Reality TV’s Effects

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.
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