British Reality TV Reigns Supreme


Jessie Larrinaga

British and American reality television shows share some similarities, but the differences between them make British shows much more enjoyable to watch. In the shows I’ve watched, even if the American and British counterparts had the same premise or concept, the British version had more likeable contestants and genuine seeming content.

Jessie Larrinaga, Managing Editor

Reality TV is enjoyed by millions of viewers. The Bachelor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Voice, Top Chef, and so many more American TV shows are available through platforms like Netflix, Hulu and traditional cable. But compared to British reality television, American shows don’t stand a chance.  

Firstly, American mannerisms can come off as much harsher – more blunt and less refined, and there is needless drama in American shows that doesn’t contribute to the real issues. In British television, the contestants always seem to be more respectful towards each other – this might have something to do with the fact that British accents are much nicer to listen to than Americans screeching at each other.  

One example for this can be found in “finding love” shows. Comparing Bachelor in Paradise to Love Island (UK), the shows have essentially the same concept. A group of men and women go to a secluded island with the intention of finding someone to form a romantic relationship with. There are dates, challenges, often love triangles, and people get voted off if they’re unable to connect with someone.  

Despite these shows being so similar in this sense, I would much rather watch Love IslandThe contestants form friendships with each other as opposed to the very catty behaviors and rivalries shown on Bachelor in Paradise. They also seem more genuine in their connections. It is very clear in the American show that parts are scripted, and some relationships are forced, which is seen less in the British alternative.  

When viewing cooking shows, I’m not watching to see drama and arguments. I’m watching to see the food, the process, and the judging. On American shows like Top Chef, the chefs act aggressively towards each other and have pointless arguments. But on British cooking shows, like The Great British Bake Off, there is none of this. All the bakers are nice to each other and don’t get upset even when they lose. They hold themselves with grace and dignity, which is more than can be said for chefs on American cooking challenges.  

Another aspect of British shows that makes them better is that it’s more of an immersive experience. You’re listening to people who don’t sound like those around you all day. This makes it more fun to watch. In shows like The Great British Bake Off,” they make things that aren’t what an American would typically eat, which is more interesting than seeing foods you would consume in day-to-day life.  

They also use different words – biscuits are their term for cookies, bap for bread rolls and fairy cakes for cupcakes. The dialect that is seen in this show adds an element that isn’t present in American TV. 

Luckily, with today’s streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, it’s possible to watch shows from all over the world. We aren’t limited to only viewing domestically created content, which is why watching British shows is even possible. I think that we should take advantage of this, because it enables viewers to see things that are better quality