Does Reality TV Play A Negative Perception on the Viewers?

So I wanted to share this quick read from a paper I submitted at school. Comment your opinions below on rather you think ‘scripted TV’ plays a negative/ mentally challenging perception, or positive influence on the viewers, and how they behave in the real world after indulging in the mega-giant we all know as Reality TV.

With the mass arrival of Social Media coming into the scene it brought along it’s bitter ex-wife ‘Reality Tv’. Everyone has their own guilty pleasure no mater what age you are. The younger generation appreciates the feistier productions, ‘Love & Hip Hop’, ‘Real Housewives’, ‘Basketball Wives’ while our mom and dads are watching ‘Survivor’, ‘Bass Pro Shop’, ‘Chef Gordon Ramsey’ and ‘Shark Tank’. According to www.wikipedia.com ‘Reality Tv is a genre of television programing that documents purportedly unscripted real-life situations, often starring unknown individuals rather than professional actors. Reality television came to prominence in the late 1990s and the early 2000s with the global successes of the series Survivor, Idols, and Big Brother, all of which became global franchises’. Several studies have been done at various university campuses to depict rather Reality Tv has a positive or negative influence on people and the way they perceive as real-life situations. Many people have argued that ‘Reality TV’ creates a person to respond to social situations in a hostile manner by fighting and arguing, instead of talking things out quietly. According to Phillip Ross of the ‘International Science Times’ reality tv has a detrimental impact on our perceptions of the world, based on an observational study from the ‘University of Wisconsin. He claims that people are easily influenced by reality tv because they eventually copy the behaviors portrayed on television and use them in real life.

I myself have always been a fan of certain reality tv shows, but I watch them in small doses. Many of the shows in my own expert opinion use ‘shock value’ for ratings and social media clicks. After filming one episode of Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta as a club goer for a party scene the directors were filming a fight orchestrated between reality film star ‘Spice’ and her arch nemesis Akbar V. The amount of drama I experienced in less than a hours’ time from being on set, was enough to last me a lifetime. The drink’s flying, wig pulling, and shouting curse words are all amped up to raise the viewers adrenaline, and get you hooked to keep watching more. An ordinary sane person would be able to watch and carry on, whereas someone living in toxicity, and having an appetite for drama would more than likely handle certain issues in the real world as they see in the scripted world of Reality TV.

I did a small survey amongst 5 adults ranging from mid 20’s into retirement age on their opinion of the matter, and despite age all of their answers remained consistent across the board. When I reached out to Angelo Wilson, a 29-year-old chef living in Atlanta, about his take on it he stated “I think reality tv isn’t reality. I think it’s another way of keeping people’s mind focused on the things that don’t matter. Just a bunch of sheep glorifying someone else’s life of ignorance.” My 2nd opinion came from Sondina Barnes 45, a retired US Vet who served 2 terms in Iraq living in South Jersey. “Fake! I think they’re either fake and or exaggerated. They ask people to come to the shows to express opinions and actions. The directors get them to fight and misbehave on public television, while normal people would never do”. Eugenia Johnson 65 in Philadelphia stated, “Usually get tired of watching them after a time because they’re so ridiculous. The behavior and what come out of their mouths, black women acting like Skaggs”.  Wilbert Motley 72 a retired Vietnam Vet said, “I don’t think they are real. It’s scripted and planned, remember Donald Trump none of that was real”. My final opinion came from recording artist Crystal Lalucci in Atlanta also weighing in for the discussion “I think reality tv has opened the door for ignorance of all sorts, racism included.. I think by filming someone acting ignorant it has made it acceptable to. Fights in school, Popeyes, restaurants all this extra irate behavior has become OK. Criminality even changed because of Reality TV. Manson and Bundy killed people as a way to deal with anger and pain…now people kill other people because they’re angry and in pain. Reality tv creates a toxic response to things that upset u… Before it we would walk away now we make scenes and go HAM. Just for views.”

 

I’m sure if I continued to survey asking reasonable working-class adults their opinions, most of their answers would fall into the same category. The million-dollar question is even with that being said ‘Why are Reality TV shows so popular with drama, debate, and a false perception of real life,  yet still bring in millions of viewers? Could it be that we are so conditioned in today’s time to accept that living without being affected by public shame, high morale, and good character, has been replaced by behaving and showcasing yourself and your body in a way that it gets ‘clicks’ and views online, which equals dollars to some people… But is being rich in materialistic items worth being poor in temperament???

Carisha The Journalist