What weird little thing do almost all reality shows have in common?


“I’m not here to make friends.”

That phrase is uttered with unbelievable frequency across reality shows — to the degree where it’s very hard to believe it’s an accident.

I’m not an aficionado of reality TV but after listening to the This American Life story about the phenomenon, I was blown away.

Is it something reality show producers deliberately encourage people to say? Probably.

But, obviously, it seems to work. Is there something deeper to why this resonates? What does say it about us?

As Rich Juzwiak points out in the This American Life story, the most interesting part is the people who say this on the show almost never win.

Is this a universal narrative signal for a bad guy?

I don’t know but wow. Wow:

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