Reality TV

By: Brenda

Reality Television

            The reality show I have chosen to analyze is “Lockdown” (Season 2 episode 4). This deals with juveniles (ages from 13-24) in the criminal justice system. I watch this on a regular basis but had never taken the time to analyze the true meaning of the show through different perspectives. The “reality” show demonstrates juveniles that have been in and out of the criminal justice system for years and are finally on their last chance before they are sent to prison. There they will face serious offenders where they are in serious danger while serving their long-term sentences out.  When I first watched this show I saw it as just another show about delinquent juveniles. After reading the articles I started to understand that it was more than that. I began to see the scripted scenes, snuck in product placement, stereotypes, and the stretched reality! As well as the ideologies presented through out the episode.

I started to become aware of the elements in reality television that are portrayed in “Lockdown.” Elements that I found particularly important were scripted scenes. Officers were extremely hard on the juveniles which was part of the program but they were also portrayed as “soft” and “caring” when individual interviews were conducted.  They knew all the juveniles names (which seemed unrealistic considering the number of inmates) and spoke positively about them. Another thing I became aware of was product placement. There was coke, and other food suppliers shown in the episode as well as brands responsible for clothing the inmates not to mention the facility where the juveniles were located. This gave them the opportunity to promote their program as the last chance for juveniles. Stereotypes were extremely portrayed. Hispanics were full of tattoo belonging to gangs with violent pasts and broken families. African Americans were gang members with serious drug addictions broken families if any with low levels of education and literacy levels. Caucasians had the smallest number of juveniles who were first time offenders that came from pretty good homes and were on the “right” path and meet the “wrong” people. Everything in the show was demonstrated as worse than reality, all offenders were “broken” down and cried for the show, all families seemed to be extremely concerned and juveniles were willing to summit to any authority figure. The ideology that I thought was presented the most was the idea that the world is always presented in a particular way. Every character was made out to act exactly what society believed they should act like. They were bad kids who would do anything to get out. Lie, cheat, and trick anyone who could help them get out. Overall I have become aware that reality TV must be taken with a grain of salt. Everything we see cant be taken to be the ultimate truth. One must question how much is real? And what is not? To be able to draw their own conclusions.

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