How Reality TV Builds Narrative Is Crucial to Understanding Trump


Reality TV has become important. If this kind of entertainment has the potential to create US president, we better pay attention to it. Whether we like Reality TV or not, it is here to stay for some time. You never know where Kim Kardashian might end up tomorrow.

I don’t know that it helps much, ultimately. The ability to watch Trump’s horrifying press conference tangents and see the parallels with an After the Final Rose special hardly feels like the most useful response to a national crisis. But if nothing else, those parallels feel like a framework to hold onto when everything else is so hard to parse. I could tear my hair out wondering why the president-elect is calling Meryl Streep overrated, or I could remember that Twitter feuds are a vital part of the reality-TV transmedia experience — they build fans into an imagined community of people with shared values and teams. I could watch a disastrous press conference and wonder how any of us will survive, or I could come away with at least one actionable takeaway — if you don’t ask short, simple questions, like a good reality TV host would, it’s too easy for the subject to squirrel away.

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Kathryn VanArendonk — Vulture

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