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Television and Its Effects on Its Viewers

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Television And Its Effects On Its Viewers Most of today’s society might think that reality TV started with MTV’s hit show the real world, or CBS’ show Survivor. That in fact is not true, reality TV started in 1948 with the Alan Funt Show called “Candid Camera” which was originally started as a radio show when he was in the service. Reality TV blew up as a major part of television around 1999–2000 with the triumph of such television series like Big Brother. Programs in the reality television programs are often produced in a television series. Reality television often depicts a custom-made and highly subjective form of the normal daily life, at times exploiting lies to attract viewers and increase marketing profits. Reality TV is not just television programs like Jersey Shore, but reality based programs such as, Friends or Seinfeld, but even reality based movies like The Help. All these programs and movies have a way of warping the sense of what reality truly is.
In today’s society people are captivated by what they see on television. Viewers tend to spend most of their days watching TV rather than being productive. Television has become a way to communicate with others. The way we perceive movies is much different from reality television, with movies we have the ability to know the characters and situations are fictional, but we tend to relate certain roles of characters with the outside world, as the Authors James Harold and Susan Douglas, explain in their articles. In the article written by Francine Prose she reveals that with reality TV, the viewer is not able to distinguish what is real and what is fictional, ultimately the viewer believes everything they see on reality TV as being true in the outside world.

Reality based television and movies has the ability to perplex the associations between people in the real life. The fact that television has certain programs and movies that takes over the minds of its viewers, which eventually makes the viewer stop thinking about outside problems and only relate to problems that the characters possess. Fictional movies and programs are not the only thing that captivates its audience, but reality television is now a huge factor in today’s society and television programming. Reality television, and movies, often represents a very unclear and restricted view of reality and the subsequent effects of everyday viewing of these potential lies that can bring to mind strong emotions for a character or person we might not have originally had.
Today’s viewers tend to have a more optimistic view towards television. When people are watching certain programs, they have the ability to relate with what is happening in the program. Whether it be happy or sad, it will ultimately have no affect on the viewer watching it; they will have the ability to understand the morals of each show. James Harold the author of the article “A Moral Never-Never Land: Identifying with Tony Soprano,” states that television has the ability to help people evaluate emotions and problems on the show. People that view television programs, have a deep inside look on what is good and bad. Not everyone that watches TV is affected by the program. In the hit HBO program The Sopranos, Tony Soprano is the Mob boss that threatens and kills people. Harold states, that it’s okay to like Tony because he is a fictional character (241).

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When people realize that Tony is a fictional character, they tend not to relate their problems and emotions to the show because the show is not real in any sense. Television shows such as The Sopranos make people emotionally attached to the character and their problems, even if they are fictional. When people hear about the anarchy and love of diverse societies, they have the tendency to convey a positive response to their thoughts of television. Harold states, “One of the things that worries some of us is that television shows like The Sopranos make very bad people seem, well, likeable” (242). When a viewer feels angry after watching a television program, they must recognize that it is not real. Even if a television show gives an impression that an evil character is likeable due to certain aspects of the program, there are no signs that the character is completely evil and they probably do have some good in them. Much like theses television shows, reality television plays a huge role in how we preserve people portrayed on such shows.
Reality based television programs that appear to be “real” like the news or even day time soap operas tend to change the viewers’ outlook of reality or that of social reality. Reality TV has taken over since the turn of the 21st century, and no one can contradict its popularity with different demographics. In the article “Signs of Intelligent Life on TV,” Susan Douglas states, how viewers see women on television shows such as “NYPD Blue, ER, and Chicago Hope.” Although these programs have female characters who are "smart, efficient, and successful”,” they’re still the weaker sex"(308). “The overall meaning in the three shows is that, yes, women can be as competent as men, but their entrance into the workforce has wrecked the family and made women so
Zaboy 4 independent and hard-hearted that dealing with them and understanding them is impossible"(308). Regardless of this representation of females being portrayed as a “bitch” on TV, women are still loyal to such shows, mainly because the female role is typically smart and strong, not of the average female. Shows such as these tell woman that if you want to succeed in this man’s world you must be a “bitch” or have so many issues that no one will be able to understand you. Reality based TV shows have the ability to affect the views and values of its everyday viewers.
Reality based movies have a tremendous affect on viewers in today’s society.
The article, “So You Wanna Be a Gangster?” written by Todd Boyd talks about how society has always been captivated by the gangsters because of their rebelliousness of normal society, and the fact they live in their own world. In films, gangsters are often characterized by ethnicity, such as, Italian VS White Anglo-Saxon Protestant like in the hit movies The Godfather. Boyd talks about how films in the 80s “shift away from the ethnic gangster to the radicalized gangsta,” (Boyd, 378). Films have the ability to change the face of gangsters to fit the needs of its viewers. When Boyd goes on to talk about the Dennis Hopper movie colors he states, “ Colors, for all intents and purposes, made the gangbanger America’s contemporary criminal choice, turning a localized problem into a national epidemic that once again linked crime with specific notions of race” (379). Dennis Hopper took the Black and Latinos and made them out to be the criminals, while the Whites were the victim. This in facts implies that no way could a white person be a criminal, and to a person who believes what they are watching could ultimately damage

