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Published:June 12th, 2007 06:37 EST

Reality Shows vs Real Life

By Carolee Kaufold

I admit it; I love to watch reality shows. Why? You are asking, is this old gal out of her mind? The fact is, when I was a young girl, I would often ride the buses and the subways, just to people watch. I would wonder what they were doing, where they were going and if they had a story to tell.

As I got older, I sat next to them; I stood in line with them, and asked them-- well, not at first, but soon into the conversation. I have had some life changing conversations, let me tell you. Just a few months ago, I met an older gent; he was waiting for his wife at a Florida Mall. He asked if he could join me on the bench where I was sitting. He was 89 years old and was from Kentucky. As a young lad, he worked for "the" Colonel Sanders and knew his family well. That conversation is a treasure I will long remember.

Another time, I was at the Austin Texas Airport and a young girl sat next to me. She told me her mom sent her to live with her sister, because she was getting into trouble at home. Her sister and brother-in-law were serving in Iraq and needed her to watch their children. She told me that, because of this experience, she had grown to appreciate her mom more and was going home to tell her so. I have many more stories I could share, but now I am comparing Reality Shows with Real Life; so, here goes.

TV shows cannot touch real life-- we don`t have cameras in our faces 24/7. We don`t have producers telling us to do something we might not normally do. We don`t drink, cuss or flirt that much. I certainly do not wear a next-to-nothing bathing suit. I do hot tub, but not with 7 other people. I like to dance, but, sadly, not with Apollo Anton Ohno. I cannot sing like Carrie Underwood, so no America Idol for me. I would never live in a house for 3 months and be watched by 74 cameras. The Bachelor was cute, but most of the girls were so needy. Real World, Celebrity Fit Club, even the late Anna Nicole Smith Show, have too much dysfunction for me.

Getting back to why I watch them. I wonder why these people do what they do, what makes them uncover themselves for TV watchers? My time on this earth is getting shorter and I should be using my time more wisely, but I still sit in front of the TV with my diet coke and buttered popcorn and watch. My viewing habits have change to more HGTV and TLC shows; and, Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser and Extreme Home Makeover. They provide more upbeat shows for me. You know:  the kind of shows that make you cry because they highlight people who have overcome hardships and are doing something better with their lives.

Every once in a while I still peak at Big Brother, Hell`s Kitchen, Project Runway and Wife Swap. I guess I am not that old after all.