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10 reality TV shows that have hidden depth

Some cultural critics may view reality television as a frivolous and unchallenging art form, but some series in the genre provide commentary on universal themes and experiences in addition to providing viewers with easily digestible entertainment. Some reality shows illustrate the difficulty of seeking romantic love with a precision that more respected mediums are not always able to achieve, while others display the nuances of group behavior with a simplicity that promotes understanding. of the spectator without condescension.

The most effective of these programs touch on substantive concepts with a subtlety that allows entertainment value to come first.

The circle

This Netflix phenomenon unabashedly embraces the light and the trivial (as evidenced by producers asking contestants to wear absurd costumes or play light games), but the show’s driving force is its examination of the virtual interactions that are become so essential to modern life.

Players have the option of entering the contest as themselves or in disguise, which highlights our inability to know another person’s authenticity when communicating with them online. In addition to providing carefree entertainment, the series examines the influence of the internet on young adults in the 21st century.


Survivor, one of the first reality competition series to achieve widespread relevance, is perhaps one of the most notable programs of the genre. Devoted fans of the show appreciate its raw depiction of human behavior, and they watch it to understand the finer details of group dynamics and to observe how relationships are formed under critical circumstances.

Those interested in fields such as sociology and psychology would benefit from seeing this highly regarded and phenomenally successful series, both to expand their knowledge base and to enjoy the connections between the contestants.

Too hot to handle

Although it’s based on an episode of the not-so-serious iconic sitcom Seinfeld, this Netflix reality series explores human sexuality with a depth that many may not give it on their first viewing. The show asks attractive, hedonistic young adults to refrain from sexual contact and instead spend their time bonding on an emotional basis.

While it’s not clear that many contestants permanently change their behavior after filming (which fans can discern from where the Too hot to handle cast members are now), observant viewers will learn more about their own romantic and sexual tendencies by observing the tortured cast members.

The Bachelor Franchise

ABC three Bachelor The programs have developed a reputation as low-key, intellectually draining pranks, but their enduring success is arguably due to their reflection of our own romantic desires and interpersonal behavior. Each season’s “lead” is often forced to choose between contestants who best suit their personal growth and those who are superficially appealing to them, and Bachelor Mansion residents often struggle to remain civil to one another. under the weight of competition.

The franchise has notably produced a number of successful relationships (with recent Bachelorette Michelle Young and her chosen partner Nayte Olukoya being the most prominent example of recent seasons), and fans of the franchise often attribute those wins to toughness. of those involved. parties.

Fantastic race

This long-running GameSpot series immerses its contestants in unfamiliar environments rather than containing them in one place, and thus expands the perspectives of its participants. The home viewers’ horizons are expanded in tandem with those of the contestants, making the show feel more substantial than its simpler, lighter challenges suggest.

Fantastic raceThe emotional weight and intellectual components of stand in contrast to the superficiality that much of the general public attributes to reality television, even as the show adheres to many customs of the genre.

Are you the chosen one?

Are you the chosen one? combines the wholesome search for love at the heart of shows such as The single person and Love is blind with the relentless pursuit of financial reward on which series such as Survivor and Fantastic race are centered. Many of the activities the contestants pass the time with are hedonistic and meaningless — a remarkable number of scenes involve cigarettes and swimming pools — but the determination with which contestants try to identify their professionally selected “perfect match” sometimes rewards them. with relationships. that are more meaningful than the ones they normally engage in (as evidenced by the top couples of Are you the chosen one?).

Despite its outward appearance as a way for carefree young adults to socialize and win prizes, the show teaches contestants to seek out life partners based on personal characteristics rather than superficial traits.

Love is blind

This Netflix series first gained attention for its unique premise – unlike other reality shows, it requires contestants to select their partners before seeing or meeting them – and it has maintained its audience by proving that its unconventional methodology is sometimes effective (although some Love is blind the cast members deserve better than the result they receive).

Because those who participate in a season of Love is Blind are unable to select their partners based on their physique, the relationships that are formed are often more stable and rewarding than those produced by more conventional dating shows. This series’ efforts to encourage mature and thoughtful dating choices make it more impactful than just entertainment.

The Kardashians

The Kardashian family dominated American cultural conversation for more than a decade, but much of the respect and influence the family now enjoys has been earned through projects outside of the E ! series that established their fame (most notable of these being Kim’s efforts to secure the freedom of innocent death row inmates). The Kardashians, the Hulu series which debuted this year and returned the family to TV screens nationwide, is seen by many as vapid and unintellectual, failing to contribute significantly to society to the extent that charitable work family did.

These critics fail to acknowledge the show’s flawless portrayal of life in high society and the insight these images provide to those trying to understand the beneficiaries of our highly stratified economy.

The Masked Singer

The NBC Phenomenon The Masked Singera somewhat psychedelic and decidedly bizarre singing competition in which the contestants are completely concealed by costumes and two of the four judges have no experience in the music industry, was primarily created to provide mindless entertainment for those who seek respite from the stress of their routines.

While the show generally eschews serious subject matter and strays from philosophy, the practice of judging singers’ performances without knowing their identities shows audiences that an individual can have value unrelated to their public image.

Inconvenient Wildcards

This iconic and long-standing TruTV the series that IMDb considers one of the best reality TV shows of all time regularly draws more laughs than the scripted comedy manages to, with the great improvisational skill of its stars and the skill from its producers allowing for brilliantly uncomfortable episodes that spanned more than a decade.

The series is primarily designed as light escapism, but those wishing to derive more meaningful value from it may note that the social norms that the Jokers violate turn out to be more deeply ingrained than viewers may have previously known. The show’s humor stems from the surprising delicacy of shared social interaction, a depth that many wouldn’t expect a comedy reality show to contain.

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