My Reality TV Dreams, Crushed

Because I tend to ponder Life’s Big Questions, I always wonder if I could make it to the merge on Survivor.

I was reminded yesterday that the answer is no.

One of my favorite YouTube videos of the last few years is the “I’m not here to make friends” montage—a collection of various reality TV stars (I use that term loosely) reminding their fellow contestants, or the at-home viewer via confessional, that they are by no means on a BFF search.

The “I’m not here to make friends” mantra is generally used in one of two scenarios: an excuse for back-stabbing or, oddly enough, as an excuse for being nice to someone (as in, “no, I’m not here to make friends, but if we butter her up now she’ll join our alliance later”).

Luckily, this blog is entirely unrelated to Paris Hilton’s reality show, My New BFF, though I recognize the thematic similarities. There will be no reward challenges or elimination rounds. Because if this video taught me anything, it’s that I am not made for TV. And that reality show contestants are insane.

As an attempt to extract a serious question out of a ridiculous video, I ask you this: Are competition and friendship mutually exclusive? Can you be up against someone else for a $1 million, or the love of a Bachelor, and simultaneously forge a bond? Clearly we know what they think, but what about you? Also, does anyone other than me think this video is amazingly hilarious?


Filed under Everything I Know I Learned on TV

5 responses to “My Reality TV Dreams, Crushed

  1. Whenever you put two people (or a group of people) through an experience together, especially an experience that adds a certain degree of pressure or stress, those individuals walk away with a shared experience.

    However, for those people sharing an experience to also walk away with a friendship, there have to be two parties willing to make new friends. As someone who might be a little too fond of some reality shows (Top Chef, Project Runway, The Amazing Race, the list goes on), I have seen competitors become incredibly close and I’ve also seen the ugly back-stabbing nonsense. Sometimes it happens; other times it doesn’t. It all depends on the parties involved.

  2. I definitely don’t think the war zone created on reality shows is fertile ground for friendship building. Maybe for the briefest of moments immediately afterwards, when you are all thrown into the glare of the public spotlight, but a solid friendship can’t be formed out of betrayal, deception and fierce competition, can it? I know that Gia Allemand and Vienna Girardi (Bachelor contestant and winner, respectively) have made many public appearances as “friends.” But how often do women stay close friends with someone who made out with their boyfriend?

  3. I totally agree with Nilsa. Relationships are forged on shared experiences…it’s why we have work friends and camp friends and college friends. In reality shows, the motives might be skewed a bit due to the competition but true friendships do emerge.

  4. Ana

    I agree with above posters about the shared experience being a good foundation for starting a friendship. Especially if both end up being losers—it’d be hard to have a true friendship between a loser and a winner—as much as you try to be happy for your friends, if they get what it is that you desperately wanted, jealousy would definitely sink in.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that reality TV contestants are very carefully screened for CRAZY, and CRAZY doesn’t usually make for an empathetic and thoughtful friend 🙂

  5. I think when 2 people are competing for one thing, it’s tough to have a genuine friendships form. When you are friends with a person, you want the very best for them. But in a competitive environment, you’d be hoping they’d fail. I think you could have some sort of friendship since it’s a shared experience, but I don’t think you could be *best* friends…

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