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Lifestyle Switch

As reality television has become a force in the television industry over the last five years, television programmers are scrambling for different ways to highlight the reality experience.  One way to hook viewers on a reality TV show is to show real people adapt to a new situation.  These reality TV shows that show a drastic lifestyle switch for its contestants have proven to be huge hits.  Audiences can’t seem to get enough of watching and relating to people, just like them, adapt to extraordinary changes in their lives.

Shows like Amish in the City are extreme versions of the lifestyle switch reality TV shows.  In this popular reality TV show, television cameras follow the exploits of five Amish teens as they enter the Amish tradition of Rumspringa.  This Pennsylvania Dutch term can be loosely translated as running around and is an important Amish rite of passage.  During this tradition, Amish teens that are 16 and older are able to explore the world outside of their Amish communities.  This experience empowers them to make an importance choice of whether they want to return to their Amish communities and be baptized or to continue living in the modern world.

Amish in the City explored the ten-week experience of five Amish teens living with six other American teens in a Los Angeles house.  This shared living experience brought its fair share of tension but even more enlightening moments.  Viewers responded to the changes of these eleven people and felt an emotional connection to these contestants, something that many reality TV shows struggle to do.  By highlighting an important Amish tradition and bringing it to a personal level, Amish in the City managed to transcend its seemingly shallow premise and became a hit reality TV show that would be a model for other reality TV shows that highlighted a lifestyle switch for its contestants.

On a less drastic tip, PBS offers two reality TV shows that also highlight a lifestyle switch.  1900 House was a popular show broadcast in 1999 in which a family was moved into a beautiful Victorian home.  The catch was that the family had to live in this home for three months as if it were the turn of the twentieth century.  This culture shock proved to be popular among reality TV lovers and spawned similar shows like Frontier House and Colonial House.

Taking the premise of the lifestyle switch to a more relatable level, there are a trio of new reality TV shows that are coming out this year revolving around the idea of a family switch.  Switched Up, Trading Spouses, and Wife Swap are all shows in which one member of a family is traded to another family for a period of time to see what life is like for another family.  An interesting look at how different families operate, these reality TV shows that show a lifestyle switch are becoming hits with television lovers.  Unlike many other reality TV shows, this type of programming lends itself to a relationship between the televised contestant and the audience at home.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll definitely think about how you would react if you were on one of these reality TV shows.  Of course you can learn more about these reality TV shows, right here!