We also need to be aware of what these shows are trying to say. Is The Bachelorette a celebration of true romance or an emotionally manipulative schlockfest? And how do we separate the two? Also, what kind of message do these shows teach couples? A friend of mine who, after watching The Bachelor, admitted to feeling less satisfied with her relationship. Fortunately, she snapped out of it and realized that real life isn't all rose ceremonies and hot-tub hanky panky. But what's the real impact here? What we consume affects how we think and the consumption of reality TV is not sending positive messages.
But ultimately, the joke isn't on us it's on the poor saps who are on these shows. When the cast of The Jersey Shore's fifteen minutes of fame expire, they'll end up in the trashcan of discarded reality show rejects with Jon Gosselin and Rod Blagojevich. And they'll learn the one lesson that no reality show teaches: fame may be fleeting, but herpes is forever.
Do you think reality television hurts our cultural conception of relationships?