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True Life: Reality Television Is Scripted

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Since the 1990’s, when reality television first started becoming widely popular, we have been able to see into the lives of different kinds of people, often turning everyday people into celebrities. With some of the most popular reality television shows, like Big Brother, True Life, American Idol, and most recently Jersey Shore, we are led on to believe that it is all real ("The Hunger Games Theme of Versions of Reality”). The reality of this television though is that most of it is either altered or manipulated just for our own entertainment. The directors of some of these shows often script, manipulate and plan situations to make the shows more appealing to their audiences ("How Much of the Reality”). Even in popular books like The Hunger Games where reality television is a theme, it is shown that it is changed just for the entertainment of the viewers ("The Hunger Games Theme of Versions of Reality”). While it is perceived to be real, the title of “reality television” is a misnomer because most showed turn out to be fake and scripted. Reality television directors push their participants into exploiting themselves for the entertainment of their viewers. There are hundreds of reality television shows currently on, and they make up a large portion of what people are exposed to in popular media, especially young people. While most shows won’t admit to being scripted, in fear of losing their “reality television” title, some shows have admitted to planning situations to get a good reaction out to the cast, which makes for more interesting television. Also, some directors have said that they do push the participants to the edge when they can to get interesting reactions out of them. They say there are lines that they don’t tend to cross, but they like to mess with the mind of their participants of their shows ("How Much of the Reality”). By pushing the people to their limits, and manipulating situations, they basically do whatever they can to produce an entertaining show. In the country of Panem, where the book The Hunger Games takes place, reality television is something that the people look forward to each year. The people of Panem and especially the people in the Capitol gather together and look forward to seeing the games each year; just as a group of friends may get together and watch the season premiere of Jersey Shore. The people look forward to one show in particular though, called The Hunger Games. But this reality show they watch is a little different than the ones we watch; instead of living in a house with strangers, or hopefully finding true love, the contestants kill one another until one is left standing ("The Hunger Games Theme of Versions of Reality). The game makers, who are the ones controlling the game don’t seem to always make it fair, that’s where is seems scripted in a way. There are several examples in the book where The Hunger Games was altered simply for the entertainment of the viewers. First, throughout the training Katniss, the main character of the story, is told to be and act like someone whom she is not. Katniss is told to act friendly, and personable, and desirable so that she will have a stronger chance to surviving the games and it will make the viewers like her (Collins 135). Also another important example of when the Capitol changed the game for entertainment purposes is when they set fire to the forest to keep Katniss in the game (Collins 171). They also set the fire to give the viewers some excitement. In today’s reality TV, the directors will stir up conflicts and situations often to create excitement. In modern day reality television and also a fictional version of reality TV in The Hunger Games, entertainment of their audiences is more important than the actual realness of what they are showing. Being said to be some of the most romantic shows on television, an average of 17 million people tune in each week to view The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. What seems to be true love on screen, doesn’t always translate to that off screen. The success rates of the show’s relationships are low. In the 23 combined seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette only 17% of couples are still together. Most of the couple who are not together anymore broke up between 1 month and 1 year after the finale of the show. With so many failed relationships resulting so quickly from the show, it makes viewers wonder how much of the romances were actually enhanced for the for entertainment of the show ("How Many Bachelor”). Reality television is widely popular in today’s entertainment; it seems like you can’t turn the TV on without having not having the option of catching up on a different version of reality television. We are led on to believe that it is all real, but the reality of these television programs is that it isn’t all real. A lot of it is faked just to get a good show, and to entertain people. While simply the genre of reality TV naturally drives people’s interests in, so the directors manipulate situations and people reactions to produce something that they hope to get as many viewers as possible. Its supposedly “reality television,” so why isn’t it all real?

Work Cited

"How Much of the Reality Show Is Scripted?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine,
30 July 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. .

"The Hunger Games Theme of Versions of Reality." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc.,
2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. .

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.

"How Many Bachelor and Bachelorette Couples Actually Make It? - The Bachelor.”
Home - wetpaint.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. .

Cited: "How Much of the Reality Show Is Scripted?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 July 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. . "The Hunger Games Theme of Versions of Reality." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. . Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print. "How Many Bachelor and Bachelorette Couples Actually Make It? - The Bachelor.” Home - wetpaint.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. .

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