In class, we have discussed television and how violence, race and gender are portrayed, etc. as well as its influence on today’s culture and society. This made me wonder about the influence of Reality TV on society. Reality TV is supposedly unscripted television programming featuring and documenting normal people in a variety of different situations. Reality TV has existed since pretty much the beginning of television in the form of game shows etc. However, Reality TV has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade.

Today, Reality TV not only includes game shows, but also a wide variety of other shows. Mostly in surveillance form, Reality TV documents everything from cooking (Top Chef) to makeovers (What Not to Wear) to fashion design (Project Runway). The most popular type of Reality TV today is documentary style where the characters are followed around by an un-intring camera and the viewers are simply outside observers. I would like to pose this question: Is Reality TV an accurate portrayal of reality?

In all reality, Reality TV does not really portray reality. Rather, it is distorted and seriously influenced by those creating and producing the show. Reality TV is misleading. The situations and events are created in order to produce the highest levels of sensationalism possible in order to gain a broader audience.

In most situations, the environment of Reality TV is false. Everything within Reality TV is controlled. Events, situations, etc. are specifically premeditated to influence how things will turn out. An example would be placing two people who dislike each other in a situation that can only result in conflict. This is why the environment of Reality TV is for the most part false, because, in true reality, the situations seen on screen would have most likely never occurred.

Another reason Reality TV does not accurately portray reality is because of the editing that is done to the footage that was actually shot. Before airing a Reality TV show, producers dice and splice recorded video and audio and then put those pieces back together to form a patchwork quilt of sorts. This is misleading to the viewer because the pieces that are placed together may actually be shot at different times and locations and then pieced together in an order that is not accurate to what really happened. Also, selective editing can portray the show participants in whatever manner the producers wish whether it be positive or negative.

Another way Reality TV distorts reality it that often times events that occurred and were not caught on camera are often re-created and embellished for the show. Scripting, although not reality, often occurs as well. Anyone who has ever watched The Hills on MTV knows that real life reality never occurs in the same way as on the show. The Hills can be viewed as having a negative impact on its viewers because it may give viewers an unrealistic outlook on life. The Hills makes viewers think that what occurs on the show is a true demonstration of what reality is when living in Hollywood. The “reality” they are showing viewers is fake. In a sense, The Hills and other reality television is responsible for making American’s appear to be stupid to the rest of the world.

In conclusion, Reality TV is not an accurate portrayal of reality and can also have a negative impact on culture and society. Reality TV gives false representations of how life really is and as a result can give those involved with the show, as well as those associated with the show, a bad reputation. (Example: Europeans who watch The Hills are under the impression that Americans are spoiled and the girls are slutty.) Dick's are strictly for conversation. Tickle my pickle.