Zaboy 5 their view on other races. Therefore, reality based movies have the potential to not portray the whole truth, but portray what its views want.
Reality TV critics argue that these shows satisfy to the unknowledgeable and somehow manage to make the rest of us dumber for watching. I don’t think it’s possible to lose brain cells or cognitive performance simply from tuning into a TV show. I think a far greater concern for critics is the sense of authority viewers obtain from watching reality TV. The truth is many people watch these shows to feel better about their own lives. What does that say about our society’s ability to promote a healthy self-image? Francine Prose, the author of the article, “Voting Democracy off the Island”, it talks about the boost in popularity of reality television programs, as she mentions in her article, such shows as “Survivor, The Apprentice, The Bachelor, and Average Joe.” Prose shows how the program producers have benefited on casting ordinary, “Average
Joe,” actors to compete in unusual ways to gain prizes such as money and or love. The competitions involve strategies, such as being misleading and sneaky, that a person would not always show in a normal competition. Participants in reality TV are often placed in foreign locations or unusual situations, they are often swayed to act in specific ways by off-screen "story editors" or producers, with the representation of events and their speech manipulated and manufactured to create an false impression of reality through and post-production editing techniques.
Viewers of reality television who are captivated by these daily programs are normally deeply involved in any situation. Therefore, certain reality television shows are based on topics that have no thought process or notions. The viewers as a result gets
Zaboy 6 obsessed on to TV shows, which do not really have any intellectual idea. For instance, these shows often highlights continuous fights between groups and even televise certain moments not appropriate for viewing for a family spectators. Reality TV has taught us to celebrate the misfortune of others. Many viewers enjoy watching reality TV because it makes them feel better about themselves. Prose argues that because audiences are so fascinated by reality shows, they become oblivious to everyday standards. The programs turn everyday events like dating, job hunting, and turns them into vicious competition that are meant to humiliate the competitors and make them fight each other. In an argument stated in the article, “Has Reality TV Gone Too Far?” the author states,
“Opponents of reality TV say the shows manipulate people who just want to be rich or famous by making them do outrageous things, like eat bugs. They point out that on many shows, contestants get humiliated by judges, teaching viewers that it 's ok to laugh at people 's misery. Other shows, like The Swan or The Bachelor, value superficial traits like good looks - over good behavior.”
The more people watch reality based television shows, the more they are exposed to these misrepresentations of reality, the more they will come see the real world as equivalent to the world portrayed on television. “Opponents also argue that reality TV doesn 't give us an honest view of the world, because TV editors cut hours and hours of footage into small 30- or 60-minute segments that don 't show you what actually happened.” Reality Television does not give us all the truth behind it, it gives the viewer exactly want they want to see.

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Reality television has given us glances into human communication that support backstabbing, lying, and immunity challenges such as survivor, and fist pumping Jersey
Shore idiots. Television shows where you are able to see profound areas of human emotions can be passed over for programs that are full of drama. No matter how bad a reality TV show may perceives the people on them, people in the everyday world thrive to be on such shows in hope to find love, money and or fame. In the article, “Reality TV Thrives on Human,” states, “Perhaps viewers should draw the line. But it 's mainly those who are willing to sacrifice friends, family and dignity for money and/ or fame who have crossed it” (Dayton Daily News). Reality TV has the ability to destroy the traditional family values.
Viewers in today’s society give the impression that they can not get enough of the suffering, humiliation, appeal, and especially, all the drama of other, everyday people being placed in impractical settings and manipulating it to give the viewers what they want to see. Reality television shows have become popular for all the wrong reasons. Viewers may be sucked into watching the drama and keeping up with the characters interaction with one another before a next argument, but I do not see the point in doing so. I feel that these television shows portray the wrong message to teens and that they want people to think that being rich is the answer to everything. The emphasis of reality based television is so intense emotionality that the viewers get lost in the characters emotions. The more we view movies and reality TV, the more likely we are to relate them to the everyday life. If we as viewers can change how we look at these movies and

Zaboy 8 television programs, and be able to decipher what is real and what is fictional, the more likely we are to change the face of television forever.

Work Cited
Boyd, Todd. “So You Wanna Be A Gangster?” Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009.
Douglas, Susan. “Signs of Intelligent Life on TV.” Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009.
Harold, James. “A Moral Never-Never Land: Identifying with Tony Soprano.”Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009.
"Has Reality TV Gone Too Far?" Scholastic Scope Sep 17 2007: 22-3. ProQuest Education Journals; ProQuest Research Library. Web. 10 July 2012 .
Prose, Francine. “Voting Democracy off the Island: Reality TV and the Republican Ethos.”Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009.
"Reality Tv Thrives on Human Weakness." Dayton Daily News: A.8. ProQuest Newsstand. Feb 14 2004. Web. 11 July 2012 .

Cited: Boyd, Todd. “So You Wanna Be A Gangster?” Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009. Douglas, Susan. “Signs of Intelligent Life on TV.” Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009. Harold, James. “A Moral Never-Never Land: Identifying with Tony Soprano.”Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009. "Has Reality TV Gone Too Far?" Scholastic Scope Sep 17 2007: 22-3. ProQuest Education Journals; ProQuest Research Library. Web. 10 July 2012 . Prose, Francine. “Voting Democracy off the Island: Reality TV and the Republican Ethos.”Signs of Life In The USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Eds Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik. 6th Ed Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009. "Reality Tv Thrives on Human Weakness." Dayton Daily News: A.8. ProQuest Newsstand. Feb 14 2004. Web. 11 July 2012 .

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