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The Reality Behind "reality" Television

By:   •  November 16, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,267 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,267 Views

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The Reality Behind "Reality" Television

What isn't alluring about watching twenty five beautiful, and not to mention crazy women fight over one unfathomably handsome and seemingly perfect Bachelor? Millions of Americans faithfully tune in every Monday to ABC's The Bachelor to see the blossoming love between one man and numerous women unfold. They watch with eyes glued to the television, in hopes that their favorite girl will eventually be chosen as the "winner" and be asked her hand in marriage. As we all know, this is reality TV, but many of us are wondering, is this real?

Although these are in fact real people and real, unscripted events, we have to remember that everything we watch has been undoubtedly enhanced. Every time we witness an "intimate" moment between the Bachelor and one of his many women, remember there's a crew of cameramen and production assistants standing by. Furthermore, who wouldn't fall in love with a man after going on several extravagantly planned dates, in numerous countries around the world, that don't cost you a dime? It is safe to say that anyone could fall in love on The Bachelor, but what happens once these pampered couples reach the real world? According to Gina Carbone's article, How Many Bachelor and Bachelorette Couples Actually Make It?, in 2013, of the seventeen completed seasons of The Bachelor, only two seasons actually led to long term relationships that are still happening today. In other words, almost ninety percent of the relationships resulting from The Bachelor fail. Shocking? Karl Smallwood reveals many more awe inspiring facts about some of the most popular reality shows in his article, 5 depressing Realities Behind Popular Reality TV Shows.

According to the article, many of the families seen on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition can't even afford to keep their lavish new homes. For those unfamiliar with this

particular show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition features a crew that builds luxurious new homes for families in unfortunate situations. However, the truth is that the show only covers the constructions costs and most of the homeowners are left to cover their new, and amplified, utility bills and property taxes. One family, which had a house built specifically designed to help their developmentally challenged son, was forced to put their house on the market just a little over a year after it was built because they simply couldn't afford it. Another couple fell behind on the $405,000 loan that they were forced to take out just to keep their utilities connected in the million dollar home built for them, and had to sell their new house and most of its contents. These stories are tragic, and hard to believe, but sadly flaws like these are found in many of the reality shows we watch every day.

Who could forget the ever so popular show Laguna Beach, which previewed in 2004 and gave an entirely new take on reality TV? The show documented the unreasonably extravagant lives of several spoiled teens residing in Laguna Beach, an affluent seaside community located in Orange County, California. Many young adults at the time worshiped the show and the new excitement it brought seeing as it was completely unscripted, andreal. Or so they thought. In a recent interview with Kristin Cavallari, one of the stars of Laguna Beach and it's spin off series The Hills, admits that both shows were, unfortunately fake. When asked how much of The Hills was scripted, Kristin responded by saying, "Almost all of it.". As devastating as this may come to many people who were under the impression that those spoiled kids really did have drama-filled lives, it was all a lie. Sadly, Laguna Beach is just one of many shows fooling people by calling it "reality".

However, reality television shows continue to dominate the ratings, especially among viewers ages eighteen to forty nine. According to Bill Carter's article, Tired of Reality TV, but Still Tuning In, fifteen of the top twenty highest rated programs among that younger adult group in the summer of 2012 were reality shows. The highest rated show of this particular summer was MTV's "Jersey Shore". This reality show about sexual hookups, cultural ways, along with drunken fights and awful language, pulled in an astonishing 4.4 million viewers between the ages of eighteen and forty nine, for its last episode alone. Unfortunately a majority of the reality shows attracting young people follow a similar layout to that of Jersey Shore. It's impossible to say exactly how much of an influence these type of shows have on the youth that watch them, but its oblivious to think they don't have any.

Looking deeper into the subject, studies have shown that reality television shows have a detrimental effect on girls in our society. In a survey conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute 1,141 girls across America from ages eleven to seventeen were questioned about their reality television watching habits along with their opinions on self-image and success. About half of the interviewed girls considered themselves regular reality TV-show watchers. Of the girls who watched reality television,


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