also watching Married at First Sight, I been watching since the last season and I really like the show..the casting for both seasons seems to be well done and thought out. So far it seems like its as real as "Reality" tv can get. I mean being married to someone is pretty serious, and with all that details.

Law_Fal said...

I've never been a big tv person, but I can remember being glued to the television in college watching the bachelor with my roommates, but then I lost interest. The only real reality tv shows I can handle now are like cooking competitions or even top model reruns. I just hate the lack of reality on the reality shows on tv now!

Kay R. said...

Ahhh I love reality tv and want it to be real as well. I havent caught this season of married at first sight but I did catch the first two!

Tomes Edition said...

I Actually tune in every single week. Jamie really tried to overcome the barrier of not being attracted to Doug. However Ashley is just not trying even though she says she is. She's not willing to bend. Tre and Vanessa look great together but Vanessa has to overcome her insecurities. I think Sam and Neil will stick it out for the long haul as they are both trying.

Ashley R said...

Definitely sounds interesting! I can't lie, I've been watching the Bachelor still (thank goodness for fast forward capabilities). I can't quit 'reality' TV.

<3 Have Ashley, Will Travel

Laura Darling said...

I might need to give this show a try! I still watch the Bachelor but I totally agree that the episodes are way too long. I zone in and out after about 25 minutes.

Miss Rachel M. said...

Cece!! I feel like you and I would be like really good friends if we've actually ever met! I've been sucked into this show and literally have been wishing, shaking my head and all but praying that they would get their lives together!!