Reality shows ... really?

By Angel Perkins
I find it hard to believe that reality shows are actually real. Of course the people featured are real, but are their reactions genuine or are they eventually (if not immediately) performing for their audience? Many think the first reality show was MTV's The Real World which was born in 1992 but technically, the first show where people were faced with unique situations and responses that resulted in outcomes that were unscripted, was The Dating Game from 1965. In that show, a "bachelorette" would question three bachelors, who were hidden from view, and at the end, she chose one to go out with on a date (or vice versa) paid for by the show. Often celebrity guests would try to select mates for themselves — which was sometimes especially thrilling for the singles being chosen from.
Unlike today, back then we didn't get to accompany them on their dates to see how it all turned out, or to see if one or the other person involved in the competition even showed up at all.
Today there are similar shows, much more sexually-oriented, where pretty much nothing is hidden from the viewer or each other. I don't know if they do, but they should definitely run full background checks on every participant, as well as require invasive medical testing to assure no one is sharing anything that will last a lifetime.
One show, Dating in the Dark, is a show that tries to test whether or not love really was blind — and surprise — it normally isn't. Starting its third season on ABC, six singles (three of each sex) spend time together (including eating meals if you can imagine that!) literally in the dark, while viewers watch it all using night-vision cameras. At the end of each show, the singles are unveiled to one another and then decide whether or not to continue seeing each other. Following The Dating Game factor of anonymity, the show is something people watch simply to see what the look will be on the person's face when they realize the person they thought they would love to spend time with ends up being someone they would never speak to on the street.
The modern version also includes touching and guessing and the sketching of what the person might look like. Either version would seem to me to require "contestants" that have unwavering egos, not that they are necessarily involving overly-unattractive people. To me, the outcome is beneficial to the persons involved in that they will undoubtedly determine what they really want out of a mate. Someone you get along with and enjoy being with, or someone you could be proud to be the other half in a photo of or share genetics to build a child with. A twisted part of me wonders how long it will be before producers up the ante by throwing a monkey wrench into things by including contestants that are of different nationalities, sizes, sexual preferences and the like, to really cause those involved to need therapy.
Other similar shows like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Millionaire Matchmaker, Blind Date, ElimDATE, Daisy of Love, Cheaters, Joe Millionaire, Temptation Island and so on have all similar premises — to see who will win true love. But really? Is a relationship spawned like that going to last?
Do they have to "try each other out" first to see if they are compatible in the bedroom when they can already see what the other person looks like? Do those vying for the show's star single really want that particular person or do they want to show millions of people how desirable they are as a mate?
I honestly don't watch or care about these shows. I tried to. Temptation Island seemed interesting at first. A couple gets separated — the female on an island with a gaggle of single "hotties" and the male on an island of single "babes." The couple spent most of their stay on their separate islands while being preyed upon and then cameramen capture everything and show the other member of that couple what that person did — or what it looked like they did. I watched three or four episodes, each time wondering "Why would you even agree to be on the show? To prove your love can withstand anything? To test to see if your mate is truly devoted to you?" That would be wonderful and all, but doesn't just putting yourself in that type of situation instigate problems that will at some point destroy at least a portion of trust in a manner that is unrepairable?
These shows all remind me of National Geographic episodes of animal mating rituals — singles acting like narcissistic birds in heat. Which on one hand really makes me laugh and on another, makes me feel like I've entirely wasted an hour of my life.
See what I mean by going to