Are reality TV shows harmful?
We all love watching reality TV shows as a bit of fun and relaxing entertainment but there seems to be a growing suspicion that many of these television programmes might have some negative side-effects.
This was made very clear this week with the shocking news about the untimely death of the former Love Island star, Mike Thalassitis. The 26-year was thrown into the spotlight when he made his appearance on the ITV romantic reality show. But it seems as though Mike had difficulties in adjusting to the comedown of fame and he apparently took his own life when his body was discovered in a North London park over the weekend.
As a result there are growing calls from a number of politicians such as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, to provide extra mental health support for these reality TV stars. As a result of their sudden exposure to a huge amount of national fame, it’s feared that many individuals might not be able to cope with their change in circumstances.
Whilst many people leap at the chance to appear on reality TV shows like Love Island, not many individuals are fully aware of what a life-changing event this is. Plus there have also been accusations that the producers of reality television shows have done little to help them after the TV programme has finished.
What happened to Mike Thalassitis?
Anybody who saw the 2017 series of Love Island will know all about Mike Thalassitis. The contestant quickly became a real talking-point amongst viewers, and he even was given the nickname ‘Muggy Mike’ after he got close with Olivia Attwood who was supposed to have been the girlfriend of fellow contestant Chris Hughes.
It was a bold move for Mike who had previously been a promising footballer, and it looked like his gamble didn’t truly pay off as both he and Jessica Shears were both voted off fairly early by the public.
This was followed up by an appearance in Celebs Go Dating in 2018. Mike was in the series alongside stars like Gemma Collins, Sam Thompson and Ollie Locke, and for a moment it looked like he would become a fixture on our television screens.
Mike recently got involved in a new relationship with the former The Only Way Is Essex star, Megan McKenna. But it seems as the this relationship hit the rocks, and their partnership finished last August. Unfortunately, it looks like Mike Thalassitis wasn’t able to cope with the struggles of his new-found fame and it raises many questions about the ethics of reality television.
Should reality TV stars get financial help?
Whilst the current crop of reality TV hopefuls make no excuse for flashing their newfound wealth around, it’s evident that their many of their lifestyles cannot be sustained for long. This was made clear when the Geordie Shore star, Holly Hagan, recently called for reality TV contestants to get financial help from television bosses.
The 26-year old star announced that she would be holding a meeting with MTV to see how the television company could provide better financial advice for anybody who is about to start a career in reality TV. This came after Holly revealed that she didn’t know she was self-employed when she was recruited by MTV for their show, and therefore didn’t understand that she had to take care of her own taxes.
Holly has gone on record as stating that this situation is relatively common amongst reality TV hopefuls who lack the financial literacy to be able to handle their newfound wealth in a mature and responsible manner. This is especially true after a reality TV star ends their relationship with a show and find themselves facing some fairly large tax bills. Holly has stated that if each show could arrange for the contestants to have some kind of financial advisor, then it could help to avoid many of the problems that emerge later in their careers.
Such moves would be especially well-timed as there are multiple reports that Mike Thalassitis was in debt at the time of his passing. Much of this has been blamed on his famous party-boy lifestyle, but the fact that he wasn’t able to sustain his earnings after exiting Love Island also hints at the financial troubles reality TV stars can face. This was compounded by the fact that Mike became his nan’s carer after leaving the show and it seems that he wasn’t able to handle the pressure.
How to cope with life after fame?
After leaving a reality TV show, the future can often seem like a scary place for the participants. Love Island contestant, Dom Lever, has stated that individuals don’t get any further support from the shows unless they managed to win the competition. Whilst one of the show’s other contestants, Malin Andersson, has also criticised Love Island for not offering enough assistance during her time of struggles.
Whilst there is always the potential of making appearances on the many other reality TV shows like Celebs Go Dating and Celebrity Big Brother, the sad truth is that nearly all reality television contenders must find employment in the real world after they leave the screen.
Mike Thalassitis was planning on opening a new restaurant called The Skillet in Essex with the footballer, Scott Neilson in the past few months. He had been looking after the construction work of the new venture, but it now seems as though his financial troubles could made the project too much to bear.
Such sobering insights paint a vastly different picture from how we usually view reality TV stars. Rather than the endlessly luxurious lifestyles of the Kardashians, it seems as though the majority of these television stars are just regular people who are struggling to pay the bills. All of which means that they will require greater assistance when it comes to dealing with the pressures of their newfound fame.
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