Real life seldom gives you an opportunity for do-overs, which is why so many viewers prefer reality TV. It looks like real life, it sounds like real life, but has many more options than real life, and it has professional editing and a soundtrack too.
That's why when you're a reality TV star, actual reality is the last thing that matters to you. If your intended message wasn't clearly received by the viewers, if a scene didn't play out the way you expected it to, there's no need to worry. You can always shoot a re-take.
If you could have your daily interactions scripted by professional screenwriters, if every selfie you took was professionally lit, if all the people in your world conspired to make you look and sound like your best self, wouldn't you do it?
Reality TV bets you would, and if you can't afford to, they're betting that you'd watch someone who can.
When life is tough and wages are stagnant and hopes are dashed and the evil flourish, instead of fighting back, which is complex and uncertain, most reality TV editors hope that instead you'll check out, and just stare slack jawed at the “entertainment” they've cooked up for you.
You're not rich but you can enjoy the sight of a doubtful real estate mogul fly around the world on his gold plated 747, visiting casinos and his golf courses. As he indulges in his lifelong fantasy of wealth and power you can catch his second hand smoke, you can walk in his air current, you can pretend to bark orders and fire people. What fun.
Given the opportunity to experience all of the potency and none of the consequence, no wonder so many people are glued to the screens.
But being Donald Trump is as authentic an experience as being Ronald McDonald. It's not who you are or what you say; it's who you look like and what that means to people.
If you actually really look at Ronald McDonald you'll see that, stripped of all his metaphors, divested of all his associations, he's just a creepy looking throwback to the 1970s, the last era in human history in which people still thought that clowns were somehow cute.
If you look at Donald Trump, stripped of all his metaphors and divested of all his associations, you'll see an orange faced man in an ill-fitting blazer with a bizarre frosted confection on his head.
Trump projects power and authority and confidence because he's spent his lifetime perfecting the confidence trick. But what Trump really is underneath all the light and mirrors is Ronald McDonald, another corporate branding device that's come to sell you cheap goods that will satiate a momentary hunger but ultimately do you no good at all.
When you eat a Big Mac, all the salt, fat and sugar releases chemicals like the neurotransmitter dopamine that make you feel happier. Your blood sugar levels surge, activating the reward system in your brain.
But then, according to The International Business Times, after the first 20 minutes things start to turn bad. High levels of high fructose corn syrup and all the sodium in the burger's buns start to make you crave more food as you lose the initial feeling of being satisfied. You need another hit.
That's how sodium and corn syrup – present in so much of our food - contribute to America's problems with obesity diabetes and heart disease.
TV and the advertising industry spent it's first sixty years persuading Americans that what looks good is good. They've been so successful at the job that now we have to concentrate to notice that it isn't always the case.
But if over the years we have gotten lazy about how we react to what we see, so have the people who are conning us. It's a feedback loop, after all.
That's why on the first night of the Republican National Convention, when Melania Trump had the opportunity to define herself and her husband’s campaign to the waiting nation, we discovered that she had plagiarized whole sections of the speech from a previously highly rated one given eight years ago by Michelle Obama.
Trump's screenwriters knew that Obama's original speech had tested well. They obviously didn't care who had originally delivered it, because that's not how reality TV works.
They operate on a budget and to a crushing broadcast schedule. They were thinking about Scott Baio's plane landing and whether he'd connect to the viewers.
Because real life doesn't matter to the Trump campaign, and neither does the pain and anguish that's out there in real America. Real life is for losers.