For all the complaining that viewers do about how "fake" the people and situations are on reality TV shows, fans can still get very emotionally invested in the stories that emerge. When they are that invested, fans find it extremely satisfying to see a reality TV villain get what's coming to them. It's a case of karma catching up to nasty people, and fans love it.
A great example can be seen on a recent episode of "Project Runway All Stars." Just two episodes in, and Season 1 villain Wendy Pepper got the boot. This greatly pleased long-time fans of the show, who were still bitter about how Wendy whined and manipulated her way into the finale all those years ago.
Both Wendy and Peach Carr were older female contestants not expected to do well in this season of "All Stars," but there was a key difference between them: Peach was kind and sweet, and Wendy was cold and ruthless. Both women may have had styles that were a bit matronly, but fans were sad to see Peach eliminated in the first episode of the season. In contrast, almost no one was sad to see Wendy get sent packing. Seeing her summarily dismissed from the show was utterly satisfying.
Another great example of a satisfying "comeuppance" moment on reality TV took place during another all-star show: "Top Chef All-Stars." Fans of the show will recall that about halfway through the season, Mike Isabella became the show's villain, constantly defeating beloved underdog Richard Blais in a long string of challenges.
After Mike blatantly stole a recipe idea from Richard and won a challenge with it, fans began to hate Mike's tactics and personality. In the show's finale episode, Mike and Richard faced off for the title and cash prize. Seeing Richard eventually beat Mike was one the most satisfying moments on TV that year. Also great: seeing fellow contestants Spike and Marcel not get anywhere close to the finale due to their complete inability to learn from their past mistakes.
Another example of a reality TV show that provided fans with a satisfying moment of karmic retribution was "Survivor: One World," aka Season 24. One of the most hated contestants was Colton, a weak-bodied guy with a serious manipulative streak. From telling people that he wanted them to catch on fire to his prejudiced behavior toward other contestants, it's likely that not a single viewer at home liked the way Colton acted.
So when Colton developed a case of probable appendicitis and had to forfeit his spot on the show, plenty of "Survivor" fans were happy to see that karma had caught up with this truly unlikeable person. But in true Colton fashion, he took his idol with him.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Wendy Pepper
- reality TV shows
- Richard Blais