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Reality Television disappoints viewers nationwided

Posted By Denebola On September 24, 2008 @ 12:00 am In Arts and Entertainment | Comments Disabled

By Rachel Lodi

With the regular primetime shows of big networks such as ABC, NBC, and FOX on hiatus for the summer, the void was filled by the growing craze of reality shows. Just as one would look both ways before crossing the street, people should “look both ways before delving into the candy that is reality TV.

Enter the game show. Most summer reality game shows are really just cheap space fillers that make the every-man feel better about himself.

For example, who doesn’t want to watch ABC’s Wipeout, in which – you guessed it – people wipe out doing impossibly stupid missions in an attempt to win money. The viewer ignorantly assumes he or she could have done the feat better and has a good laugh.

American Gladiators is another NBC program in which people wipe out while trying to complete impossibly stupid missions.

This is another great example of a show that appeals to the natural fascination with violence that has been around since the time of the real gladiators.

The game show is intense,  and riveting, and provokes the occasional, “Oooh, that’s gotta hurt, always leaving us thinking we could do better.

Panning over to the gutter that is VH1 reality television, another popular genre, the dating show, can be found.  The fact that Flavor of Love 3, Rock of Love 2, and the new New York Goes To Hollywood all premiered this summer indicates that there are shows  that actually are popular to people who only have half a brain.

These shows feature mentally unstable pseudo-celebrities who are usually looking for love. Tiffany, aka “New York, participates in seasons one and two of Flavor of Love and seasons one and two of her own show, I Love New York. After she so surprisingly does not find everlasting love, she decides to move to Hollywood and become an actress.

The dating show is often disgusting, lewd, filled with tears, and filled with bleeped out swears and punches. Best of all, the love almost never lasts, which makes us all feel a whole lot better about our own relationships. So thank you to New York, Brett Michaels, and Flava Flav for giving us all the assurance that our romantic lives are not at an all-time low and that we can do better.

Now comes the last of the big genres: the everyday life show. The everyday life shows are centered around one or more people who have fabulous lives and who entertain us by being just what they are: hot, rich, and generally stupid.

MTV’s hit The Hills is a glorious example of what a tripod, a huge by-episode salary, and the perfect environment can do to a couple of blondes gallivanting around Los Angeles and enjoying their early 20s.

Lauren, Audrina, Whitney, and Heidi are all rich and beautiful, and, although nothing substantial really happens in their day to day lives, the audience is still fascinated by what MTV markets as “real life.

Honorable mention should go to MTV’s self-proclaimed “mother of reality television, The Real World.This reality show, which has been around since 1992, exposes the lives of seven strangers picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives changed. The appeal of this show is that the people are chosen because something about them is charismatic, appealing, or just downright annoying.

In any case, it is fun to watch them flirt, party, and deal with issues that arise when people are forced to interact with strangers. There tends to be an absurd amount of cursing and drama, which begs the question of whether or not this is true reality. Because really, how can people live normally when there are cameras everywhere?

Overall, most reality shows are just like popcorn with extra butter: addicting, enjoyable, and bad for you. But we still watch them because whether or not people are falling into freezing cold water, fighting incessantly, getting rejected by Flava Flav, or partying up a storm, they have the same appeal that any other form of mass media has: they are people and situations we can relate to.

Perhaps not directly, for most people do not act like the American gladiators, and New York is clearly a total psychopath, but somewhere deep down, watching people fail, succeed, or just exist can be more interesting to some than watching 60 Minutes.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/reality-television-disappoints-viewers-nationwided/

URLs in this post:

[1] Is there still an “M” in MTV?: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/is-there-still-an-%e2%80%9cm%e2%80%9d-in-mtv/

[2] Get ready for a Wicked Summah’: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/get-ready-for-a-wicked-summah%e2%80%99/

[3] Students make fantasy a reality with Quidditch club: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/students-make-fantasy-a-reality-with-quidditch-club/

[4] Newspapers are old news: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/newspapers-are-old-news/

[5] TV networks kick off fall season: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/tv-networks-kick-off-fall-season/

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