Few forces have emerged with greater dominance or less artistic appeal than that of reality television, which has largely defined primetime content for the last decade. What at one time appeared to be a fad, or a phenomenon at worst, ultimately reached a crescendo as the best path to high ratings, bid advertising dollars and household names. This is the pattern of media content which perhaps best reflects certain cultural qualities distinct to our time and place. Indeed, our collective embrace of this form of television, which allegedly depicts real individuals living real lives or facing real problems in front of national viewing audiences, suggests both a desire to see ourselves on the screen and, simultaneously, a desire to feel better about ourselves by observing the lurid, embarrassing and pathetic moments experienced by the 'stars' of reality television.
This idea is directly reflected in the image selected for assessment here. The illustration featured at the following website linked here below succinctly captures the implications of reality television: (http://aaliyah-miller.blogspot.com/2013/02/hook-line-and-sinker-reality-tv-and-its.html)
The late 1990s brought about great change in the content of television. To that point, primetime television was fully dominated by sitcom ratings monsters like Seinfeld and Friends, as well as primetime dramas like ER and NYPD Blue. But as the article by Miller (2013) reports, the late 90s saw a change in the approach taken by television studios, who saw the opportunity to significantly reduce expenditures on writers and actors by spearheading this emergent form of entertainment. The result would be a widespread embrace of forms that dispensed with performance, narrative or substance in favor of quick-cut editing, non-linear sequences of events and allegedly 'unscripted' interactions.
To this end, according to the article by Elite Daily (2012), "today, our definition of entertainment is watching imbeciles on television in an 'unscripted' and the nonsensical antics of their daily lives. Television networks recently reported that 15 of the top 20 highest-rated programs among the adult group were reality or 'unscripted' shows."
While it may not be exactly accurate to suggest that we are watching ourselves when we flip on Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, we are absorbing the consequences of a society that is highly superficial, materialistic and even mean-spirited. The 'real people' to who viewers seem most to gravitate…
Sources Used in Document:
Elite Daily. (2012). The Detrimental Effect Of Reality TV On Our Society. Elitedaily.com
Fahner, M. (2012). The real effects of reality TV. USA Today College.
Miller, A. (2013). Hook, Line and Sinker: Reality TV and Its Impact In Our Culture. In the Mix.