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The Reality Television Controversy Essay

There are many controversies that come in and out of our lifetime.

Whether or not we let these things affect the way we live puts a spin on how we can react to them. Reality TV has been around for a long time and it seems like the longer it’s around the more “reality” gets distorted. It is proven that the more young adults watch these TV shows, the more they are prone to act the way the world wants them to be. I’m arguing that reality television is all around a bad idea.

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In this paper I will discuss my arguments and counterarguments on how the “reality” is a mockery, how harmful it is on a younger generation, and how it’s entertaining for the wrong reasons. I went into some research to see actually how much “reality” was a part of these reality television shows and the reality of it isn’t as real as you would think. Most TV shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or The Bachelor are for entertainment instead of informing you of what’s going on in their lives. James Poniewozik states, “The problem is that makers of reality TV have the power to imply or outright fabricate things about real people who have to carry their fake reputations into their real lives” (Poniewozik).

The viewers feel like they’re being lied to, in a way. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, reality television is defined as “U. S. television programs that focus on non-fictional subject matter, primarily with the aim of providing entertainment rather than information. They say in this definition that the focus is non-fiction, but would you say that’s what it could be classified as? Most producers are distorting the reality of the whole show.

In James Poniewozik article, “How Reality TV Fakes It,” he lists five tricks that shows use to distort the reality of it all. The first trick is frankenbiting; this is where producers pick and pull what scenes they want to come together what they wish it had been. The second trick is fake settings; the name is explanatory in itself but for example, they can use stage sets for certain scenes in a show if the real setting doesn’t fit their perfect description. The third trick is misleading montage. It is literally misleading because this is where they cut and paste certain scenes where the actor may seem upset over something so small when in reality she was upset about something that happened in a different scene in the show. The fourth trick is the leading interview.

This is when the person can be in question and if they didn’t provide enough information to make a fake conflict on the show, they can used questions they asked in the right manner and mix and match their words. The last trick is the overdub. This is where editors can add captions and noises to scenes in shows to make it seem like theirs more going on. In general, people love reality TV. Even knowing that most of the scenes in the show are hoaxes, they still watch it for many reasons. It’s entertaining, and many feel like they can relate because they are average people playing fake roles.

Media has made communication easier for the world today, which makes it easier for directors and producers to communicate to their audiences using TV shows. As the horizons broaden for entertainment, it makes it harder to compete for the audiences’ attention. It seems that fiction shows create more of an audience; this is why producers have created a reality TV formula to show what those shows should contain in order to be a successful reality TV show. Bonnie Johnson and Michael Graves, in their article “Keeping it Real,” give us a formula that most reality TV follow, “The reality TV formula includes the following: real people, uncontrolled situations, immediacy and intimacy, an emphasis on conflict in which participants balance individual and community needs, an observational style, a ‘confessional space,’ editing to create an entertaining package, and interactive elements (voting, texting by home viewers)” (214). The fact that these entertaining and interactive tools are used in these reality TV shows are being used by planners makes it a successful engagement tool. Planners also believe that these shows are great way for their audiences to go out and try different lifestyles.

Friends, although it’s not classified as a reality show, it’s a show where six friends live together in New York and portrays real life situations of people who live in New York. This can influence viewers to want to also live in New York with their six friends. In conclusion, the directors and producers are not all worried about the actual reality of their lives but the twists and turns they can add in the show to make their “lives” seem more interesting in the light. Remember about twenty years ago when MTV actually lived up to its name? Well, these days, it contains reality TV shows such as, Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, Real World, Catfish, and The Hills. Should I name more or do you have the point? All of these reality TV shows have one thing in common, many of the young generation feel this is what “normal” is.

“Normal” in these shows has excessive alcohol consumption, premarital sex, teen pregnancy, or irrational behavior. All of which is the main ingredients of bad influences. Most people feel as if they’re not as easily influenced as others but “experts fear that a steady diet of watching people behaving badly increases our tolerance for rudeness — or even violence” (Is Reality TV Messing With Your Head). Watching reality TV is like eating junk food; the more you do it, the unhealthier it is. Instead, watch TV shows that don’t contain immoral stances.

An example of these types of TV shows would be shows like American Idol, Dancing with The Stars, The Voice, or Iron Chef. These reality TV shows might have some point of drama or battles but the majority is positive and the audience is able to interact with the shows. I believe that the parents of this generation should talk to their kids about these shows, teach them to live in their own reality, and be inspired in the right ways. The main audience of reality TV in the younger generation is teenage girls.

