Topic Selection: Reality Television

Topic Selection Paper: Reality TV – By: Donna

Popular Reality TV Shows Today

Reality TV is a genre of popular television programming these days that are generally unscripted, often times humorous and dramatic. Examples of these kinds of shows are Big Brother, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, The Real World, Sorority Life – just to name a few of the most-watched series today. These types of series typically include characters whom are beautiful, fit and with the latest when it comes to fashion, trends and technology. When it comes to being beautiful, fit and up to date with the popular items and trends – usually, an attitude comes along with it. Just by watching a short clip of either of these or other reality television shows, you should be able to notice a naturally “high-maintenance”, “conceited” or “self-centered” personality of a character, if not all.
These television programs have been very influential to people, especially those of early teen years, teenagers and young adults. Not only do the characters of these shows demonstrate what the “ideal” lifestyle of today’s culture would be, but they influence the idea of how it should be in the viewer’s life as well. Since a majority of these shows include characters of wealth, they will possess many extraordinary things such as large homes, exquisite cars, lots of diamonds and jewelry, even a chauffer. Many viewers will have the mindset that they need to mock these characters’ footsteps otherwise they would not be able to become “successful” and popular as they are.
Reality TV has been a very crucial part of popular culture for over the last decade because they have become more than just forms of entertainment. They have become like role models. This has to do with the idea of “being cool”. Teenagers today, in their growing stages, typically want to do what they can to “fit in” with the rest of the crowd. Since they are unlikely to follow their parents’ footsteps especially with trends and fashion, they will look up to whoever is on the big screen and is in or around their personal generation’s age.
To me, reality TV is nothing but motion picture version of a magazine. What we see on the big screen is not always what is true. Things can be skewed, altered and edited to where it appears almost perfect and influences the majority of people since it appears so realistic, when really, the people we see are just like we are, normal people. A major issue I feel that reality television has on the majority of the population is that it is able to influence both the ways men and women think and feel. Men will see idealized women on the big screen and may go out on their own search for that “perfect” woman they think they will find. Women will feel intimidated and self-conscious about the ways that they look and project themselves to the world and men and may find issues regarding self-esteem.
All in all, I feel that reality television has been and will be one of the biggest components of popular culture for many years to come. With technological advances emerging over time, reality television will eventually take over regular television broadcasts soon as well as the minds of those who search for a role model. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on the viewer and the actor or actress that they are idolizing.

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