When it comes to reality TV, the drama is everything. Personalities like Angie Kent can thrive in these environments because play up this drama, either deliberately or inadvertently because of who they are.
Reality TV shows normally involve some kind of situation where the contestants are taken away from their normal day-to-day life. Many of them will restrict the use of phones and limit or outright prohibit contact with the outside world.
For stars like Angie Kent, this puts them in a situation where they are in a hot pot with other personalities. These personalities are often chosen deliberately to create conflict (like putting people of opposing political beliefs in the same hotel room for a week).
This can be seen on the show that Angie Kent is most famous for – the Bachelorette. The premise of the show was that she would go on dates with a variety of different men who were, in essence, in competition for her affection.
The prize was a relationship with Angie Kent, who is a conventionally attractive and personable young woman. The irony is that the Carlin Sterritt’s (the winner) relationship with Angie Kent only lasted 10 months before they split.
The reasons they split seem to be that they had different values, that Carlin was a more of a conservative Christian whereas Angie Kent was a more carefree kind of person. You might expect that they would have predicted their values were not in alignment before forming a relationship, but they wouldn’t be the first couple to make this innocent mistake.
When you realise how short-lived and lacklustre their relationship was, it’s a wonder that the show building up their romance was ever interesting to watch. You could be forgiven for believing that Angie Kent and the men on the show were only seeking publicity as D-list TV personalities, rather than any sincere connection.
Despite this, people still love to tune into these kinds of shows and see people like Angie Kent endlessly talk about their feelings. There’s no shortage of explanations offered by psychologists trying to get their name out about the chemical satisfaction that guilty pleasure TV gives us.
The reason people like Angie Kent are interesting is similar to why people stare at the scene of a car crash. People are drawn to chaos and drama – nobody watches the Bachelorette because they want to see people have cute little dates and fall in love, they want to see tears and arguments.
The show Angie Kent featured on was all about inviting relationship-based drama that people could watch and then muse about on social media. The point of the show’s existence is to be a vehicle for product placement and keep people seated for ads.
There is a FOMO (fear of missing out) attached to this. Viewers are encouraged to speak about the show on social media and debate with one another about which guy Angie Kent should end up dating.
The platform Twitter has become the unofficial message board for reality TV, where hashtags allow for an endless stream of opinions to be shared in real-time. This is why phrases like “join the conversation on Twitter” are said during the show.
All of this encourages more conversation about what Angie Kent is doing and therefore brings in more viewers to be exposed to advertising. This conversation about the show is half the value of participating in it, and people fear missing out on being a part of this exchange.
It’s human nature to want to be in the know and to have your opinions valued. It creates a sense of community, and even a shallow community is better than none at all for many people.
None of this is especially clever or complex when you spend a few minutes thinking about it. The bonus is that people are largely self-aware and cite that fact that they shamelessly love to watch ‘trash TV’ like the Bachelorette.
Angie Kent herself likely had no intention of finding true love on the show, and merely used it as a vehicle to elevate her as a personality. She no doubt gained many more followers on her social media as a result of the show and is likely on a shortlist of candidates for other reality TV projects.
However, even knowing the insincerity of the participants in these shows, people are still drawn to them. In fact, many people watch reality shows because they know how fake it all is and laugh at the premise.
But even if you watch the shows ironically, you are still being exposed to the advertising. No matter how cynical you think you are, Angie Kent and those like her drawn you in and capture your attention, for better or worse.
It’s unlikely the paradigm is going to shift any time soon. In a late-stage capitalist society like this one, the product that reality TV is will be continued until it fails to make money. As of right now, reality tv seems to be making more money than it ever has.
This is no doubt because the science of how to make a commercially effective reality show with people like Angie Kent has been perfected. These shows are edited to the extent that it’s a struggle to even call them true reality TV.
The definition of reality TV is that they are real people who aren’t portraying a written character and are in real situations. However, it appears more and more than these shows are heavily scripted, or at least heavily edited to produce the most dramatic viewing possible.
One of the most obvious examples of this editing process is known as ‘frakenbiting’. This is when an editor cuts up and mashes together phrases spoken by on-screen people like Angie Kent to make a more succinct and dramatic result.
The worst examples of this have people appear to be saying things they never said as their words are cut and pasted to convey different things. This is just standard fare when it comes to reality TV shows that people like Angie Kent appear on.
Sometimes it is very clear that the reactions are scripted, and the show falls into a grey area. This is especially the case with shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians where their everyday life is made to appear more interesting than it really is by playing up every little thing that could be construed as situational.
So, why are reality stars like Angie Kent so interesting? Basically, they are only a few degrees away from being actors in that they are playing a role and being put in situations that audiences are meant to find relatable.
Audiences like to see people like Angie Kent come to their breaking point and experience a range of emotions on-screen. Reality TV plays into the most basic human attraction to drama, without the audience being personally implicated in any way.
Ultimately, reality TV shows featuring personalities like Angie Kent are appealing because they give people a close look at struggles of someone else without involving them. Spectating the drama of others will forever be a guilty pleasure that almost everyone indulges in at one point or another.