Where do reality shows belong? Is it just me or does it seem that reality shows are popping up in places they do not belong? As an avid watcher of The Food Network, I became extremely irritated when during my afternoon downtime and into the night, TFN becomes filled with competition cooking based reality shows. Needless to say, I have found my food show fix on the much prettier and more accomplished younger sister of TFN —The Cooking Channel, where I get just what I want. This got me thinking of a realization I had once MTV2 debuted. Pretty much once MTV started playing reality shows more than any music videos, they announced a new station dedicated to the original cause of simply being music television, MTV2. The Cooking Channel seems to be the MTV2 of the cooking world.
So, what’s the point? Not only do channels seem to constantly be adding new shows or quickly start showing the next new season, they excessively air reruns and most importantly, especially with MTV, the typical demographic that watches MTV is the same that our country is so worried about and always will be worried about—the future. I know these examples and topic are not a life or death situation and I’m sure some may consider this a “first world problem” but the fact that the reality show craze is still at a height, to the point where every station on cable has some form of a reality show on it, is a little bit too much for our society. I think it’s time for a new age of television where we can appreciate the art of a TV show, fall in love with the writing, the characters, and the plot.
“Reality TV doesn’t have any syndication value — it doesn’t repeat well. Are you going to watch ‘American Idol’ again once you know that Clay or Ruben won?” – David Miller
Reality shows seemed to become popular because they’re less expensive than the alternative. They’ll pop up anywhere and everywhere they get a chance! So what happens to those of us who love narrative? I think all narratives that appear on television are affected by reality television. The shaky camera action on Breaking Bad had to have been a conscious decision. But maybe it could affect narratives in a positive way. Characters could be written more realistically as beautifully imperfect like those of us who don’t have lines written and timed for us to deliver when we really need them. There are pro’s and con’s to more “realistic” television shows, but it’s happening to us whether we like it or not.