Why We Love to Hate Reality Show Villains

If you're a fan of reality television, you inevitably have a favorite and a least favorite. You spend your time on the couch rooting devotedly for your favorite participant and wishing ill-will on your least favorite and the judges who keep him or her there. The villain on the show quickly becomes your own personal villain, and once they're finally voted out you feel victorious, relieved and ... wait, what now? Smooth sailing is reality television's worst enemy. The bad guy, as much as you hate him, is the fuel that feeds the fire of drama.

MSN recently released a list of Reality TV's Most Memorable Villains, which includes pain-in-the-ass royalty like Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth and Heidi and Spencer Pratt. These are people that we think have overstayed their welcome and squeezed 24 hours from their 15 minutes of fame.

The truth is, though, they're doing exactly what they should be doing and, more importantly, what they want to be doing. In one video posted with MSN's list, Matt Lauer interviews Stephen Battaglio, business editor at TV Guide Magazine about the science of reality television. For personalities like Heidi and Spencer, who seemed to become famous for no reason, "being on television and getting attention is the oxygen that sustains them," he said. Breaking the rules, which they recently did by leaving I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! and then begging to come back, just become part of the story, according to Battalgio.

"Shows like this are sort of managed chaos. You hope something interesting happens so people will show up [to watch] every night," he said.

And you do show up -- for the unpredictable drama, for the chance to spy on others and for the gratification of knowing you're not as terrible as a guy like Spencer.

Comments (14)
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Jul 14, 2009
either this stephanie lee is really spencer or speidi's publicist, cause it seems like every article I read from her she mentions speidi at least 2 times usually 5-6 times.
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Jun 24, 2009
if your so obsessed with reality start living your damn life instead of existing vicariously through the lousy wannabe stars on your box of evil:P
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Jun 24, 2009
I want a job at a network. I too, with excessive incentives and no expectations, could dedicate myself to mediocrity!
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Jun 24, 2009
speaking of TV villains, check out this cool article from The Times newspaper in the UK. Maybe some room for spencer??

http://tinyurl.com/qf2xm5
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Jun 24, 2009
I hate reality, but Speidi had me entertained for years. You can't deny being a slave to your own addiction.
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Jun 24, 2009
braigo64 - you said it best.
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Jun 24, 2009
It makes me sad that so many people are voyeurs of so many low brow reality shows that are less about the reality of the subjects but the editing and 'writing' skills of the production crews. To me its a fad that should have burned bright, burned fast, and faded to embers years ago, but the financial gain and less pain for tv executives have given it an unholy life line. Some shows, about people we know little about or jobs we now little of but now can walk in their shows are fine, but the ego stroke shows and the social train wreck shows . . . Preps and Love Buses . . . are making us like people less and less.
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Jun 24, 2009
This article is a joke. You are part of the problem.
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Jun 24, 2009
Stop watching this crap and they won't be famous.
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Jun 24, 2009
I don't love to hate reality show villains.

I hate to hate the shows themselves.
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Jun 24, 2009
i hate this kind of "reality shows"
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Jun 24, 2009
the article isnt complete without Dr. Will from Big Brother 2
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Jun 24, 2009
God i hate Speidi so much. They suck.
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Jun 24, 2009
Junk!
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