Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Reality TV - Lesson 4

Lesson Four: Why We Love Bad Boys and Girls

(You might think that reality television is one of the signs of the impending end of Western Civilization, BUT if you look closely enough, you can find some important life lessons. So, kids, here’s One to Grow On…)

We all know we love to hate the villains and naughty girls of reality television. But sometimes, let’s admit it, we just love to love them. Why is that? Why do the bad ones get all our attention while the good ones languish from lack of screen time? Let’s parse our reaction, shall we?

1. They’re crafty.

The villains are generally utterly unconcerned with whether or not their fellow competitors or the home audience likes them in the least. They’re there to win. So with their single-minded focus on their goal, they often manage to come up with clever strategies that are generally much more entertaining to watch.

On a show like Survivor, there are those who try to be honest and aboveboard, which is great. But they are also generally the ones who wind up in the final jury angrily confronting the final two who had less compunction about fibbing and manipulating.

Rob and Amber Mariano, for both seasons they have participated in on The Amazing Race, been absolutely unapologetic about being in it to win it at all costs. While one might not want them as next-door neighbors, it is quite fun to watch their cut-throat tactics and how they disconcert the other teams.

2. Their self-confidence might be delusional, but it can get them far.

Jade Cole on Cycle Six of ANTM is a perfect example of this. She photographed a little…hard. As one of the shows guest put it: “she looks like a dude. And not like some kind of middle-ground androgynous look, she was full-on “dragalicious,” as Miss J put it.

And if looking trantastic wasn’t hurdle enough, she was old (for a model). However, she never seemed to let these potentially major limitations limit her ambitions. She felt she deserved to be America’s Next Top Model, and she wound up making it to the final three. Whether or not she would have made it that far without her self-confidence is hard to imagine, especially on that show which is notorious for picking off the weak and the insecure.

Such hubris might rub us the wrong way, but there is something rather mesmerizing, and, even, grudgingly admirable about someone who refuses to let self-doubt or insecurity hold them back.

3. They’re funny.

Comedy isn’t, generally, about being nice. Sure, you can poke fun in a gentle way, but you are still poking fun. And the villains, already hated and therefore free from any need to make themselves liked, have frequently been among the most entertaining in the ubiquitous candid interview segments on reality shows. (Okay, they’re no Oscar Wilde, but this is reality television and everything is relative.) Santino Rice on Season Two of Project Runway, New York on Flavor of Love, now Michael Adams on Top Design…their scathing comments about their competitors are just so deliciously evil or biting that one can’t help but laugh.

So watch out for these types of folks in real life...they might be entertaining, but beware: they might also be out to vote you off what every metaphorical island you are on with them!

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Reality TV:

Lesson 1: How to Wrestle Back Dignity from Utter Humiliation
Lesson 2: How to Lose Friends and Alienate Everybody
Lesson 3: The All-Tim Gunn Edition
Lesson 4: Why We Love Bad Boys and Girls
Lesson 5: Skills Don't Always Pay the Bills
Lesson 6: Law of the Jungle
Lesson 7: Mean Girls Do Cry

(Images Courtesy of CBS, CW)