why reality tv shows no longer exist.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

article on reality tv shows effect on our society.

Why reality TV no longer exists.

The other night I was flicking through the channels on my TV out of desperation to watch something that didn’t have corona in the title but after five minutes I started to find the channel hopping more fun than any show I could find. I couldn’t stop laughing at these ridiculous reality TV shows: ‘My dogs fatter than me’, ‘Sister wives: the wedding’, ‘Extreme couponing: the super scrimpers’, ‘The cleaning brigade’, ‘Toddlers in tiaras’, ‘Nightmare neighbours: dangerous developers’. Dangerous developers? What did they do threaten to build a house next to yours?

This rubbish television has engulfed our screens and is now being shown on even some of our most beloved channels: channel four with ‘My 600lb life’, ITV with ‘Botched’ and ‘Bridezillas’, even the BBC is showing ‘Don’t tell the bride’ and ‘Make my body younger’.

This is probably a good time to admit that I’m not immune to the reality TV bug and have a personal love for ‘Gogglebox’, ‘I’m a celebrity…’ and other shows of the same style. But why do we feel that it’s something to be ashamed of, that you should feel bad for watching reality shows? I mean people call these types of shows guilty pleasures but why do we feel that way? The best way to understand this is to look at our motives for watching these shows.

The reason we watch fictional drama is normally for one of two reasons: we either like the actors or we like the plot lines. Well despite the fact that reality shows normally lie about the real part, the plot lines are commonly flimsy and far from high entertainment, so that leaves the people. What do we get out of watching these people then? Do we relate to them? Rarely. Most reality shows are based around the concept of unique people living their unique lives, so whether it’s competing for money in Majorca or being so obese that you can barely get out of bed in the morning there is very little reality TV we can relate to. So, what if it’s the opposite then. We love to be shocked on reality shows and the bigger the characters the more we watch, so maybe we enjoy seeing these larger than life characters, put bluntly, fall flat on their face. The name for this is a German word called schadenfreude and it means to feel good about someone else’s misfortune. On these competitions, these insights into peoples lives, you may have someone you particularly like but definitely someone you want to fail. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, just simply a way of releasing negative emotion and something that is perfectly natural for us all.

However, this can cause an issue if we spend too much time watching reality TV. With the way this genre has taken over we are all watching these types of shows a lot more than usual, but that means we are regularly being negative and unkind. Habits are easily made but not easily broken and it’s creating a generation of children who are disrespectful, quick to judge, negative about their own and other’s body image and they don’t understand why it’s wrong. How can we expect to teach children the correct morals when their role models are Gemma Collins and some woman off Love Island - who slept with everyone on the show.

These reality TV shows have slowly but surely caused a role reversal and instead of them mimicking the real world, the real world is starting to mimic them. We need to be careful about who and what we idolise, otherwise there will no longer be reality shows because the shows will become our new reality.


Submitted: May 14, 2020

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