By Jon J.
Reality TV Can often be seen as the monster of television programming. oftentimes, when we think of reality TV, we see in our minds the shows that explore the realm of the less than ideal examples of the human species. Shows like Jersey Shore, Jackass, and Toddlers in Tiaras. However, not all shows are bad, poor role-models, or mean spirited in nature.
One such example of these shows is ” So You Think You Can Dance”: a competitive reality show created to find and showcase the most talented dancers in the nation. Much like American Idol, it capitalizes on a skill set that it has popularized by making the entertainment available to the masses. Celebrities are held on a pedestal in our culture, so these shows that give the Average Joe an opportunity at stardom becomes appealing. As an audience, we are both uplifted by watching a normal person’s dreams come true on stage, as well as entertained by watching the talentless crash and burn as they humiliate themselves.
The drawback to this form of TV show is the entertainment that is given at the expense of a contestants dignity, but somehow our morbid interest as viewers tends to keep us watching. On the reverse side, the shows do give us the opportunity to experience new and upcoming forms of talent in the world, and promote them to celebrity status… if only briefly. In the end, they still prove to be normal people like us with extraordinary talent. In my personal travels, I have even had the opportunity to meet and dance with Benji Schwimmer: the Season two 1st place winner of So You Think You Can Dance.
There’s not much reality in reality TV shows today. Most of the shows are heavily scripted, and influence by the selfish pursuit of commercialism. For the most part the behaviors of the actors of this particular type of entertainment is quite problematic, in so far the lifestyles many times are not socially accepted in our current society “such as Jersey shore”. There have been complaints about this production in many locations where they have filmed. But on the other hand there are many viewers who were quite entertained by the plot of the show along with the different fashions and locations
For this assignment I watched whale wars a reality show on animal planet gives the appearance of having a more altruistic message behind the medium. This is one show that was a spinoff of documentaries; Capt. Paul Watson was one of the original co – founding members of Greenpeace. He is now the founder of the Sea Shepherd conservation Society.
The cast and characters of this production are not seeking their own personal riches from any fame they may acquire from the series, for each and every one of them are volunteers. Monies raised from the series along with other donations are used to maintain their fleet. This I believe is the distinction between documentaries to regular reality TV shows. For the members of the Sea Shepherd foundation view themselves as having a more meaningful purpose in life than somebody just trying to acquire fame and fortune for no other reason than being famous for being famous, along with any other financial gains that they may acquire. I think the products of some other reality shows featured products serves no purpose other than enrichment of their financial status along with their egos.
For the most part I would say reality TV shows may be popular, even though they don’t portray themselves in a manner that we would like others to see us. This soulless and mindless behavior in the pursuit of popularity for financial gain is a sad commentary on all of us who profess to call this our favorite entertainment.
Reality TV has never been of much interest to me, though I did have a bit of a phase where I would watch some of the first to air shows on MTV, like Room Raiders, Next, Punk’d, and other absurd shows. What made these shows so damn interesting? Was it because we could peer into these people’s personal lives, or watch celebrities get scared s**tless? I’d like to think these reasons played a huge part in my interest. This genre of television continues to be on the rise and seems to have some really far out concepts of this so-called “reality”. Reality TV is extremely popular among teens and young adults and it commonly follows the lives of the rich and famous through scenes of scripted drama and lavish excursions. It is corrupting it’s viewers into thinking that this is what reality is and they are sorely mistaken. Not only is it deranging the minds of American youth, it is presenting these ideals to the rest of world with access to these shows that this is how America lives.
Reality TV also has this profound ability to turn the lucky SOB that got cast for the show to become a “celebrity”. They play who the show wants them to be and in turn they get fame and fortune through product endorsements, multiple seasons, and sometimes even their own personal reality TV spin off. Such is the case for New Hampshire native Paul DelVecchio,
better known as Pauly D from The Jersey Shore. The Jersey Shore brought him fame and eventually a record deal for DJ Pauly D and a spin off which follows his life as a DJ. It’s success stories like this that make people want to become pseudo-celebrities just like Pauly D and the countless others to come before him. What will they actually gain that they can truly be proud of? Not very much as far as i’m concerned.
Television shows that are not billed as reality can be just as offensive, cruel, and distasteful as those labeled as reality TV. I do not think they have the same effect on their viewers in that, if a show is perceived as reality people may be more inclined to take them seriously. Also because the people involved in reality TV are generally of a high status quo, the viewers are more prone to follow by example. Sitcoms and other like television shows, like I said before can be just as crude and offensive as reality TV but such scenes are usually taken with a grain of salt.
The cultural phenomenon that I would like to analyze is reality TV. For some reason one of the biggest sources of entertainment for most teens today is reality television and all of the bad ideologies that come with them. As the years go by reality television has gotten worse and worse. One of the most confusing parts of realty TV is their title. Even though they are supposedly based on reality none of them really show reality at all. These shows could be a great way to show teens the world that they will soon be in the middle of, but unfortunately these shows only display bad ideologies and things we should never encourage kids to do. In this paper I will talk about the jersey shore and teen mom and the main reason we should analyze them.
