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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I'm going to make a frank confession here.

I watch reality shows.

I watch a lot of them. Way too many, in fact. I watched Joe Millionaire last night. I'll watch The Bachelorette tomorrow and likely Survivor on Thursday. I enjoyed every season of The Amazing Race and will probably watch the next one, too. Amazingly—to me at least—I find myself constantly watching inspid dating shows like Blind Date, The Fifth Wheel, Shipmates, and Rendez-View.

To be fair, I watch a lot of non-reality TV and a lot of movies as well. I watch The Simpsons and Seinfeld nearly every night. I also read extensively and surf widely. But I find the reality TV watching to be the odd man out, so to speak.

What is it about those shows that makes me want to watch them? I'm not generally a naturalist in my artistic tastes. I've never been one for schadenfreude or envy—note the conspicuous absence of Fear Factor or some of the more horrible Fox specials. What's even more curious is my near-total lack of interest in the lives of most people. I'm beginning to think that I may be more interested in psychology than I thought. Perhaps, subconsciously, I've come to view these shows as raw data for observing situations that I will probably never personally experience.

After all, I'll probably never be stranded on a deserted island with a group of strangers, choosing a wife among a slew of strangers, or even dating indiscriminately. And I really don't want to either—but perhaps I do want to experience it vicariously or to understand it through observation. I'd like to believe that it's really just a implicit manifestation of an interest in psychology rather than a subterranean desire to do those other things. Introspectively, I think the former is the reason because I bought a number of psychology and psychology-related books at the VNSA book sale last Sunday.

Definitely something to keep an eye on, though.