It’s no secret I love reality TV. Mostly just VH1 and MTV though, let’s be real. Probably because I wasn’t allowed to watch it when I was younger, so now it’s kind of like a “FREEEDOOOOOMMM” situation when I’m able to watch those shows without having to discover the unlock password my parents put on the channel (sorry mom and dad. You knew it was happening.) Mob Wives is my favorite, not to mention the crazies on Mob Wives Chicago. Jersey Shore. Geordie Shore (The British Jersey Shore). Snooks and JWOWW. Flavor of Love. Rock of Love. I Love Money. You get the picture. I don’t hide my love for these shows. They’re not guilty pleasures, they’re fully open pleasures.
I love watching people get crazy. One of my favorite things from reality stars (and I love you all, so don’t get mad if you ever read this) is when people criticize them and they snap back with, “You don’t know me!” Well…you’ve just been acting as “yourself” on this television show for a certain amount of episodes, so if I don’t know you based off of you acting like you then perhaps you should reassess your actions on television, yeah? (You may have to read that a couple of times, but I promise it makes sense.) Granted when it comes to editing, let’s be real, the filmmakers and editors like to take out certain parts and paint people in a certain light, but I digress.
The other night I was lucky (if lucky is really the proper word, but I was pretty excited) to bear witness to a fight that I can best describe as Sam and Ronnie’s relationship fighting a Mob Wife. It was chaotic. It was scary. It was awesome. In case any of my friends happen to read this, I will keep the details of said fight quiet so as not to offend. But I’ll say if a VH1 crew was there or someone had recorded it, we would have already signed our contracts. It was that good.
Amidst the chaos, I realized two things: One, when you’re part of the fight and it’s not the censored, edited, cut down version that you can watch as many times as you like or turn off whenever it gets too intense, it’s a different situation. People getting crazy on TV…awesome. People throwing beer bottles and punching each other in front of you in real life…not as awesome. (While it’s going on. Now on the reflection aspect, yes. It is awesome.)
Two, I know how to be a peacemaker. Because of all of the reality TV shows I watch. Allow me to explain. Oftentimes in real life, everyone bases everything off of what they see. That’s pretty obvious. They see someone punched in the face, they make their decisions on who’s “right” or “wrong” right then and there. But I, on the other hand, have seen enough Mob Wives to know that making assumptions on what’s really going on is the quickest way to get popped yourself. That’s why Karen and Drita aren’t friends. That’s why everyone hates Nora. Because they base everything on the present.
Before you go off thinking I’m a psycho, hear me out some more. When this fight happened the other night, somehow I was put in the middle of everyone venting about it to me.
- SIDE NOTE: A Halloween party is the absolute WORST place to get into/start a fight. Everyone looked ridiculous. Amongst my helping of friends, I was dressed as a dead Chili’s employee because that’s what I used to do, and I looked like I was possessed with how scary my make-up came out. Really? You’re gonna tell that guy what’s going on and seek some advice? I couldn’t take myself or anyone else seriously. So. Don’t fight at a party where everyone’s either dressed like a slut or a zombie.
Anyway. After I was put into the middle, I was able to tell everyone kind of how to view everyone else’s side. Ish. The Big Ang of the group, if you will. The Leah DeSimone. The Pauly D. The peacemaker who’s there for all the drama but has no part in it. That was my role. And you want to know what I realized that night? It was because of all the fighting I’d seen on reality TV that made me aware of everyone’s side.
When Renee and Pia beat the life out of Nora, anyone at the party who didn’t know the backstory would think Renee was overdramatic and it was some unnecessary business. (While, to be fair, perhaps the party was neither the time nor the place to do so, she had her reasons.) The backstory to the fight was the most essential part to the fight, and a lot of people in day-to-day life don’t really understand that. They see the end, the climax, but they never focus on the buildup.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think reality TV is “real” (especially based on the above comment about not “knowing” the reality star), but since it’s marketed and filmed as real, it makes it a little easier to think about all sides of the story, if you’re into being the peacemaker like I am. Now, if you are one of my high school or early college friends, you’re rolling your eyes and laughing. Me? The peacemaker? Ha! Pish posh! I start everything! I’m the pot stirrer, not the peacemaker.
I used to be like that, yes. I think life is boring on its own, so you gotta shake things up. Well, after watching so much ridiculous reality TV, I’ve grown to understand that being the pot stirrer is annoying. It’s obnoxious. When fights occur, I like them to be done when they’re done. No grudges. No continuing tension. I’m very big on forgiveness, and I think everyone else should be too. As my favorite reality star ever, Leah DeSimone once said, “If God could forgive, why can’t we?”
I’m such an addict…
Anyway, again, I’ve changed my life from the pot stirrer to the peacemaker. I’m not The Situation. Or Renee Graziano. I don’t like to be directly involved anymore. Watch on the sidelines (because hey, if they’re going to be putting on a show, I’m going to watch) and help clean up the aftermath. So during this fight on Halloween, I was trying to help everyone do that. I think I even shocked a couple of people who knew me to be the pot stirrer. Knew me when I would be shouting “Fight, fight, fight!” instead of trying to break it up.
Laugh all you want, but I seriously think watching all these crazy reality show fights made me better at handling real life ones. Because on the television you think, “How stupid!” “How unnecessary!” “I can’t believe they’d show themselves like that on TV!” But as the story unfolds, you take your sides. You learn both sides because they show it, and I think that’s an essential part of communication: Learning each side so you can understand where your opponent or whoever is coming from. Everyone has their reasons, and it’s really important to understand them.
Before I continue from this point, I would also like to state for those who don’t know that I have a degree in communications. So it’s not necessarily like I’m pulling all of this out of my ass, but I did study communication as well (which was when the start of going from pot stirrer to peacemaker started. It’s not all just due to reality TV).
So during this fight, sides were chosen relatively quickly. And those who “didn’t choose” had to watch what they said so as not to piss anyone off. One of my best friends was there and was talking about how she wanted to remain in the middle but didn’t know how because she didn’t agree with some of the choices being made.
“Everyone has their reasons,” I said. “And if you can’t look at everything from both sides, you will never be able to stay in the middle. You can have your opinions, but be careful about how you share them if you don’t want to get too in the middle.”
And it’s true!
If you’re in a situation where you’re trying to be the middle man or the peacemaker, you can’t tell anyone what they did was wrong. If they’re convinced they’re in the right, you don’t particularly have to agree, but you just have to be careful when you disagree.
“He deserved to be punched in the face.”
“I understand that. But there is a time and a place, it isn’t in front of everyone, and plenty of people deserve it but it doesn’t make it right.”
“This came out of nowhere.”
“I understand it may seem like that, but you have to remember it didn’t come out of nowhere. There has been a lot of tension building up for a while that everyone tried to ignore, and while it may seem ridiculous to us, we have to remember they’re entitled to their own feelings.”
I understand if people think I’m crazy for referencing reality TV as a guideline for everyday life, and I understand that, but that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to remember that there are always three sides to every story. The attacker, the victim, and the reason. And the reason should be applied to both parties, and can often be in line with the truth, although truth is only opinion when it comes to black and white situations like this.