They somehow thrive on conflicts and drama that occurs in these shows. This is why many people believe that these TV shows have influenced these young girls to behave a certain way. Weller says that, “In 2011, they asked more than 1,100 American girls, between the ages of 11 and 17, questions about their attitudes and reality TV viewing habits. ” Whether or not the girls watched reality TV, they still asked both parties the same questions.

They asked questions such as if they believed gossip was a normal part of a relationship between girls or if they had to lie to get what they want. To make a conclusion to Weller’s argument, he states that, “heavy reality TV viewers tended to see the gap between a producer’s rendering of reality and the real thing as being much narrower than a non viewer would. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an addiction is “the state or condition of being dedicated or devoted to a thing of an immoderate or compulsive kind. ” Everyone can be addicted to something in his or her life and that can include the idea that reality TV can fill a gap in one’s life. Just like any other addiction, a person can become obsessed with the show.

Not every show can be a bad thing to be obsessed with, but the gap that the show fills may become more harmful than one can handle. Viewers are sold on the twisted, perfect reality of the cast’s lives in the show. But in “real” reality, the producers have sold the illusion that it’s less perfect than they have portrayed. Steven Dodrill says that, “The studies’ hypotheses were developed to gauge connectedness with regards to the areas of popularity, excitement, academic achievement, and physical attractiveness” (105-106). The more that these producers use these tricks, the more the views and the more the shows can take over their life for that moment in time. With every so-called wrong opinion, there’s another’s right opinion.

Many people can argue that reality TV is just plain, good entertainment. Like I said in previous arguments, producers use certain tactics to draw their audiences in. In the show, The Makeover, they show the family’s self-improvement through the media. They use this to draw you in through an emotional pull. You see the family’s life in the beginning and towards the end you see how this show has blessed them with a house of their dreams. This allows you to have a reflexive aspect with the show.

It also allows you to sort of live through this family and their future happiness. Katherine Sender states that, “Audiences aspire to be good citizens by adopting the shows’ guidelines for living as a resource that they draw on to reform themselves in line with the values” (48). Sender is explaining that these shows are sort of forming their hired cast to be part of their perfect sob story to draw the audience in and think about what good they are doing in their life. Reality television has made such an impact in this century that if they were to completely boycott the idea of the reality, it would become a huge controversy. If we die down the extremities of the immoral behavior in these shows, less of our population would reject the entertainment.

I believe that reality TV argues many positives, negatives, and independent views. I don’t watch reality TV for the reason that to me, it’s corrupt and I’m better off not worrying about other people’s real or fake lives. I’ve seen these shows directly affect college students in an obsession with watching the show and they reject other priorities in their life. Watching these shows in moderation can help this problem and reassure parents that their kids may only be watching it for simple entertainment. I hope that discussing my arguments and counter-arguments will show that in general, reality TV is a mockery of reality and in that it has a harmful impact on the younger generation and it can be entertaining for the wrong reasons.


“addiction, n.

” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 19 November 2014.

Dodrill, Steven M. “The Appeal Of Reality Television For Teen And Pre-Teen Audiences. ” Journal Of Youth Ministry 10. 2 (2012): 104-107. Academic Search Complete.

Web. 20 Oct. 2014. “Is Reality TV Messing With Your Head?. ” Scholastic Choices 28.

3 (2012): 12-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Johnson, Bonnie J. , and Michael Graves. “Keeping It Real. ” Journal Of The American Planning Association 77. 3 (2011): 214-231.

Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. Poniewozik, James.

“Why Reality TV Is Good For Us. ” Time 161. 7 (2003): 64. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Oct.

2014. Poniewozik, James, and Jeanne McDowell. “How Reality TV Fakes It. ” Time 167. 6 (2006): 60-62.

Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.

“reality, n. ” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 19 November 2014.

Sender, Katherine. The Makeover: Reality Television And Reflexive Audiences. New York: New York University Press, 2012. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

27 Oct. 2014. Weller, Chris. “Welcome To My Un-Reality. ” Newsweek Global 162. 6 (2014): 106-110.

Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.

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The Reality Television Controversy Essay
There are many controversies that come in and out of our lifetime. Whether or not we let these things affect the way we live puts a spin on how we can react to them. Reality TV has been around for a long time and it seems like the longer it’s around the more “reality” gets distorted. It is proven that the more young adults watch these TV shows, the more they are prone to act the way the world wants them to be. I'm arguing that reality television is all around a bad idea.
2021-07-12 23:55:50
The Reality Television Controversy Essay
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