English 1301 12:30M/W
1 March 2013
The REAL in reality television
Young teens usually encounter a new "Real World" TV show while flipping through the channels. "Real World" are all about young people living together under one roof. These shows have kept society entertained and are always the top of discussion. Reality television is corrupting our society by being dishonest, relying on humiliation and conflict to create entertainment, and sending the wrong message to the youth.
These deceiving reality shows seem to be edited and maybe even scripted out. Isn't there always choose seven young good-looking strangers that share or bare their differences. How real is the reality TV show? Well, for one we know that filming could take up to 300 hours, and only the best footage can be combined to create a thirty minute episode. Philadelphia Inquirer, Jonathan Storm says these "so-called reality shows are spreading across television faster than microbes at a murder scene. Carefully cast, expertly edited, frequently more contrived than the decorations at the junior prom, they present heightened worlds that are usually more fiction than fact"(1). Oh, and another thing, the cast enforces their 30+ page contract for every contestant to agree. If there wasn't enough editing most of the show would not even be as interesting. For an example, when film editors merge the sound effects and the suspenseful face expressions into a slow motion scene. I am pretty sure you can notice all of the blurred out body parts and profanity during an intense episode. Before going on commercial there is always a huge conflict about to burst out that leaves viewers glued to the TV screen.
Do we enjoy watching others being bullied or humiliated? All the drama that goes on in these shows seems to catch a lot of viewers attention. Last season on the "Jersey Shore" show, Snooki got punched in the face by a man at the bar. The erupted violence on these reality TV shows only gave them more ratings. When Snooki got arrested for public intoxication she was quickly bonded out and later laughed it off with her roommates. Going to jail is fun and reckless. Is that really what's being taught to the youth? According to Opposing Viewpoints, "reality TV shows are no longer just voyeuristic journeys into the failings of real people, but launching pads for fame-seekers looking to parlay publicity--good or bad--into a career"(Associated Press). Reality shows tend to rely on a certain set of predetermined roles. The troublemaker, the player, the mean girl, etc. In the editing room they exaggerate those characteristics even further to pursue the conflict and drama. Such shows set up expectations that this is normal behavior, and so it legitimizes relational aggression in the real world. And with all the behavior we have seen in recent years with bullying in schools, is this the behavior we really want to encourage?" One great example is "The Situation" from the show "Jersey Shore" bringing all the different girls back to the Jersey Shore house If the girls are "DTF", (an abbreviation that Jersey Shore has came up with, meaning they are Down To have sexual intercourse with them). Although "The Situation" is admired for his cleverness, he is also humiliating the girls on national television. Film director Steven Soderbergh said recently, "that's not reality, it's just another aesthetic form of fiction"(qtd. in Blundell).
These instant celebs are a bad influence to the youth and only make them believe that it's easy to become famous like them. The whole show consists of drama, mating, heartaches, fighting, profanity, and partying. Most of the contestants are careless about being half dressed or being intoxicated. "Television serves as a model for social behavior and interaction, especially for young viewers, many of whom pick up social cues from how they see their favorite TV personalities behave. Consider the lessons those children are learning from reality programs," according to Aubree Rankin, an analyst with the Parents Television Council(7). Reality shows convey important daily activities such as- Striving for a career, working hard for money, family bonding, also health. Most of the contestants dropped out of college and absolutely love the night life. An average college student should be staying up late to study hard and keep up with a mentor.
Now the big question is..should reality TV shows be banned? Maybe that would be impossible since the producers know their rights from the first Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Reality TV shows have been a great success for these producers. However, there are other ways we can minimize the youth from being exposed to bad influence. Parents could ban their child from watching these reality TV shows, and instead keep them busy with circular activities. Besides, television is only one source of entertainment.