It’s a Thursday night, around 9:45. What are you doing?
Relaxing, homework, getting ready to go out, eating, group projects
My friends and I are gathering to watch the latest episode of Jersey Shore.
No educational value, no way of stimulating the brain
However is increasingly popular
Season 2 was the #1 television series in the p-12-34 demo for summer 2010 and posted increasing growth every week Has a soundtrack, sticker book, wall calendar, bobble head dolls, shirts, water bottles, and even a book titled “Gym, Tanning, Laundry: The Official Jersey Shore Quote Book.” (“Jersey Shore”)
So where did this idea of reality TV come from? How many kinds of different reality TV are out there and why is this is overwhelmingly popular?
Topic 1: What is reality TV?
Reality TV is any unscripted program that shows real people, not actors or athletes in a specific environment.
Characters are real people
Not filmed on a set but natural living or working conditions No script
Events are unplanned which means they evolve from narrative contexts Primary purpose is viewer entertainment (Hildernrbrant)
Reality TV lasts for several months while game shows only last a day.
Topic 2: History
It is said by many, that Alan Funt began the idea of reality TV. At first he set up unconventional scenarios in his office. He used hidden microphones to capture people’s reactions and played this on the radio. This eventually led to being filmed and put on TV in 1948. Sound familiar? This was called Candid Camera.
Aired on TV for 5 decades (Loomis)
In 1989 COPS came on air because of the writers guild of American strike. This show followed police during their daily activities. It began with no music or narration just a simple camera following a police. Cops has 20 seasons of footage, totaling 700 episodes. (Cops)
In 2008, the Emmys awarded a stature to the best host of a reality TV show for the first time, which was exciting news to all reality TV fans. Award went to Jeff Probst: ‘Survivor’
Topic 3: Different kinds of reality TV
There are uncountable ways to group reality TV shows and I wont bore you with lists of them, but I’m going to talk about a few particularly interesting ones.
There are documentary style shows, special living conditions, celebrity, elimination, dating, job search, self improvement, hidden camera, hoax shows, talent shows, and science shows, just to name a few.
MTV alone, has dozens upon dozens of reality TV shows.
Temptation island is a show in which several couples agree to live amongst a group of singles of the opposite sex, in order to test the strength of their relationships.
Mates get to decide if they watch their significant others date and vice versa. This show is filled with sex and seduction. The show is emotionally manipulative. The point of the show does not accomplish the goal of testing relationships for faith and loyalty but its biased and in a radically unfair environment.
One show that caught me completely off guard is on TLC and called, “I didn’t know I was pregnant”. This show is about women who conceive and carry their babies through labor without knowing they are pregnant. The first few times I saw this show I thought, wow this is unusual, but after learning they have new episodes every week, it seems to be a set up.
Topic 4: Speculation about scripts and why everyone is so consumed
There is a lot of speculation going around about how true these shows are, and if there are scripts or certain things that are supposed to happen during an episode.
In 2004 VH1 presented a show called “Reality TV Secrets Revealed”
This show said various reality TV shows, specifically Joe Millionaire, combined audio and visual from different times to create an illusion that did not occur.
Joe Millionaire is a show in which girls compete to be the wife of a supposed millionaire. The shock is that he’s actually a working class construction worker....
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