'Jersey Shore,' 'Kardashians' dramatic addictions

Reality TV culture is not always a bad thing.

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When I returned home for winter break, I was most excited to watch reruns. Of course, I wanted to see my family and friends, eat a home-cooked meal and sleep in my own bed, but the truth is, I couldn't wait to catch up on some trashy television. What was I thankful for at Thanksgiving? DVR. And I could watch TV with my family and friends while eating a home-cooked meal, right? Maybe not in my bed, but I wouldn't rule out that idea either.

Reality television, as I'm sure all of you know, is a huge trend in our culture. Shows range from the funny to the romantic to the serious. Personally, I'm addicted.

Sadly, I sometimes schedule my plans around my favorite shows. Sunday night, I have to watch "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"; Monday, "The Bachelor"; Thursday, "Jersey Shore" — I'm sure you catch my drift.

I even own many of my favorites on DVD. I constantly watch "Newlyweds" even though Nick and Jessica are no longer together. I own every season of "The Hills" and, I'm ashamed to admit, "The Simple Life" (you know, with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie...maybe it's just me). And I've already ordered my copy of "Jersey Shore" — just kidding, but I'm thinking about it.

Shows can even be a bonding experience. My father loves the Kardashians and "Jersey Shore." During a game of charades on Christmas Eve with the family, my dad and I began to "beat back the beat," working our way up to a full fist pump à la Pauly D. Ironically, everyone knew who we were imitating, just as I'm sure you can picture the scene now.

Last weekend, here on campus, I even went to a "Jersey Shore" themed party. It was hilarious to see the dark tans, the teased hair, the Ed Hardy, the ripped jeans and the tight shirts. It was also fun to see everyone laughing over a shared pop culture reference.

In my Introduction to British Literature class this week, students were slumped over their desks, texting on their phones, chatting on their computers and staring at the clock. Yet, at my professor's comparison of our reading to "Jersey Shore," hands began to go up. Many of us have something to say once we are comfortable with a topic to which we can all relate. And, I mean, who doesn't watch "Jersey Shore," right?

But, what does it say about our generation when shows, such as "Sixteen and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom," obtain high ratings? Or, when a woman is assaulted (Snookie on "Jersey Shore," anyone?), viewers tune in by the millions? Our culture thrives on drama. Although not necessarily a flaw, where do we draw the line? What kind of values are we instilling in generations to come?

Although I don't know the answer, I will say our society does value a good underdog story as demonstrated by Susan Boyle on "Britain's Got Talent." So maybe reality television isn't all bad — it's all about preference.

I, for one, can't get enough.

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