Reality TV friendships: real or fake? Another piece for news.com.au.
Another piece for news.com.au.
According to my social media channels today, I’m not the only person still left feeling dumbfounded and heavy hearted after last night’s ‘The Block: Glasshouse’ finale.
All those long sleepless nights, the days spent away from their kids, the strained muscles and sore backs, tears and tantrums…for what? A measly $10k for two of the couples.
Christ, I sunbaked for 9 weeks and walked away with $5k, simply for winning a Big Brother ‘Showdown’ which consisted of walking across a balancing beam and completing a spelling bee!
But lets forget the hoo-ha about reserve prices and auctioneer tactics for a second- there are more than enough articles dissecting the in’s and outs of what went wrong last night.
What I want to discuss is something a little different. I want to talk camaraderie.
Because it wasn’t the fact that poor Darren and Dee would be walking away barely breaking even that was making my face leak last night. It was the other teams waiting in the wings, holding their breath, watching and crying with disappointment, absolutely gutted for their fellow contestants.
When brothers Shannon and Simon Voss realized they had taken home the top prize and thus won the latest series, there was no jumping around. No confetti from the roof. In fact, Simon turned away from the camera, wiping back tears from his face.
It was impossible for the boys to celebrate their huge win when their team mates - the guys who had been slogging away with them facing the same challenges, losing the same amount of sleep, spending the same amount of time away from their family and friends - were walking away with almost nothing.
It just didn’t feel right to celebrate. Yeah sure it was a competition at the end of the day, but they were all in this together.
The friendships and camaraderie you form on reality television programs such as The Block are, in my opinion, the best part of the whole experience.
Forget the end prize.
Whether it’s winning the heart of a man you barely know, a huge cash injection or a car, your mortgage paid for, a modeling contract, record or cook book deal…or $250,000 as the winner of Big Brother, at the end of the day, it’s the people you meet along the way that make the experience what it is. They’re the faces you’ll remember when you look back on your 15 minutes. They’re the ones who’ll remember the late nights, the hilarious behind the scenes antics, the mentality of what it was like onboard the reality TV rollercoaster.
Since leaving Big Brother last year I have come to meet (and make dear friends with), quite a few ex-reality TV contestants. Us D-graders tend to be invited to the same events, put on the same tables…and there is a mutual understanding between all of us that results in fast and long-lasting friendships.
Who else better to laugh off Twitter trolls with? To discuss the stressful process of eliminations or evictions? To debate whether the whole experience was worth quitting your day job for?
Who else will understand what it’s like to go from being a nobody to being yelled at in the streets? And then eventually, back to a nobody?
Not to mention the fact that chances are, if you applied for a reality television program, you’re more than likely a fan of other reality television programs.
So in a super creepy way, we all feel like we know each other via our silver screens already.
Whilst my friends and family have always been incredibly supportive, the people who offered me the most insight and understanding post-Big Brother were the housemates from the previous season.
Stacey, Michael and Ben were all subjected to various hysterical phone calls from me where I would ask them “What the fuck do I do with my life now?” or “How did you deal with the new series staring?” or “Why am I losing so many Instagram followers? THEY ARE ALL I HAVE!”
Paying it forward, I’ve already been in touch with most of the 2014 evictee’s, offering a shoulder if they ever need one…or at least an understanding ear for them to offload to.
This past weekend I spent quite a bit of time with some of the girls from the latest Bachelor and it became very obvious to me that this wasn’t just a Big Brother thing.
Those girls have rallied around Sam like a heard of mumma Rhino’s trying to protect their young. I’m pretty sure I saw Zoe throw herself in front of Sam like a human-shield in order to protect her from the paparazzi following us out of an event the other night.
In fact, each and every one of the Bachelor girls that I’ve spoken to has agreed that the best part of the show was making “29 new best friends.”
And that’s not just Channel 10 spin they’ve been instructed to rattle off- that is how they genuinely feel, from the bottom of their hearts.
“Do you still catch up with the other housemates?” is probably one of the most commonly asked questions I receive on the streets and on my social media channels. (Well that and, “Are you still with Drew?” to which I reply, “No, he has a new girlfriend. I’m single though if you’re interested?”)
The answer is, and always will be, yes! Those guys are family to me now. Like with The Block and The Bachelor, we all shared an experience that no one else will ever quite understand and it will forever link us as people and as friends.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter why we signed up as contestants or what we’ve been competing against each other for- it’s the journey, not the end prize that matters.