I’ve figured out over the years there are two kinds of people: those who like reality TV and those who mock reality TV but watch it in private. Seems that almost everyone has a niche that they like to watch. Some enjoy Hoarders (I like to watch once a year or so and then I clean out closets like a possessed person). Others enjoy the home improvement shows or the PBS Life In the Prairie/VictorianMansion/EdwardianRowHouse shows. Still others get into the love-based reality shows (and I’ll confess here I’m an inveterate Bachelor-watcher. I adore watching all the women get so excited about the possibility of falling in love. I’m less excited about TheBachelorette because I can go down to the financial district in San Francisco if I want to watch that many young men posturing for attention).
There’s a secret about reality TV that no one talks about, though.
Those shows can be good for the heart.
Just like romance novels.
They’re not guilty pleasures—they’re just pleasures. And there’s nothing wrong with those, and don’t let anyone tell you there is.
Six seasons of America’s Next Top Model got me through my mother’s death. At the end of long, anxious, miserable days, I opened my computer, put in my earbuds, and disappeared into the world in which Tyra Banks played a gorgeous house mother to women who were trying to live their dream (even though I just wanted to feed each one of those women three or four slices of cheesecake).
When I didn’t know how to help a friend when she was very low, I attempted to hook her on Project Runway. Another dear friend is currently going through a dark vale, and she’s been watching The Great British Bake Off.
We all need escape sometimes from a life that while often very, very good, can be very, very hard. That escape doesn’t have to be mindless. It can be mindful.
Think about it—escaping for a little while is just taking care of someone else you care about: Yourself.
I was recently in a hospital room with a loved one. We watched The Property Brothers to escape the terrible pings and beeps that go along with a stay like that.
I mocked the brothers terribly. Look at his hair! Is every show this scripted? Why do they constantly knock out load-bearing walls?
But it passed the time. We laughed. We were interested in something that didn’t really matter, but something that lightened the heart.
And I realized that I’d love to write a reality show series.
So here’s the first in the Ballard Brothers series. It’sThe Property Brothers meets the Bachelor, set on the California coast in the town of Darling Bay. I fell in love with Liam while writing him, and so did Felicia, the network executive who ends up accidentally starring in her own show (oops!).
Buy it today here:
And now, after a lot of hard work and a couple of difficult weeks, I’m going to engage in my own form of escape. I’m going to watch the second season ofUnReal, which is a behind-the-scenes drama abouta reality show much like the Bachelor. It was just profiled in the New Yorker (yep, I totally just said that for the snobbish lit cred I’m still sometimes guilty of desiring).
I hope you love On the Market. Let me know what you think.
xo and escapism of many forms,