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It has meant, at different times, local programming, Huntley and Brinkley, the national news at 6 and local news at 11, talk shows and talent shows, This is Your Life and the regional tours of Wheel of Fortune. Reality television may furnish its dark apotheosis—a form for an era in which local TV has been consolidated out of existence, regional differences are said to be diminishing or anyway are less frequently represented , and news, increasingly at the service of sales departments, has forfeited its authority to represent the polity.

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We need myths, not only of our ideal, and our average, but of our fallen extreme. Since the establishment of informed-consent rules in the s, the golden age of social psychology is gone. Watching reality television is like walking one long hallway of an unscrupulous and peculiarly indefatigable psychology department.

The first ideal-type of reality TV is the show of the pure event. You discern patterns in each—the effect on the watchful viewer is of a patterned repetition of wholly singular encounters. Between cop and civilian, everything is determined by personality; each word is a step in a negotiation; the tools each side possesses seem arbitrary and confused, in the wheedling or vagueness of the suspect, the mock-authoritativeness and lack of information of the cop.

So you make notes to your criminal self: never voluntarily submit to a search. And on Blind Date and Xtreme Dating and Fifth Wheel , with wary daters eyeing each other over pasta dinners, leglessly drunk in a hundred indistinguishable neon dives and, afterwards, on the best dates, mumbling vulgar blandishments in hot tubs, you see that romance is not angelic recognition nor simple animal lust but a negotiation—the same as in the Cops arrest. The blind date and the traffic stop become on late-night TV the two paradigmatic experiences of American encounters between strangers.

Homogenous America is instantly disproved by bizarre America. It is reassuring to watch this openness and fumbling. Finally you see without intermediary dramatization the landscape of tanning salons and restaurants and aikido studios in every corner of the country, the still-distinct accents but universalized, television-influenced behaviors, the dilemma of what to say and which personality to project, as if the social relation were being rebuilt, in a cutaway scale model of our society—a great televised Ark of a changing civilization—two by two.

Everyone tries to play someone else on TV, but still feels so many tethering strings from the prosaic, deficient, and plain polite that conformity becomes chaotic and imitation idiosyncratic. You feel some identification with the participants, and even more sympathy with the situation. Classy critics hate these shows too, or claim to. If only Cops would break down their door and throw them against the wall!

Top 10 Addictive Reality TV Shows

Monica, you ignorant Skeletor, eat a sandwich! Ross, you vainglorious paleontologist, read a book! You mortuary creep! This is one way to come to terms with your fellow citizens. Much reality TV, by contrast, communicates a relative openness of judgment, though judgment is its one constant—and does so also by its wider identity of situation between the viewer and those before the cameras.

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Nearly everybody has dated, and, from rich to poor, nearly everybody fears the police when driving and will call on them when threatened. Nowadays, at every level of our society, there is a hunger for judgment. Often this becomes summary judgment—not so much the wish to know the truth, but the brutal decisionism that would rather be wrong than stay in suspension.


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This is the will not to deliberate but to sentence. In the political realm, it has influenced the shape of the current disaster. Its soft manifestations own the therapeutic talk shows, in the sniffling and nose wiping of a Dr. Phil , where the expert is never at a loss. It is cheap, it is amoral, it has no veneer of virtue, it is widely censured and a guilty pleasure, and it can be more educational and truthful and American than most anything else, very suitable for our great republic.

Until, that is, one began to see what the capital-rich networks would make of it. For they got into the act, like dinosaurs in an inland sea, and they made the waters heave. They developed the grandiose second ideal-type of filmed reality, courtesy of bigger budgets and serial episodes: the show of the group microcosm. The other shows had been cheaply made and served up to UHF and low-budget cable stations by syndication, or, like Cops , run in the early barebones years of FOX and retained.

Big Brother turned the house show, too, into a competition. An even more triumphant microcosm was Survivor —followed, in time, by The Amazing Race. The newer shows that defined the microcosmic reality and blended it with competition adopted the same basic forms of social discovery that had animated the birth of the English novel: the desert-island Robinsonade of Survivor , the at-the-ends-of-the-earth-bedragons imperialist travelogue and quest romance of The Amazing Race , even, perhaps, the sentimental seductions of The Bachelor , where so many willing Clarissas rode in limousines squealing to a manor house to hand their hearts to Lovelace.

Yet Survivor never took up the society-from-nothing isolation of the desert island, which had motivated the original Robinson Crusoe. The shows had no interest in starting civilization from scratch. Nor for that matter were they much interested in travel—on The Amazing Race , you glimpse the blurred locals out the windows of speeding cars.

TV Show Essay

The shows put together sociable Americans, so they would have nothing left but their group interactions, their social negotiations, to keep them going. Nobody let them starve, nothing endangered them. The sniping and soothing in couples and trios—forming and reforming, betraying and sticking together—were the main things of interest on that show and on The Amazing Race , where it was hard to tell if we were supposed to care, really, that one pair ran faster than another.

How do Americans talk and how do they arrange things, in a completely minimal setting, a little like the office and a little like the home but not totally unlike a sequestered jury? This was our festival. If we truly all are equals in America, this would be a picture, in ideal form, of how we choose aldermen and selectmen and Congressmen—using our sovereignty to withdraw our sovereignty, that is to say, to focus it in the hands, for two or four years, of individuals who act for us. By this means the microcosm programs resembled political allegories.

And yet many of the reality shows of the microcosmic community were quite deliberately, self-consciously implanted, sometimes by the rules, sometimes by the informal instructions given to players, with an original sin. That sin was the will to power by trickery, the will to deception, which puts the power-mad ahead of the natural leader.


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  8. 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.

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    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. If you watch shows like Fear Factor and The Bachelor you will see ordinary everyday people doing all types of weird things for the "grand prize" of love or money.

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    In real life, rewards are found in the completion of tasks or goals, and not because you can endure the stunts on Fear Factor or because the Bachelor chose you at the end of the six or seven weeks. Fear Factor is a show that has been designed to help ordinary people overcome their fears. I do not believe that any of the participants can overcome their fears by televising the stunts masterminded by the show's producers.

    A person cannot conquer his or her fear of heights by hanging from a helicopter.

    Essay on Reality Television Program

    What fear are you overcoming by eating a plate of fish eyes, or the lining of a cow's stomach with a side of pig's tongue? In my opinion none, because normal people would not eat cuisine of this sort in their everyday life.

    icdarapoden.ml If you are eliminated on Fear Factor, as is the case with most contestants, your grand prize is a stomach filled with the disgusting food you ate. The Bachelor is another show with unrealistic expectations.