Reality TV shows are cheap to produce and pay off with big ratings, often being among the week's most-watched programs. They're also a hot button for culture critics, who wonder about the value of these shows each time another one with a batch of hot-tempered and scantily clad people hits the screen. Believe it or not, some of these programs contain valuable lessons in trust, fairness and on-the-job success. Other People Are Reading
The Effect of Reality Television Shows Cons of Reality TV
How To Give and Accept Criticism
We've all winced or gaped at the cut-to-the-bone comments of former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell or shook our heads over the exuberance of Bruno Tonioli of "Dancing with the Stars." However, there is a constructive way and a hurtful way to give criticism.
Marriage counselors for years have touted that delivering the meat of critique between the cushy bread of compliments tends to create a sandwich most anyone can swallow. Carrie Ann Inaba of "Dancing with the Stars" often follows this mold, as did past "Idol" judges Paula Abdul and Ellen DeGeneres. Whether you're in front of millions or just your boss, hearing a few words about what went right is golden, especially when what went wrong feels mortifying.
Likewise, no boss or judge -- who has reached that pinnacle because of experience -- wants to hear sniping backtalk. The contestants on these shows who win likability points with the judges and the audience tend to say graciously what their goals were; however, they thank the experts for their advice.
Reality contestants sometimes say, "I'm not really like that; it's all edited for the camera." While there might be some truth to that, there also is the fact that the editors would have no material to assemble in a flattering or unflattering way if the person hadn't acted in a particular fashion. In real life, no one -- except perhaps our spouses, families and close friends -- sees us at our best and worst;...
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What Some Jobs Are Like
Granted, a season of "Project Runway" or "Top Chef" is no substitute for an internship with a fashion designer or chef. However, shows like "Dirty Jobs" and "Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel, "Undercover Boss" on CBS and "Ice Road Truckers" on the History Channel offer a glimpse into some professions and their stresses. Even with the drama and humor ramped up for the cameras, the nuts-and-bolts of the work rings true. If you or a youth in your household is curious about what it takes to be a fashion designer, own a restaurant, run a hotel or otherwise change careers, check out what 's profiled on some of these programs.
Some reality shows present the right advice at the right moment. Take "Supernanny" on the Style Network, where British nanny Jo Frost provides child-rearing and discipline tips to parents who don 't know how to handle their kids ' poor behavior. A&E 's "Intervention" is harrowing to watch, but it explores the damage wrought from an addiction to drugs or alcohol and the steps needed for recovery.
If you have a mind for offbeat trinkets and trivia, the History Channel 's "Pawn Stars" sprinkles educational snippets about history among the evaluation of items brought in for sale at a Las Vegas pawnshop. On one episode, a man offered to sell several photographs and negatives from the final Apollo Space Program mission; an expert determined that the images weren 't rare shots taken by the astronauts. They were publicity photos distributed to all media outlets at the time. Other items evaluated on the show include a restored 1957 Dr. Pepper vending machine and a Japanese land-mine kit that American soldiers trained with during World War II.
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