It's trashy and lame and circa-1999 entertainment, but I don't care. When Hulk Hogan tries to reconnect with his son Nick by getting into stunt car tricks, I think about how my dad started getting really into football when my brother joined the freshman team.
When Scott Baio admits he can't commit because he's always looking for the next best thing, I think of that guy I dated in college who wouldn't return my calls whenever I started talking about getting exclusive.
Survivor and Survivorman both make me grateful for cooked food.
Paula Abdul falling down and having a mental breakdown about costumes for the Bratz movie reminds me not to sweat the small stuff.
The Amazing Race shows me all the places I want to see on my vacation days and also what kind of traveler I want to be (not one who screams at taxi drivers).
Reality TV also makes me a better person. When I'm tempted to slick my hair into another bland ponytail and wear my comfortable shoes, I remember that What Not to Wear could be secretly filming me, and I'm usually convinced to put on a dress and some snazzy heels.
Watching the Biggest Loser can make me pass up dessert, keeping me on-track with my fitness goals.
Trading Spaces has inspired me to paint my walls; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has inspired me to buy a new area rug and make a donation to Katrina rebuilding.
So though my parents would still rather have me read a book, and my friends would rather I join them out at the bar, I'll be at home, sprawled on my couch, watching reality TV.