Watching reality TV shows is one of my guilty pleasures. “Vanderpump Rules,” “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Southern Charm” are like candy for the mind. They’re fun to consume and a great escape from the meat and potatoes of life.
However, by studying these shows closely, beneath the sugary glaze of fun, wacky antics, the stars’ actions and words do offer some life lessons for everyday “real” people. Some of the lessons might be as obvious as “look both ways before crossing the street,” but hey, at least the producers are trying.
Here are some lessons viewers can snack on:
1. Don’t Cross Your Boss
On “Vanderpump Rules,” Kristen was known for stirring up drama at the trendy SUR Restaurant & Lounge. She tried to get her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend fired a few times. That didn’t work.
The icing on the cake was when Kristen got into an argument with a co-worker and her manager, Diana, tried to get her to leave the restaurant. Kristen told Diana to “suck a dick.” Bosses tend not to like that.
Kristen was fired shortly afterwards. She had the balls to say what was on her mind, but sometimes biting your tongue is a better way to keep your paycheck.
2. Show Some Work Ethic
Another good life lesson is when you’re paid to do a job, show up on time. Just showing up at all is a good start.
Craig, a former star on “Southern Charm,” took a more gentile approach to his job at a law firm than Kristen on “Vanderpump Rules.”
He didn’t lose his temper with his superiors. Craig even demonstrated an ability to argue his case when he tried to defend a late-night golf cart outing on Jekyll Island with Kathryn, his friend’s girlfriend. He said it was an innocent affair as they lost their way back to the hotel and had to spend the night on the beach, sleeping in separate sand holes.
Sand holes aside, Craig’s ultimate downfall was deciding to eat, drink and be merry with friends until the wee hours of the morning on weekdays. Then he wouldn’t make it to his job at a law firm until the afternoon, if at all.
Craig couldn’t have his cake and eat it too. His boss fired him.
3. Don’t sleep with your ex
It will come back to bite you. Or bash you on the reunion, if you’re a reality TV star. There’s a reason you broke up with them.
Kristen on “Vanderpump Rules” finally broke up with James after a volatile relationship with claims of infidelity and her slapping him at a wedding.
After James spat on Kristen’s apartment door, it seemed the cookie had crumbled for this couple.
However, James later tried to win back Kristen, stealing her away from her date when he crashed a party. She kicked him to the curb, but after he sent her many texts with romantic emojis, she finally agreed to meet him at a restaurant.
James tugged on her heartstrings and they hooked up later that night. Shortly after that, though, James ignited Kristen’s anger once again when he flirted with hostess Lala, in front of Kristen, even allowing Lala to bite his tongue suggestively.
After James kissed Kristen “goodbye” on the cheek, Kristen said she felt like she “just got an STD” on her face.
On the “Vanderpump Rules” Reunion, Kristen said being in the same room as James made her skin crawl and he said she had been his “sugar mama.”
4. If you want your bestie back, take baby steps
Maybe just crawl. If someone did you wrong, you would probably be hesitate to take them back. You’d want them to get their just desserts.
On “Vanderpump Rules,” former SUR waitress Stassi was like a scorned lover stalking her ex as she tried to get her former friend, Katie, to see her again. Previously Stassi had cut Katie and the rest of their circle of friends out of her life.
Stassi strategized how to win Katie back, sending her numerous texts and crying to Katie’s fiancé about missing her former BFF. Katie finally sat down with Stassi for a heart-to-heart in Palm Springs. Stassi broke down in tears and they hugged.
Katie told Stassi they could start out small, with Stassi coming to Katie’s engagement party. Stassi acknowledged it would take time to earn Katie’s trust back after a year of alienation.
5. If you have a beef with someone, take the bull by the horns.
Sweet-talk them in a one-on-one conversation.
Often in the “Real Housewives” franchise, two people who have a history of feuding are egged on by others in their circle of friends. Words are misconstrued.
Atlanta Housewives co-stars Kenya and Phaedra used to throw a lot of shade at each other. Phaedra accused Kenya of hitting on her husband. They also butt heads over a “donkey booty” video. They ended up releasing competing butt-shaping videos
But praise the Lord for small miracles, when Kenya and Phaedra finally sat down to talk in a hotel room in the Philippines, they shed tears and agreed to work on their friendship. They held hands and prayed together.
They didn’t exactly braid each others’ hair and exchange friendship bracelets, but it was a start.
So the next time you’re bored and feel like you should check out a documentary on PBS, but you really want to satisfy your craving for a sweet treat, remember reality TV shows can be like free life hacks.