Throughout modern history, reality television has evolved and influenced our culture. Our culture is interested in reality television because it shows us the euphoric lifestyles or in some cases dysphoric lifestyles. This gets our attention because in a way, it allows us to escape reality by focusing in on the people’s lives on the television show. We vicariously watch these shows wishing it was us or being thankful it’s not us. For example, in Jersey Shore, the stars of the show have no care in the world. Their main focus is to have fun with their friends for an entire summer. Who wouldn’t want to live like that for a summer? While they’re having fun, they’re also working a job at a t-shirt place to pay for the rent. Throughout the show’s six seasons, nearly every single person has been arrested for public intoxication. Whether it’s running through the streets drunk in the middle of the day to harassing people at bars and staring fights, the show is always exciting.
To me, it’s interesting to see which girls all of the guys take home at night. My other favorite part is all of the fights happening between the roommates. On the other hand, some reality television shows such as Hoarders, increases public awareness about serious mental health issues. In the show, you see people who have a hoarding disorder. This means that they have a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. They experience distress at the thought of getting rid of the possessions, therefore, leading to excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value.
Shows like MTV’s “16 and pregnant” and “Teen Mom” serve as a form of high-tech birth control to the younger generations of our society. In fact, MTV partnered with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy while planning these shows. Although these shows are reality television, there’s nothing fake about it compared to others like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians. ” These shows tell the honest and unpleasant truth of teen pregnancy in America. The young women struggle to make ends meet. Also, the relationships with their friends, parents and partner usually fail. Some may argue that it inspires teen pregnancy but, in a research conducted by the National Campaign, they found that among the teens watching these shows that 82% believe the show helps teens to better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood, as well as how to avoid it. Reality television serves an important role in our culture today.
Reality television uses a variety of techniques and methods to shape and create these addicting shows that leave us wanting more. My personal favorite technique are the personal interviews. These are when characters are being interviewed, usually about their reaction to an event currently happening in the show. This intrigues the audience more because then we know how they feel and we gain more information. For example, in “Big Brother, ” there are constantly interviews. These interviews give us the scoop on any plans regarding backdooring another contestant at the eviction ceremony, alliances, private relationships within the house, throwing competitions, etc. When the audience gets the inside scoop, they will know more than the people in the actual show, which will make them more intrigued.
Another great technique is to show drama, crying and fights. The best drama was when Mike “The Situation” started yelling at Ronnie and Sammi about how he doesn’t care about their relationship after Ronnie had confronted him about something he had said earlier to Sammi. Mike continues to scream and completely trash their room by ripping clothes off of hangers, flipping the bed and throwing things across the room, all while smashing his own head against the wall. Eventually, the girls of the house have to call an ambulance for Mike’s self-inflicted injuries. How can one just stop watching this eventful show during a fight? Instead, the audience wants more and wants to know what happens next. A hit in reality television shows are when the cast cries. Everyone knows about Kim Kardashian West’s ugly crying moments. The most famous time was on their family vacation in Bora Bora when Kris Humphries pushed Kim into the water, causing her diamond earring to fall out. The scene was overall ridiculous but so entertaining that Kim’s only problem was losing her diamond earring when she has all the money in the world. In a way, this makes the audience so intrigued because it’s comical.
Another technique of reality television is that it appeals to social media. Most shows and their cast have at least twitter and Instagram. During the show’s live premiers, people will be tweeting about it. This keeps the audience connected during the show. It also allows the audience to be more in depth a part of the cast’s lives by seeing their day-to-day posts. Through many techniques and methods, the audience is brought even closer to these reality television shows.
Reality television shows have created a connection to today’s culture by appealing to their wants. Our culture wants to be successful and to easily get the sensation of being successful, we emerge ourselves into the lives of the rich and famous for a quick 40 minutes while watching their show. These shows allow us to feel less connected with the people we interact with every day and find connections with the characters. When we are less connected with the people of our lives, we seek more drama within the reality television shows. Also, it can impact our social abilities and emotional fluency because we would so much rather watch reality television shows than face our own life’s problems. For some reality television shows, we are aware of how contrived they are, but we still get such an enjoyment from watching them. This is because we get to live their experiences from the comfort and safety of our own homes. In a way, we get enjoyment from the reality television stars risking their hearts and reputation, because it’s not us. Reality television provides a glossy escape to our lives, allowing us to see the lavish lifestyles, never-ending drama and ridiculous arguments. Social media also helps with our obsession of checking in on people without ever coming in contact with them. By that I mean, seeing their posts on social media such as Instagram and Twitter create this sense of intimacy between us. This detached connection allows us to feel close without actually talking to them. We find these connections between ourselves and reality television stars, causing us to be even more attached and fascinated with their lives. By seeing Kim Kardashian’s post of her. On vacation, it makes me want to know more about what else is going on, causing me to watch that corresponding episode of “Keeping Up with The Kardashians. ”Reality television reflects our culture in the way that everyone wants to become famous overnight. Some might become famous for singing on “American Idol” or some might star on competition shows like “Big Brother” or “The Bachelor. ”
The typical people that become famous overnight might just be our neighbors or someone who’s our age. Connections like these give us hope that one day, it could be us. We look for relatable characteristics within famous people. Nowadays, reality television portrays gay couples and other controversial relationships as acceptable. These shows have the power to shape viewers’ attitudes towards our changing culture. Reality television shows make their ways through our outlet of social media. Today’s culture is mostly based off of technology. By having reality television shows and their casts all over popular magazines, newspapers, Twitter, Instagram and even in songs, it’s no wonder why everyone loves it.
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