14 Days of Love Day 8: Why Do We Love Reality Dating Shows?

Nicole Martin, Copy Editor

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have found ourselves attached to our screens, watching drama unfold through reality television — more specifically, reality dating shows. With shows like “Love Island,” “Love Is Blind,” “90 Day Fiance,” “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” taking the media by storm with their unrealistic relationship dynamics and unnecessary drama, it begs the question: why do we love reality dating shows so much?

  • Happiness and Mental Release

In a time of uncertainty and division, feel-good shows like reality dating shows are the perfect remedy. The whole appeal behind reality dating shows is the fantasy of true love and seemingly happy endings. Viewers, by watching these shows, get sucked into these worlds of lavish living, perfect dates and enticing drama; therefore, these aspects of fantastical love and happy endings without hassle are the perfect form of mental release throughout the trying times of the past two years. In addition, these shows, with the addition of a likely physically attractive cast, release the chemical for happiness, dopamine.

  • Sense of Community

With the rise of social media, consuming reality dating shows across apps and streaming platforms has become the norm, and for many reality dating fans, social media is a way to express their support for these shows. Through the use of social media, fans of these shows have a way to build a community with other fans. For example, when the popular reality dating show, “Love Island,” came out, fans across the world were able to gather together and have an open and supportive conversation about the show’s new episode.

Through social media, fans are able to cheer on their favorite matches or couples, some of which remain together to this day, such as Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici from season 17 of “The Bachelor.” 

It is a similar case for Netflix’s “Love Is Blind,” a show where possible couples go on blind dates and get engaged before seeing one another’s faces. When “Love Is Blind” came out, Twitter and the media erupted with various articles and forums that analyzed every single one of the show’s couples. Through these light-hearted discussions and articles, the show’s fans felt a sense of joy and interest despite the overall toxicity of social media in general.

  • Allows Us To Indulge in Drama

It is no secret that people love drama, which is one thing that reality dating shows are full of. Whether it be waiting for who is going to receive the rose in the Rose Ceremony in “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” and who is going to go home or who will be “dumped” in “Love Island” by popular vote, we love to see the drama that unfolds. 

Why do we love this drama so much, though? According to Psychology Today, one of the reasons that reality dating fans enjoy the drama of these shows may be because of a lack of connection. In other words, the less we find ourselves connected to the people closest to us, the more we may seek some source of drama or excitement.

Even if this is not the case, however, by nature, humans simply love any confrontation that does not involve them, which makes reality dating shows the most perfect solution.

Through the real people in these shows, we find ourselves living through their actions and attaching ourselves to the lives they lead on these shows, including the drama that follows. Vicariously living through these reality stars means that viewers do not have to experience any of the actual risks of heartbreak or drama in their real lives.