If a person turns their TV on in almost any country, most likely the channels will be filled with different kinds of reality shows. This is no surprise, because this kind of TV program has become amazingly popular in recent decades. Such shows are entertaining and addicting to watch, as they focus not on fictional characters, but on real people put in different contexts and situations. However, regardless of the entertainment it delivers, a question may arise: is there something more to watching reality shows than being entertained?
When evaluating reality shows, several factors should be taken in consideration. The “reality” that is usually shown on TV is not the same objective reality we live in. Every reality show has a core idea to which the behavior of its contestants is subdued—though the participants are not obliged to act one way or another, they still follow the script, and their behavior is then evaluated (by audiences, other show participants, moderators, and so on). “All TV shows, not just reality shows, help construct scenarios that demonstrate how some behaviors will be rewarded or punished. The concern is that frequent viewers of these shows will learn these behaviors, see them as desirable and then model them in the actual real world,” says Dr. Brad Gorham, chair of the Communications Department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (USA Today).
If we try to figure out what is so entertaining about reality shows, we can reach this conclusion: it is the humiliation and mocking of the contestants that makes people amused. Indeed, if we analyze such a popular show as American Idol, we will easily notice many episodes of this program are dedicated to making fun of the contestants, whose performing abilities were lower compared to other participants (which does not necessarily mean they are deprived of talent, or are worse in any other way). This can create an audience (which mostly consists of teenagers) that rate and assess people based on their qualities, such as appearance or skills; this model forms a solid basis for discriminating behavior and a lack of tolerance (eHow).
Yet another negative effect of reality shows is a distorted depiction of relationships between genders. Many reality shows address sexual themes, or depict relationships based on scandals and fights. Relationships on TV contrast real life ones: they tend to be less stable and harmonious, they are sexualized, and usually aimed at bringing more popularity to those engaged in them. Since it is difficult to control the access of underaged audiences to TV programs, children and teenagers are exposed to the risks of developing a wrong perception of relationships based on what they see on TV, which is unacceptable (RFA.edu).
Even though reality shows have become extremely popular, it does not mean they are beneficial for their audiences. Rather often, these shows display role models that are based on semi-artificial circumstances and environments. However, these models are still seen as desirable by viewers. In addition, humiliation, which makes the basis of the entertainment component in the majority of reality shows, teaches audiences to rate people based on their physical or psychological qualities, which can create a solid basis for discriminating behavior. In addition, considering sexualized and simplified depictions of romantic relationships in reality shows, one can claim these TV programs can cause perverted perceptions of relationships between different genders in the minds of teenagers, who usually make up the target audience of the majority of reality shows.
Fahner, Micki. “The Real Effects of Reality TV.” USA Today College. N.p., 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.
“Negative Effects of Reality Shows.” EHow. Demand Media, 07 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.
LeBoue, Sarah. “Reality Tv May Cause Deviant Sexual Behavior Among Teens.” RFA.edu. N.p., 01 Sept. 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.
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Reality Shows Essay
Reality shows, why do we like them so much? I started thinking about this question, and then I though about how many I actually had watched. Reality shows has become a big trend in our society today. People can become famous for almost anything, and a lot of people seem to think that being in a reality show is the biggest thing that can happen in life.
I think all of us have though about being famous at some point in our life. How nice it would feel to be that athlete, singer or actor that everyone knows. Maybe you always dreamed about becoming a model, a writer or why not just get married to a rich & famous man or woman. I don't see this as something wrong, I think that everyone, at some point, wishes for that feeling of being someone important and well known. An easy way of having 15 minutes of fame today is to be in a reality show. Today you can probably turn on the TV at any time of day and be able to see a reality show. The market has exploded, and they are almost taking over TV.
We might think that reality television are a new phenomenon, but the truth is that the first reality show debuted in 1973, and it was called An American Family. On Thursday, January 11, 1973, the first broadcast of An American Family changed television history forever. The Loud family were from Santa Barbara, California and consisted of Mother Pat, Father Bill, and their five children Lance, Kevin, Grant, Delilah and Michele.
It was a fascinating documentary series. The members of the Loud family opened up their home and lives for seven months to producer Craig Gilbert, who shot 300 hours of footage. Only 12 hours made it to television. As many as 10 million viewers watched the marital breakup of Bill and Pat Loud and the coming-out of their son Lance. The family complained that the hours chosen for broadcast misrepresented their lives.
After An American Family stopped airing, it took amost twenty years until the reality TV we know today started. The Real World, started in 1992, with the concept of putting strangers together in the same environment for an extended period of time and recording the drama that ensued. Survivor was also one of the first shows to start this era of reality TV that we live in today. After those two, it has just kept on going, and up until today there have been hundreds of shows produced.
There are a number of sub-categories of reality television. One of them is documentary style. In many reality television shows, the viewer and the camera are passive observers following people going about their daily personal and professional activities; MTV's Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in an example of this style of show, with unscripted situations, real-life locations, and no tasks given to the cast, at least, no known ones. Within...
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