Should We Demand More Real-Life In Our Reality TV Shows?

So apparently Jillian Michaels agreed with our initial assessment that the Biggest Loser Season 15 Winner, Rachel Fredrickson had, indeed, lost too much weight. In an interview she gave in US Weekly magazine (click here to read the article), she says nobody warned her that Rachel was very thin. So when they (she and Bob Harper, one of the other trainers on the show) saw her at the finale, they were shocked.

Now you know after the big reveal, I blogged about it almost instantly (click here to read my original post). Because my reaction was  “That’s not healthy! And people weighed in on the matter (pun intended) and agreed or disagreed. But here we are, about almost a month later, before the trainer, her trainer, makes a public statement to acknowledge that somebody dropped the ball and agreeing that she was indeed, too thin.

What’s even more interesting is that Jillian acknowledges that after the final contestants leave the ranch, the trainers are “allowed” to keep in touch with the contestants, to monitor them to make sure their unhealthy relationship with food is not manifested in another way. But her explanation is that Rachel must have fallen through the cracks and that the checks and balances that were supposed to prevent this from happened, but that (now these are Jillian’s words, as they appeared in the magazine article)

Frederickson somehow slipped through the cracks after the show’s filming ended.

So a show that is supposed to be about helping people, a show that is maintaining their viewership and staying current because they are about changing America and targetting childhood obesity and… all the other things the show says it’s about, nobody is checking on what is going on after filming ends. (I’m not sure I like where this is going)

reality tv

Just a few days ago, the curtain was lifted on another popular “reality” show, The Bachelor, airing (pun intended) the dirty laundry of that show, reminding us of facts that we have long known but which we sometimes forget when we get drawn in and start believing the false reality the TV producers present to us.

A few years ago, I had just graduated from college and I was preparing for the “real” world  and all it entailed – job hunting, interviews, trading in the wardrobe of a college student to start looking like a professional again. I had immigrated from Jamaica just a few years before and I didn’t think I needed to change anything – I wanted to retain my naturalness because I wanted people to see and accept the real me. I couldn’t accept that I needed fake nails and fake hair and fake eyelashes and everything else others were wearing. I couldn’t accept that I needed to pad my resume or invent new dimensions to my accomplishments. I just wanted to be real. One of my friends shared another perspective with me. She said, “This is a land of appearances. In America, we buy things on credit so we can look like we have money. We dress up for a job interview so people will treat us like we are already successful. And if we’re sad, we take medication so people will think we’re happy. Nobody wants the truth. And if you can’t accept that, you’re going to have a hard time making it here.” I didn’t accept everything she had to say but I learned that many people believe that.


I think we all know reality shows are not real, but we watch them anyway, because we love the departure they afford us from our natural lives. I think the alternate reality that these shows present keep us convinced that this life is possible and maybe we can get it, in a way we just can’t envision when we know that movies have special effects built into every scene. We know that we can’t climb walls like Spider Man but when we watch The Biggest Loser, maybe we think we can lose weight, even lose up to 155 pounds in 7 months, like Rachel Frederickson did.

So my thesis is that we actually like the distorted reality that we are presented week after week.  But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this latest installment in the exposure of reality show secrets doesn’t sit well with us and it will change us, change our demands. Maybe, we’ll stop watching, or maybe we’ll simply demand more reality in our reality shows.


What do you think?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mummy Wright says:

    I totally agree. We need to either stop watching these “false realty” {Isn’t that an oxymoron?) or demand better. Sadly too many of us are glued to the TV watching these shows and neglect to spend these hours doing something to improve our lives.


    1. runwright says:

      I love that comment, Mummy. We would be better served doing things to improve our own lives than watching other people working on theirs.


What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s