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How Real Are Reality Shows Essay Topics

If a person turns their TV on in almost any country, most likely the channels will be filled with different kinds of reality shows. This is no surprise, because this kind of TV program has become amazingly popular in recent decades. Such shows are entertaining and addicting to watch, as they focus not on fictional characters, but on real people put in different contexts and situations. However, regardless of the entertainment it delivers, a question may arise: is there something more to watching reality shows than being entertained?

When evaluating reality shows, several factors should be taken in consideration. The “reality” that is usually shown on TV is not the same objective reality we live in. Every reality show has a core idea to which the behavior of its contestants is subdued—though the participants are not obliged to act one way or another, they still follow the script, and their behavior is then evaluated (by audiences, other show participants, moderators, and so on). “All TV shows, not just reality shows, help construct scenarios that demonstrate how some behaviors will be rewarded or punished. The concern is that frequent viewers of these shows will learn these behaviors, see them as desirable and then model them in the actual real world,” says Dr. Brad Gorham, chair of the Communications Department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (USA Today).

If we try to figure out what is so entertaining about reality shows, we can reach this conclusion: it is the humiliation and mocking of the contestants that makes people amused. Indeed, if we analyze such a popular show as American Idol, we will easily notice many episodes of this program are dedicated to making fun of the contestants, whose performing abilities were lower compared to other participants (which does not necessarily mean they are deprived of talent, or are worse in any other way). This can create an audience (which mostly consists of teenagers) that rate and assess people based on their qualities, such as appearance or skills; this model forms a solid basis for discriminating behavior and a lack of tolerance (eHow).

Yet another negative effect of reality shows is a distorted depiction of relationships between genders. Many reality shows address sexual themes, or depict relationships based on scandals and fights. Relationships on TV contrast real life ones: they tend to be less stable and harmonious, they are sexualized, and usually aimed at bringing more popularity to those engaged in them. Since it is difficult to control the access of underaged audiences to TV programs, children and teenagers are exposed to the risks of developing a wrong perception of relationships based on what they see on TV, which is unacceptable (RFA.edu).

Even though reality shows have become extremely popular, it does not mean they are beneficial for their audiences. Rather often, these shows display role models that are based on semi-artificial circumstances and environments. However, these models are still seen as desirable by viewers. In addition, humiliation, which makes the basis of the entertainment component in the majority of reality shows, teaches audiences to rate people based on their physical or psychological qualities, which can create a solid basis for discriminating behavior. In addition, considering sexualized and simplified depictions of romantic relationships in reality shows, one can claim these TV programs can cause perverted perceptions of relationships between different genders in the minds of teenagers, who usually make up the target audience of the majority of reality shows.

References

Fahner, Micki. “The Real Effects of Reality TV.” USA Today College. N.p., 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

“Negative Effects of Reality Shows.” EHow. Demand Media, 07 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

LeBoue, Sarah. “Reality Tv May Cause Deviant Sexual Behavior Among Teens.” RFA.edu. N.p., 01 Sept. 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

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Reality TV shows have become very popular after the never-ending era of daily soaps. Probably, the trend started with Big Brother and still continues with so many dancing and singing shows. They have played a very important role in making celebrities out of ordinary people. Audiences were introduced to a host of hidden talents that they never thought existed in the country. Although channels became more interesting to watch, the reality TV shows have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some of them are listed below:

Advantages of reality shows:

Ordinary men attaining stardom: We see real people performing daredevil stunts or showcasing their skills. Viewers come to know about them and appreciate their performance. In addition, reality TV stars become very popular within a very short period of time. They do not need any Godfather to become successful in the show biz but use their talent to achieve success.

Social issues: One of the most positive effects of the reality TV shows is that they address numerous social issues and introduce people to the ills plaguing the society. For instance, they have played a very important role in enhancing the women empowerment in society. With active discussion on the TV forums, the reality shows have made people more aware of what is happening in their vicinity.

Cost of the shows: Creating reality TV shows is not an expensive proposition and brings more bucks for money in comparison to the sitcoms and the soap operas.

Start of the successful career: Reality TV has given so many celebrities that have become big stars in their own rights. It was not possible in the past but now anybody can shot into fame within a very short period of time. In addition, audiences also become aware of the perils of different types of addictions such as alcohol and drugs in society.

Disadvantages of reality shows:

Scripted shows: The majority of so-called reality shows are scripted and everything is closely doctored. Initially, people fell for the bait but now audiences understand that stories are developed well in advance. Some of the fights on the television are staged to increase the ratings of the show.

Harmful effect on teen: The new generation of reality TV celebrity stars does not thrive on talent but use sensationalism to always be in the news. One of the worst effects of their action is on teens who try to emulate their behavior. Stunts that are performed on televisions under controlled conditions are imitated by the people in real life resulting in death. Some of the shows where contestants participate to win prizes show them in poor light as they use meanness and greed to outdo each other. The negative traits can manifest themselves in the audiences and create behavioral problems.

Abusive shows: Liberal doses of abuses are hurled on the shows because the directors think that more and more people will watch them. It is a huge mistake because bad words are caught by teens and kids affecting their personality as well as behavior.

These are some of the pros and cons of reality TV shows. Do share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

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