Lit Review

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Brandon Lau
03/13/13
ENC 1102
Martinez
After exploring genres common to the field of television through a preliminary genre analysis, I continued analyzing the language and genres of my field by focusing in on reality television programs. I gathered articles relating to content of reality TV shows and motivations behind watching reality television programs. I found academic articles relating to reality TV and traced the patterns common in these articles. Through my research, I have found sources based on the effects of reality TV shows on society (Papacharissi and Mendelson; Patino, Kaltcheva, and Smith; Frank; Ferris, Sandi Smith, Greenberg, and Stacy Smith; Barton; Vandenbosch and Eggermont; Kocela) and other sources based on the actual content of reality TV shows (Cooke-Jackson and Hansen; Ouellette; Wilson, Robinson, and Callister). These sources have helped me attain a view of all aspects of reality television programming in relation to television production. In addition, these articles have helped me continue exploring the genre conventions that I will need to learn as I enter a new community through my major. Effects of watching reality television’s content on viewers Viewers tend to mimic in real life what they see on reality television shows. Some sources suggest that these mimicking behaviors may be harmful. (Ferris; Vandenbosch; Wilson) More specifically, in their February 2012 article, “Surviving Survivor: A Content Analysis of Antisocial Behavior and Its Context in a Popular Reality Television Show,” Christopher Wilson, Tom Robinson and Mark Callister present the possible effects of antisocial behavior in reality television shows on longtime viewers. They support their presentation by performing a study in which they identify antisocial behavior and ask viewers how they respond to it. Their purpose was to investigate the antisocial behaviors in reality TV shows in order to see how those behaviors have an effect on viewers. The results of their study indicate that, “the majority of antisocial acts were indirect aggression. (74%) However, the long-term exposure to this high dosage of indirect aggression could be harmful to young viewers.” (Wilson 276) Their audience was reality TV show viewers, and they target their audience by discussing the possible effects of continually watching reality television shows which contain anti-social behaviors. While Wilson, Robinson, and Callister (2012) were discussing antisocial behavior in reality television, Ferris (2007) discussed the romantic aspect of reality television, and its effect on viewers. In “The Content of Reality Dating Shows and Viewer Perceptions of Dating” they claim that there is a strong connection between the content of these reality dating shows and the actual dating attitudes. In order to support their claim, they performed a study, and from their results, they focused in an a few aspects of romantic reality television that affect the viewers’ love life. A few effects of reality dating shows that they discuss are the thoughts that “women are sex objects”, “dating is a game”, and men are sex driven. I agree with the first two thoughts, but the third, that men are sex driven, I do not agree with. In reality television shows, women are seen as “sex objects” and dating is portrayed as a game, but saying that men are sex driven is just wrong. I believe that reality television portrays both men and women as sex driven. The authors also took note of dating behaviors seen in the reality television shows, some of which include kissing, hugging, asking questions to get to know the date; drinking alcohol; going to a party, club, or bar; compliment the date; holding hands; and getting in a hot tub or spa. The authors reported that, “It is possible that the modeling of these behaviors is occurring as a result of watching reality dating shows.” (Ferris 506) I completely agree with that claim because many people, or viewers, look up to the people in reality...
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