How real is reality TV?

By Shannon King
April 10, 2003

Charles Osgood/KRT

Congratulations you’ve won immunity! Well, not quite. The only way you’re going to get immunity in the near future from reality tv is to turn off the tube. While some people may enjoy this high dose of reality shows on pretty much every network, those who don’t are in for another painful season of surfing through channels to find something less “real” to watch.

Reality tv got its start with MTV’s “The Real World” and “Road Rules” in the early ’90s, but today’s reality shows took off when there was a threat of a writer’s strike in Hollywood. In order to prevent an embarrassing season, producers and networks began planning shows that required no writing, were inexpensive to produce and had little or no direction. When the audience got its first taste of reality when “Survivor” hit the airwaves, the obsession and infatuation of the viewing public skyrocketed.

However, there is a question of what exactly reality tv is. “We had to read an article for a class about what exactly reality tv is,” junior Kelly Lohr said. “Is it Bush talking about Iraq or is it Joe Millionaire? Maybe the “reality” of watching other people’s lives provides us with an escape for how sick our actual reality has become.”

Senior Ashley Graham thinks reality tv has definitely lost its appeal. “I used to love it, but now it’s getting out of control. It’s obnoxious and annoying and it’s becoming a waste of time,” Graham said.

The bombardment of reality shows now includes shows like “Married by America” and the “The Bachelorette.” “That’s not what marriage is supposed to be,” Graham said. “Shows like that are giving people the wrong ideas of love and marriage. It’s not real.”

Senior Amanda Cappelli echoed her sentiments, “They take away the importance of marriage. No one’s cherishing the sanctity of marriage anymore,” Cappelli said. “However, I was hooked on ‘The Bachelorette.'”

“I loved ‘The Bachelorette.’ Drama is entertaining and realistic drama is even more entertaining,” senior Lori Lonergan said. “People are hysterical to watch.”

As long as people are watching, networks will keep producing. Who knows; maybe you aren’t too far away from a camera in your own home.

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Shannon King

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