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Reality Tv

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Proposal and Thesis
Over the years, television has evolved from a black and white static box consisting of two, three, maybe four channels to a plethora of different makes and models with endless possibilities and diversity. With this multiplicity and popularity usually comes controversy. Reality television plays a big role in modern day television networks today, debuting on almost every channel at some time of the day. Although some people may enjoy these reality shows, is that enjoyment worth the negativity that it brings the other people who do not enjoy it or have interest in it? In this essay, there will be depictions of the negativity and positivity in reality television and what it can bring to the table, as well as the authenticity that reality TV possesses and lacks.
Tentative Outline
I. The reality in reality television
A. Validity of reality TV programs are usually composed and manipulated solely for entertainment.
B. The actors behind reality ‘stars’ put their reputation on the line just for an audience’s amusement.
C. Some reality shows are not just drama-filled trash, but is actually educational and are a positive perspective on reality TV such as Iron Chef or Pawn Stars.
II. Negative aspects of reality television shows
A. Reality TV can be viewed by people of all ages, including children who should not be watching most reality shows about drinking, sex and other adult topics.
B. Shows like Survivor and Real World: Challenge are good examples of dangerous situation that can arise from participating in a reality show that is made for pure entertainment.
C. The audience of a reality show becomes uneducated by watching the fantasies depicted by the shows, causing misunderstanding about real world topics.
III. Positive aspects of reality television shows
A. Particular shows are actually more educational than for entertainment such as American Restoration.
B. Some shows are good for the ‘contestants’ or participants of the show such as American Idol, Cupcake Wars and Extreme Home Makeover, all of which are beneficial for the people involved in the show to better their career or help their poverty-stricken family.
C. If monitored correctly by parents, some shows can actually be a counterexample for young people such as Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. These shows can be used to teach children what is right from wrong and show the negative effects of doing wrong.

Annotated Bibliography
Barron, Jacob. "Reality TV...Real Good or Bad." Collegiate Times [Virginia Tech] 18 Nov. 2005. Web.

This source emphasizes the fake, staged side of reality television, and does it well. The writer of the article actually gives good reason as to why most reality TV is so staged that it is in fact not realistic at all. He states that most reality shows shoot hours and hours of footage and then edit out the boring, normal scenes that are not so entertaining. This leaves only the clips that contain out of the ordinary, interesting footage making the show itself not so practical after all. The author also show the side of reality TV that is so focused on money that everything else is put on the back burner. For instance, he uses the example of Jersey Shore to explain how it started out as any other reality TV show and the minute it blew up and made money, they kept playing it up so that they would continue to make money. This makes sense in a business aspect, but what about the reputation and morale of the actors on the show? This article is well written and very relatable giving it a lot of flexibility in its target audience.

Christiansen, Peter. The “Reality” of Health: Reality Television and the Public Health. Washington DC: Peter Christiansen, 2008. Print.

This source gives very statistical data to show how reality TV can be considered to be healthy and educational. Christiansen demonstrates a small info graph depicting the viewer ratings of different educational reality TV shows such as The Biggest Loser, Miracle Workers, and Home Makeover concluding that people are choosing to watch reality TV over other forms of entertainment on television more and more. Christiansen states, “… these factors: perceived reality and a heightened sense of connection or identification with show participants are known to increase the likelihood that viewers’ knowledge, attitudes, values and behavior will be influenced by exposure to the shows” arguing that reality TV is an educational aspect of society in today’s world.

Fletcher, Heather. "TELEVISION; Drink Up. It 's Not Like You Have Lines to Learn."TELEVISION. NY Times, 29 Oct. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.

This source focuses on substance abuse in today’s reality television shows. What message does this send young people? Fletcher interviewed actual contestants and actors from reality shows during 2006 and quoted them to give a more personal response from the reality stars themselves. One of the interviewees states that the producers of his particular reality show encouraged consumption of alcohol before most emotional filmed scenes on the show and often made alcohol readily available to the cast. The producers allegedly “gave the cast alcohol to calm their nerves of being first timers on television with such a big audience, its stressful”. But would the audience be so large if they were only watching normal people do boring, normal things? I think not. Substance abuse on television plays a big factor in its popularity increase over the past decade. Many people live vicariously through television shows, but children have access to these explicit channels too.
Machota, Jon. "Reality TV show affecting Maverick 's Lamar Odom on the court." Sports Day DFW. The Dallas Morning News, 19 Mar 2012. Web. 11 Apr 2012. .

This source comments exclusively on Lamar Odom, husband of Khloe Kardashian, and former LA Laker player. Machota uses Odom as a real life example of how his claim of fame on reality television can take a toll on your reputation as well as your career. Since Odom was introduced on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and later had his own show with his wife Khloe and Lamar his average per game for basketball have decreased dramatically resulting in a trade from the LA Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks. Machota also says that many close sources of Odom admit that he knows the reality TV show has had a big impact on all of the negative changes in his life as of recently. This source depicts very descriptively how becoming so wrapped up in the lime light of a TV show can really take a toll on what is important in life. Another example of this is the famous show Hogan Knows Best that eventually resulted in divorce for Hulk and his wife and rehab for their eldest son. Of course these two examples are not how everyone is affected by reality TV, but why take the risk?

Niemeyer, Brooke. "How Reality TV Has Blurred the Truth." Us Television.com. Us Television, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.

This source gives many good, specific examples of reality television and how those specific TV shows are affecting their audiences and actors/contestants as well. Niemeyer states that there are reality shows that risk both reputation and health such as Fear Factor and Teen Mom both contributing to the distorting blur of reality. She also fights the theory that shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant show young girls how tough it is to be a young mother and give up your youth. Niemeyer argues that shows like these glorify teen pregnancy making it seem as if being in a similar situation as them will bring you fame and popularity as it does in many of the episodes of these shows. The variety of examples in this article gives great evidence as to why reality TV is scripted and dim-witted.

Rowen, Beth. "History of Reality TV." Infoplease.com. Infoplease, 21 July 2000. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. .

This source focuses much more on the past life of reality shows and gives a good argument for how we ended up and how we are today in society with reality TV. Because this article was published in 2000, there was a much different perspective twelve years ago then there is today. This gives a new outlook on the evolution of reality television and the change in people’s opinion on it as well. While America’s Funniest Home Videos thrived in the 80’s and 90’s, it died down after being pelted with competition from scandalous shows such as Survivor and Room Raiders. Shows like these displayed a much more compelling and outrageous entertainment starting the big kick on reality TV attractiveness and the next big gig called The Real World. In 1992, this show was the next big thing and was kind of the show that got the ball rolling on all of other reality-based shows.

Bibliography: Barron, Jacob. "Reality TV...Real Good or Bad." Collegiate Times [Virginia Tech] 18 Nov. 2005. Web. This source emphasizes the fake, staged side of reality television, and does it well Christiansen, Peter. The “Reality” of Health: Reality Television and the Public Health. Washington DC: Peter Christiansen, 2008. Print.

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