Reality TV, How Real Is It?

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By Stephanie De Iulio

 

Most television shows these days are classed as ‘reality,’ but how real are they? How much is staged?

Reality TV is flooding our screens, from Jersey Shore to Geordie Shore, The Hills and The City, there is a reality show for about almost everything. Some reality shows even have a disclaimer at the start that let people know that they’re re-enactments based on real events, for example: the reality show ‘Operation Repo’ uses this disclaimer: “The stories that are portrayed in this program are based on real events. The names of the characters were changed in order to protect their identities… and some honour”.

You can gain an understanding of how popular a reality show is by looking at the number of likes their fan page has, or by checking how many followers the characters have, for example; Jersey Shore has 19,314905 likes and Big Brother Australia has 538,820 likes.

Most people realise the shows are fake but still tune in because they’re funny and entertaining, while others watch and get sucked in to believing it is in fact reality. If you can relate then it can be addictive and you can become attached to certain characters and feel like you know them personally. Not everyone looks deeper into the disclaimers or fully understands what they mean.

Personally, I watch reality TV but I don’t let it rot my brain. I don’t take it too seriously, I tune in accepting it for what it is; acting or over the top dramatics.

Big Brother is a social experiment and the audience views what producers want them to see. They have the ability to portray people in any way they choose to, in order to spark emotions in the viewer, whether it be anger or laughter – They are able to manipulate the viewer in a sense. The difference between Big Brother and Jersey Shore is that one pays their ‘reality’ stars better. The opportunity for a spin off television show is more likely depending on popularity, MTV offer these avenues as they generate money.

At the end of the day it all comes down to preference. It’s good to be informed about what you’re watching. If escapism is your thing then reality TV might just be for you.

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