Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The So-Called Reality TV Show Curse: Could the TLC “Sister Wives” Brown Family be next?
Written By: Terrific Terrasola!~!
According to Tracie Egan Morrisey1 reality TV and divorce go hand in hand. In a recent article for Jezebel.com she notes that there have been a number of divorces on the popular “Real Housewives of ...” franchise, and that the link between divorce and reality TV began back in the 1970s when PBS created and aired “An American Family” which showed the disintegration of the Loud family.
Why does there seem to be an association between reality TV and family breakdown? Is it an “inflated sense of self and conceit” that Ms. Morrissey points out seems to be present in many families who agree to take part in reality TV, or is it that filming, including questions producers (and the public) ask family members, “illuminates the problems” that exist and cannot be ignored. Ms. Morrisey notes that the nature of filming a reality TV show can also be very intrusive into family life and that people may not be “real” when outsiders are in their homes. Perhaps reality TV participants become so used to acting a part that they are no longer being the people that their mates were originally attracted to or are simply not being “honest”. Alternatively, sometimes cameras catch candid moments that reveal things partners were not aware of and cannot live with.
Dr. Patrick Wanis2 believes that reality TV triggers several predictable responses in participants.
1. Most people have a subconscious desire to please others, which may lead participants to say or do things that they believe others expect of them.
2. Eventually participants may become numbed to the presence of cameras and exhibit “emotional nakedness”, lowering their internal defenses and leading them to say and act out what they believe subconsciously / internally to be true, but what in “real life” they would not reveal to others (by remaining silent, suppression, trying to control comments and behavior, etc.).
3. Cameras and editing exaggerate the best and the worst of each individual. The camera judges every action, response and statement, creating physical, emotional and mental strain.
4. The publicity and fame of reality TV “stardom” can result in a loss of perspective, loss of the sense of one’s “true” self, and a change in one’s personal beliefs and values.
5. The constant presence of cameras robs a family, and especially a couple, of the time needed for privacy and physical and emotional intimacy.
If you add the responses that Dr. Wanis points out above to the exhibitionist personalities typically attracted to reality TV3 or, as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter's mother explained it on “The Big Bang Theory” that people attracted to “acting” generally have an external locus of control and tend to value themselves only insofar as others value them, you have a pretty good recipe for family (or individual) breakdown.
Do you think the Browns will fall victim to The Reality TV Show Curse? Is it already happening? Tell us below.