The jersey shore is a television show all about seven friends who have made the deal of a life time that most any college student would accept. All these people have to do is go to work about twice a week and the rest of the time they can do whatever the heck they want and usually they party. Now the reason that I think that this show should be studied is because I don’t think people realize how harmful this show can be on our youth. I don’t think that a show like this does anything but tell teenagers to party and hook up with people everyday and why would we allow such a show on TV. This show gives out the ideology that if you drink and hook up you will popular which is not at all true. This show is so popular they are putting out a fifth season and in this season one of the roommates will be pregnant. Now I can only hope that this show does not portray a pregnant lady drinking alcohol but I sadly would not be surprised. The other thing I would like to analyze in this show is how does it affect parents and there outlook on teens of today.
The next show that I think that I think needs to be studied is 16 and pregnant and teen mom. Why would we popularize something in our culture that is usually and should be looked down upon and not rewarded. These shows make young unfortunate irresponsible teenagers popular well known figures and I’m not sure why. The only reason I can imagine that this show would be good is because it educates kids and hopefully they do not fall into the same trap but doesn’t it also give the message that if you get pregnant as a teenager you will be popular and possibly get on TV. The other harmful side effect of a show like this that seems completely overlooked is how this will affect the children in these shows when they grow up. Would you rather see your mom on a crazy show like jersey shore or 16 and pregnant? Neither of them seem like they would have popular side affects on these children.
The last things that I would really like to analyze on all realty is shows are why is weed so popularized in all of these shows and how did we ever take television to such a low level. Even though I have never seen people smoke weed on television it is constantly talked about especially in 16 and pregnant and it just seems like one more thing we should be discouraging not encouraging. Last time I checked, weed was still illegal but apparently talking about the fact that you do smoke weed is not at all illegal. The last thing I would like to analyze is how we went from showing Bonaza to showingJerseyShore. It seems like over the years television has gone from showing heroes and elegance to showing anything that might make people money. All of these shows seem to tell me that all that matters is will these shows make money and that is all that matters. These are just two shows in the crazy world of “reality” TV and sadly there is much more. They have become main forms of entertainment for many teens but maybe if we all are more educated on how these shows affect the teens of today then maybe we can make sure to change things for the better.
Negative Effects of Reality Television
Reality television shows have become popular amongst teens. Reality tv shows depict the lives of rich high class individuals who thrive off of drama, materialistic items and fame. I feel like airing these types of shows not only influences people who watch their show into this type of shallow behavior, but they also send out an image to the world about America can be like.
Reality television shows serves an entertainment purpose to all of its viewers. Producers want viewers to know that these shows are not scripted, and that they give you an inside scope of a group of these rich individual’s lives. These individuals are most times very selfish, childish, and materialistic. Many of the girls on these types of shows are able to somehow spend several thousands of dollars just on a pair of sunglasses. This type of rationale is put out for audiences watching this show, and makes people feel that buying expensive items will give them satisfaction and fame.
I personally did not watch a full episode of any reality television shows, because the portions that I have watched were really disgusting to me. I do not understand how reality television shows can be supported by the media for such a long amount of time. I feel that they give out a very bad message and a bad American ideal image to the public and society. Many of my friends have watched Jersey Shore and are addicted to them. I do not see how people can connect to these types of people in these shows because they are so shallow, materialistic and ignorant about the world.
In conclusion, I feel like reality television shows have been popular amongst teens for all the wrong reasons. People may be sucked into watching the drama and keeping up with the characters interaction with one another before a next argument, but I do not see the point in doing so. I feel that these television shows portray the wrong message to teens and that they want people to think that being rich is the answer to everything.
Reality television is a genre of TV where cameras go behind the scenes of someone or a group of people and show their every move. Reality television is suppose to show the truth, but when in reality sometimes the shows are scripted. In the beginning of every episode of The Only Way is Essex it says, “…the tans you see might be fake but the people are all real although some of what they do has been set up purely for your entertainment.” I believe that that statement is true about every reality TV show. Reality television somewhat glamorizes some of these ideas that are shown in these shows giving an altered view on reality or social reality.
Reality television is the lowest form of entertainment and threatens our intelligence as much as sometimes it is hard to look away. Even though adults can see that reality tv isn’t actually what reality is like, but children/teens who watch reality tv reduces this idea of hard work and learn winning and scheming are the ways of getting ahead.
The Only Way is Essex is a show that takes place in Essex, England and follows a group of 20 year olds and there lavish lifestyle. The cast is an all white cast and all the men and women look flawless from head to toe. The women have big boobs, tiny waist with their make up, hair done at all times, which shows that this is the image of what real women should look like, when in reality no woman actually looks like that. It also gives this idea to men that this is what women look like and if they don’t look like this then they are outcasted. The men in this show have fit bodies giving women the idea of what a man should look like. One of the guys Arg is not fit and lean like the other guys and kind of made fun of by his good friend Mark. In the episode I watched Arg went to the dentist to see about getting his teeth whited and straightened for his girlfriend. It’s not the only the girls who are trying to fit in and look a certain way, but it is also the men. Men go through the same things as girls, about how they don’t like there body image or what have you. It is interesting that this show is filled with the images of what prefect women and men should look like and act.
Another reality show that I believe brakes down the idea of what women and men should do is VH1s show La La’s Full Court Life. This show follows the life of Knicks, Carmelo Anthony’s wife La La. It shows woman, La La, who’s career is taking off and as well as being a mother. I believe that this show shows a strong female role in what she does with her career and her marriage with her husband and being a great mom to her son. Even though reality tv isn’t good for you I think that this show breaks down the boundaries and shows a good aspect of someone famous and their lifestyle.