Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.


Donít touch my garbage

Friday, August 2, 2019

For as long as I can remember, Iíve been obsessed with reality shows. It started with Survivor in 2001. I still remember watching when Richard Hatch was named the very first sole survivor. And I wasnít the only one ó the finale of Survivor: Borneo had an average of 50 million viewers, the most of any episode of Survivor to date. (Yes, that show is still on and going strong, depending on whom you ask.)

Then came The Bachelor and, more importantly, The Bachelorette. Fun fact: Trista Rehn, the first bachelorette, saved the show by marrying her final pick, super attractive firefighter Ryan Sutter. The network was on the verge of canceling the show until Trista and Ryanís wedding, which had 17 million viewers. I watched the episode with my mother in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. Even on vacation, we were dedicated to our trash TV.

The Bachelor franchise has only grown since Tristaís season. Today, the season starts with The Bachelor in January, then The Bachelorette in May and Bachelor in Paradise in August. If you are a fan of the show, October through December is the driest period of the year. Itís nine solid months of fascinating trash, and then three months of nothing. Thatís what I like to call pure heartbreak, or, more likely, withdrawal.†

Now, I understand not everyone is a fan of reality TV. Iíve heard all kinds of arguments against it. Is it really real? Arenít those shows scripted? Did you know they all go to a resort after filming Survivor for the day? Wouldnít you rather watch something meaningful? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. Reality shows are not scripted, but producers do manipulate contestants and storylines as they see fit, so I canít say they are as real as it gets.†

As for the last question, I vehemently disagree that reality shows arenít meaningful. They are a brilliant look at humanity at a certain point in time. Think about Survivor. When it first premiered, the showís main alliance was a gay nudist and a homophobic old man. Fascinating! In Survivor: China (the best season if you ask me) it came down to a sarcastic mean girl, a beauty pageant winner and a gay flight attendant.†

These are people who might have never met in the real world, and we get to watch them interact in the quest for $1 million. Itís like worlds colliding. You often see people work together whom youíd never expect to do so. Iíve long believed that people will surprise you if you just give them a chance, and you see that all the time in reality shows.†

Recently, Iíve been rewatching Flavor of Love, a VH1 dating show starring the ever-gregarious Flavor Flav. The show is hilarious, but what strikes me when I watch it is nostalgia. I remember watching it when it first aired. Itís been 13 years, and the show really shows its age. Itís really a time capsule.†

While I understand reality TV isnít for everyone, I wholeheartedly feel it is for me. Itís trash, but itís my trash. So donít touch my garbage!