Reality TV and its Influence on Culture

So first I need to open this with a little what the actual fuck:

Perhaps no test in a high-school student’s career is as vexing as the SAT. When a question on reality television appeared on the 2011 exam, some students cried. The question read, “How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?”

So, wow. If that question had been posed to me as a high school student, I would have flipped the table, punched the proctor in the mouth, and set the exam room on fire with everyone in it.

The article tries to defend “reality” tv (I say it in scare quotes because the best part about this “article,” such as it is, is that it claims “reality” tv is unscripted, no directors, nothing, just people being raw and real, which we actually know for a fact is not the case, gg on that research, nub). It claims that “reality” tv gives us a window into horrible lifestyles that can help us fix ourselves. It cites a case study of one girl who pulls herself back from the brink of being a hoarder after seeing the show Hoarders.

Yeah, so you have scattered instances of people being bettered by seeing what they might become if they keep on their dark path. Does that really offset the problems of “reality” tv? Of the fat-shaming, the slut-shaming, the skewed perspectives on interpersonal relationships, the celebration of amoral-to-immoral behaviour?

There’s also this:

A 2008 report released by the NAACP said non-whites are underrepresented in almost every aspect of the television industry — except for reality programming. It’s not that reality shows are more racially or culturally sensitive. Frankly, mixing people of different races, genders, sexual orientation and cultures creates conflict, and conflict sells.

I dunno. I feel like the part where it bags on “reality” tv takes a real backseat to the parts where it celebrates the stuff, and that’s just unfair. “Reality” tv may have some benefits, but I’m still going to sit on the side of saying it’s a cancer.

That said, I really love Revenge, so I’m not immune to shitty television, and can’t go casting too many stones.

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