Most people imagine reality TV as vapid stars, intense drama, and tense arguments. But watching reality TV isn’t always a waste of time. A user on a popular online forum asks, “What genuinely useful information or skills have you learned from a reality show?” A surprising number of people shared their answers in the comments.
1. Duvet Cover
Making the bed is one of the chores I dread the most, especially when changing the duvet cover. One fan of the reality series Big Brother shares a helpful tip they learned while watching the show. “A contestant flipped the duvet cover inside out, got their hands inside the duvet cover and grabbed the furthest corners, grabbed the corners of the actual duvet with their hands, and then flipped the cover over the duvet.”
2. Trim a Beard
The style experts from Queer Eye are full of valuable skills that they teach their clients on the show, but fans watching along can pick up the tips too. One man says, “Jonathan Van Ness taught me how to trim my beard properly.”
3. Binge Eating Disorder is Real
Unfortunately, many people with mental health conditions suffer in silence because they have no name for their struggles. But one person realized they might have a particular diagnosis while watching the series My 600-Lb. Life. “I learned that I had Binge Eating Disorder and have since been formally diagnosed,” comments one viewer.
4. Rinse Well After Using Conditioner
Keeping Up With the Kardashians (2007-2021) is the last show I’d consider educational, but one commenter says they learned a helpful skill from the mouth of Khloe Kardashian herself. “Every time I wash my hair, I think of Khloe Kardashian saying to wash your back after you rinse out your conditioner to prevent back acne.”
5. Roll T-Shirt Sleeves
Twenty years ago, the series that inspired Queer Eye called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy aired on TV for four seasons. One series fan remarks, “On one episode, they recommended rolling the sleeves of t-shirts up once or twice to make them look more fitted, and I still do it to this day.”
6. Tape Yellows with Age
If you own items you hope to preserve over time or frequent antique shops looking for things to flip, you probably already watch Antiques Roadshow. One commenter explains, “Antiques Roadshow taught me, multiple times, that sellotape yellows with age and can stain and ruin crockery.”
7. Chop Veggies
While most cooking shows focus on chefs creating unbelievable dishes under pressure, the show Culinary Genius (2017) puts ordinary home cooking into a cooking reality competition. Each episode provides a demonstration from a chef on how to prepare meats and vegetables that viewers can use at home in their own lives.
“There are so many little tips I’ve picked up from it,” writes one fan. “I never knew I was chopping butternut squash in the least efficient way possible.”
8. Eat a Cupcake Without a Mess
American singer Kelly Clarkson’s daytime talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show hosted Anne Hathaway in 2022, where she taught the world the best possible way to eat a cupcake. “She unwraps it, rips the bottom off, and puts it on top of the frosting,” explains one contributor. “If you do it this way, you get frosting in every bite, and it doesn’t get all over your face.”
9. Old Collectables May Be Valuable
Watching Cash In The Attic can help viewers uncover old valuables in their homes that they almost threw away ten years ago. “I noticed a collection of football programs go for some good money. I rummaged through the garage and found a shoebox stacked with ones I’d collected as a kid. Selling those gave me enough money to cover the gas bill that winter.”
10. Use a Vacuum to Suck Up Dust During Construction
Sort Your Life Out is a British TV series that challenges families to declutter their homes by letting go of half their belongings within one week. One respondent notes on the show, “They held up the end of the vacuum cleaner hose while drilling screws into the wall to suck up the dust instantly, preventing it from falling all over the place. It’s been a game changer for home improvement.”
11. Difference Between Real and Fake Fur
“Rip Off Britain taught me about spotting the difference between fake and real fur trims,” Announces one fan of the series that exposes scams and terrors in the consumer world. “Look at the ends of the hairs. Fake fur is usually blunt, and real fur tapers to a fine point. Also, part the hairs and check how they’re attached. Fake fur will be on a woven webbing-type material. Real fur will be attached to the skin.”
11. Open Locked Car Doors
Top Gear is a reality motor series that examines the features of different cars and vehicles with thrilling stunts and experiments. But the show also shares tips people can use at home in a pinch. “An episode of Top Gear demonstrated how to open locked car doors with packing straps,” writes one commenter. “I learned this in the 1990s and successfully retrieved keys locked in a Saxo in 2007ish. I doubt I’ll ever use it again, but it was handy that time.”
12. Group Psychology
Long-running shows like Big Brother UK change over the years, and not always for the better. One user argues that it used to be more entertaining and educational. “At the very beginning of Big Brother, they had proper psychologists who explained why people were doing things. They called it ‘group dynamics.’ It explained a load to me. I started to understand working in a group, why I was doing stuff.”
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