Recently, viewers have seen a proliferation in Reality Television. Media networks seem to have discovered that reality television is a very profitable market. All are not successful, but many have achieved significant popularity and cultural prominence. But how accountable should viewers be held for their demand of Reality Television?
Television had a capability unlike any other being, shape or form. There was a time when television could capture the attention of a very large family. For just a short period of time, an audience could be captured by the brilliance created by a cast of writers, performers, directors, producers, etc. Audiences would find themselves idolizing characters,. They would wish that they could be those people, even the people they despised. They appreciated the art that not only mirrored life, but laughed at it, emphasized it, encouraged it and actively pursued it.
Reality TV shows wouldn’t be made if we didn’t watch them, so why do we watch them? Either we find them entertaining or we find them so shocking that we are simply unable to turn away. Reality TV is widespread phenomenon. There are countless of reality shows that fuel dinnertime conversation, nationwide.
Reality Television is not real (or often, too real for its own sake). It does little to inspire greatness. Instead, it encourages poor behavior.
For example, 16 year old girls decided to have unprotected sex and consequently had children. Despite the profound implication of their age, economic status, and academic status, these girls, collectively, became one of MTV’s best moneymaking machines. These Teen Moms became idols to young girls across the country. Who knew you could get pregnant, ruin your life, your child’s life and your family – yet you’d still achieve stardom!? Really, who knew? Instead of teaching young adults that this behavior is bad and should not be replicated, it’s done the opposite. ‘Teen Mom’ is a very dramatic television and what teenager doesn’t love drama?
Then, there’s Jersey Shore. It is a display of immature and wild adults, who probably don’t even know the name of the Vice President of the United States. They probably don’t even know where the White House is. They do nothing besides: sleep, eat, drink, eat, party, drink more and sleep again. Fortunately, for them they’re paid to be self-depreciated idiots. Their behavior is so easy to replicate and you can bet that there are teenagers just idolizing them.
The cultural effects of Reality TV illustrate the relationship between the audience and producers in television, or the consumer and producer in economic terms. A preoccupation with the ever-growing phenomenon of Reality TV may offset the decay of society’s imagination and its gossip culture. Though Reality TV may seem like a mindless indulgence created by powerful television innovators, there is a reciprocal relationship between the viewer and the broadcaster; the show itself may well be inspired by the culture that it airs to, but it also conditions it.