Why “The Family Chantel” is Bad for Television

The Family Chantel

People who watch 90 Day Fiance might remember Chantel Everett and Pedro Jimeno from Season 4. In short, Chantel met Pedro when she was visiting the Dominican Republic. Their initial interaction was positive, so much so that she began visiting the country again and again for the purpose of seeing him. Eventually, Chantel and Pedro became so close that they decided to get married in the United States and then in the Dominican Republic before living in the United States. Unfortunately, their relationship was complicated by a number of issues, with examples ranging from Chantel’s family thinking that Pedro married Chantel for a green card and nothing but a green card to Pedro’s family expecting Pedro to send money to them. As such, Chantel and Pedro were one of the more tumultuous couples featured on 90 Day Fiance, which in turn, meant that they were one of the more memorable couples as well.

What Is The Family Chantel?

By its nature, 90 Day Fiance cannot provide interested individuals with more than a short look at its participating couples’ lives. However, the show also encourages its viewers to take an interest in its participating couples, thus creating a hunger for further content. As a result, the success of 90 Day Fiance guaranteed the creation of spin-offs focused on said individuals from previous seasons, though The Family Chantel takes this further than its predecessors.

As its name states, The Family Chantel is focused on Chantel and Pedro plus their two families. On Chantel’s side, her parents, her sister, and her brother show up, while on Pedro’s side, his mother and his sister show up. Unsurprisingly, the show features the couple’s relationship struggles while also covering the various ways that their two families make their situation worse. For example, it has been mentioned that Chantel’s family suspects that Pedro might have a secret family in the Dominican Republic. Likewise, one of Chantel’s friends has claimed that Pedro’s family pushed for Pedro to get married to an American, which may or may not have been known to Pedro himself. On the whole, The Family Chantel is a mess, which is presumably what the viewers like about it. There are various reasons why The Family Chantel can be considered bad for TV:

It Is Voyeuristic

Voyeuristic can mean a couple of things. One, it can mean deriving pleasure from seeing other people either naked or engaged in some kind of sexual activity. Two, it can mean deriving pleasure from seeing the suffering of other people. Reality TV isn’t the first but reality TV can be the second. In the case of The Family Chantel, much of the entertainment seems to come from the relationship issues of the main couple. Some of these issues come from themselves, which is normal because frictionless relationships are rare at best. However, the main couple’s family members and friends seem eager to pile even more issues on the already shuddering structure that is their marriage with a carelessness that can sometimes verge on cruelty. The whole thing is more than a bit voyeuristic, which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that much of the TV landscape is filled with similar content with similar issues.

It Rewards Bad Behavior

To an extent, it can be said that The Family Chantel and similar shows are rewarding bad behavior. Often-times, one can’t help but suspect that some of the participants are stirring up problems for the sake of raising their profiles, thus making themselves better-known to those who watch the show. Certainly, fame has been known to motivate a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds to either unpleasant or otherwise extreme behavior, so it wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see it mattering here. For that matter, it should be noted that the people behind reality TV shows tend to be perfectly willing to stir up problems when they need a source of drama for the shows that they are making, meaning that this could very well be happening with their encouragement to boot.

It Strengthens the Dominance of Bad Reality TV

With that said, one of the biggest issues of The Family Chantel is that it strengthens the dominance of bad reality TV throughout the TV landscape. In short, reality TV saw a remarkable rise in the 1990s and 2000s. In part, this happened because reality TV found a receptive audience, thus ensuring its continuation by securing sufficient viewers to sustain itself. However, it should also be noted that making a reality TV show is much, much cheaper than making one of its scripted counterparts, meaning that TV channels could slash their production budgets without having to sacrifice much of their viewer bases in the process. As a result, it was no wonder that reality TV shows proceeded to crowd out other kinds of content on TLC plus a number of other TV channels that were once focused on educational content.

This isn’t to say that reality TV shows are bad by their very definition. There are some reality TV shows out there that use their basic nature to engage interested individuals while providing them with a look at very different people under very different circumstances. Likewise, there are plenty of other reality TV shows that make for excellent entertainment with no serious issues whatsoever. Unfortunately, the problem is that a wide range of TV channels have opted for bad reality TV that relies on shock value for their viewership without bothering to pair that with much of substance, thus resulting in the current state of the TV landscape in which reality TV has a less than stellar reputation for failing to live up to its true potential.

The Family Chantel is very much a part of this problem. Granted, it is nothing more than one of the rain drops that make up the storm. However, it is nonetheless a contributor to the trend, means that it shares a small part of the blame. This is particularly true because The Family Chantel is a part of a franchise that possesses the potential to spawn a whole host of similar shows, meaning that its success could very well result in the creation of more bad reality TV shows sharing its particular issues.

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