Reality Television: And The Real World Turns

The reality TV show craze started the same way with one break out hit on one network, and then multiple reality television shows took over network after network.

The biggest kick start in the journey of reality shows came with ‘The Real World’, produced by MTV in 1992, however, the series “Nummer 28”, which aired on Dutch television in 1991, originated the concept. They put strangers together in the same environment for an extended period of time and recording the drama that ensued. “Nummer 28” also pioneered many of the stylistic conventions that have since become standard in reality television shows, including a heavy use of soundtrack music and the interspersing of events on screen with after the fact “confessionals” recorded by cast members, that serve as narration. One year later, the same concept was used by MTV in their new series “The Real World” and “Nummer 28” creator Erik Latour has long claimed that “The Real World” was directly inspired by his show. However, the producers of “The Real World” have stated that their direct inspiration was “An American Family”. “The Real World” has since become the standard in Reality television and now reality TV has dominated prime time programming.

Reality television has faced significant criticism since its rise in popularity. Much of the criticism has centered around the use of the word “reality”, and such shows’ attempt to present themselves as a straightforward recounting of events that have occurred. Critics have argued that reality television shows do not present reality in ways both implicit (participants being placed in artificial situations) and deceptive or even fraudulent, such as misleading editing, participants being coached in what to say or how to behave, storylines generated ahead of time, and scenes being staged or re staged for the cameras. Other criticisms of reality television shows include that they are intended to humiliate or exploit participants (particularly on competition shows), that they make celebrities out of untalented people who do not deserve fame, and that they glamorize vulgarity and materialism.

While reality television can be entertaining to watch or can be infuriating when the contestant you really love doesn’t win, it isn’t without issues. Reality television is plagued with a number of problems that were not originally intended. A common complaint about reality television shows is wardrobe staging, in which reality show contestants are not allowed to wear their own clothing on the show, but must wear clothing that is picked out by producers. Survivor, a show where girls run around in barely there bikinis, has had multiple complaints of this nature. Reality show stars or contestants may also not be allowed to wear clothing containing certain brand names or logos. Others working on or appearing on reality television shows have complained of the editing that is done after the filming of the show, which leaves some contestants or stars appearing in a negative light or giving the audience a misleading chronology of the events on the show.


reality television

Most stars of reality television shows are highly paid to do nothing and be nothing. The Kardashians are a prime example of this, yet Americans continue to line their pocketbooks with a disgusting amount of cash. In a recent episode of Kourtney and Kim take Miami, the two Kardashian sisters that are famous for doing nothing decided it was a great idea to have their other sister, Khloe, sniff their panties to determine who had a better odor down under. That’s right – they had a smell off. Should they really get paid for such nonsense? While all reality television isn’t horrible, some shows have sunk to new lows. Unless viewers take the upper hand and refuse to let themselves get sucked into the nonsense, we will continue to be ripped off by producers of un-reality television.

Reality is defined as: The world or state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. Nothing can be further than the truth when it comes to a majority of these reality television shows. Almost every cast member of every Housewives of (pick your city) has a job, a nanny looking after their kids and is involved with their spouses’ business in some aspect. The last time I checked, the definition of housewife was a married woman that cared for her home and held no other job/business/position/career among the working class. Almost every cast member on Basketball Wives is no longer married to a basketball player. The show should be renamed to Basketball Ex Wives to better suit the cast members (and while we’re on this show, why is this airing on VH1? What do basketball wives have to do with music videos? Everyone just wants a reality show to their name I guess.)

The only reality show worth watching these days is Chef Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares”. With Chef Ramsay’s final speech at the end of each episode, it is clear that he sees Kitchen Nightmares as more than a television show. He views it as a way he could share his secrets of success with struggling business owners and help them thrive in one of the toughest industries to own a business. Chef Ramsay truly has passion for what he does, and he wants to instill passion where it has been lost in other owners and chefs. He truly cares about the businesses he helps and, more importantly, cares about the customers that patronize these restaurants. When viewers see owners who do not care get help for their business, they wonder why the host of the show doesn’t just walk out and help those that really need it. Yet with this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Ramsay restores hope to reality television. One can only hope that other hosts of similar shows take note of Chef Ramsay’s bold actions and also walk out on the undeserving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *