Reality TV is preserving the long lost art of not binging | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

Reality TV is preserving the long lost art of not binging

In an age where the world of entertainment is at our fingertips, it’s become incredibly easy to use our devices to tune out the world.

Television used to be something that was on a week-to-week, season-to-season basis. Audiences would huddle excitedly around a communal screen and be exposed to incremental bouts of story. There was an opportunity to digest the content as a group, to deepen connections based on opinions of characters, experiencing a cliffhanger, or the various twists and turns of an episodic plotline. Before various streaming services began to offer every show imaginable on an app, there was an inherent sense of community in television.

There still exists one exception: reality TV — more specifically, “The Bachelor.”

While of course there is still an audience bond in television, there’s an undeniable charm that holds up with “The Bachelor.” The show is an absurdist collection of characters looking for love on live television, yet it holds all the elements that are necessary to create a consistent community within an audience.

“The Bachelor” harbors a treasure trove of experiences people can’t help but want to share. The optimistic view of watching people genuinely fall in love and achieve human connection is one that is accompanied by an inherent sense of togetherness. Conversely, the drama, fights and intrigue are suddenly so much more unhinged when in a room of people screaming maniacally at the screen.

“The Bachelor” is also one of the few shows that continues to receive consistent media coverage. This makes for a sense of urgency; if one episode is missed, the drama will immediately be picked apart and spoiled, so live viewing is pertinent.

The timing of the show on its own is something that evokes a need for support. To devote two hours every single week to watch non-stop drama is a huge commitment. However, this commitment is made easier when in a community. It becomes a shared experience as opposed to watching a screen in solitude.

A feeling of belonging accompanies the devotion of watching “The Bachelor.” It is something that, even if you’re alone, you know you’ll always be watching the same thing as millions of other people in that exact moment. The community runs so deep as to be a self-proclaimed “Bachelor Nation.”

There simply is something different about watching “The Bachelor.” It’s an experience built upon an artificially fabricated sense of reality and fueled by cliffhangers. Being that it isn’t always readily available in bulk, there’s more incentive to actually keep up. Binge-culture can imply an element of solitude. While there still is community with shows available for streaming, it’s a more quiet and detached kind. “The Bachelor” offers a timeless experience of live viewing, sparking conversation and connections around episodic melodramas.