Asked about the reason for the success of Reality TV a program planner of a big German TV channel stated, „[The reason is] the relevance of the topic for the audience, believable authentic and able coaches together with a modern and high end technical realization.“ Turning on the TV for one minute is enough to see that this is 100% bullshit. Scripted stories, in which some dude got his sister/cousin/step daughter pregnant, are not relevant to anyone. Also „Believable“ and „high end“ are words that no one under no circumstances would ever connect to reality TV.
So what is the reason for this success? In my opinion reality TV is the modern form of a concept hundreds of years old. Hobbes said, „[…] All the pleasure and jollity of the mind consists in this; even to get some, with whom comparing, it may find somewhat wherein to Tryumph[…]“ Or with simple words: to feel good you need some one who fucks up. It is fascinating and scary how strictly some TV-stations align their program to with this principle.
In order to give everybody something to look down on, the level of these programs must be as low as it is. But this principle works on two levels. We consider ourselves to be superior to the people who actually are shown and to the people who take these programs seriously. I’m not saying that absolutely no one takes it seriously, but the vast majority of the audience is rather driven by this condescending voyeurism than by interest. Not the few people who think that this shit is real make it successful. It’s us. We are the problem. We are rotten to the core.