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Reality Shows should be Banned
The main essence of reality shows is to put ordinary people in a social confined setting with extraordinary environment and activities with the aim of entertaining audiences with the illusion that what is going on is not scripted nor rehearsed. Most reality shows attempt to convince the audience that the participants of the show are being pushed to their physical, emotional or physiological limits in order to complete a specific task or attain a certain goal of which audience cheer on their favorite participant. With the change in times and technology most reality shows have gone over board and have forgotten the basic concept of reality shows and are now focusing more on entertainment than reality that has lead to increase in sexual exposure, humiliation and immorality. Reality shows have lost their way from original series like survivor to the new mediocre series of two celebrities living in a farm yard for a week. Reality TV has joined the ranks of day time entertainment and has lost the spark of spontaneous originality from other forms of scripted entertainment.
Additionally, the most famous reality shows worldwide are big brother and Idols; these two are examples of scripted and well rehearsed reality shows. In the just concluded episode of idols a judge was dared to sing out of the blue and it so happened just by “coincidence” that the band started playing a song which the judge joined in emphatically without hesitation. The crowed cheered and applauded for the “unexpected” performance by the judge. Such reality T.V. shows give viewers and more so children false hope of a “happily ever after” reality were heroes and heroines live thus insulting the intelligence of the viewers.
In the case of big brother viewers are subjected to sex as a form of entertainment. Relationships formed in the big brother house give the participant a better chance of winning the competition and increase his/her ratings thus the audience spends time and money voting for the participant so they can enjoy seeing the participants relationship grow. And due to the full disclosure nature of the show all activities are broadcasted and shown live on our T.V. sets exposing and encouraging our youths, young adults and children to sex, immorality and promiscuous behaviors.
Furthermore, the common comic saying “its funny until someone gets hurt, then it’s hilarious” comes to life in most reality shows. Producers of reality shows capitalize on the demise and misfortunes of participants. When a contestant falls down or gets hurt in anyway it is taken as a form of entertainment or comedy not knowing the humiliation and psychological trauma they instill in the participant. Examples of such shows are “show me the funny” “Real T.V.” and “Fear factor”. Show me the funny capitalizes on bloopers of home made videos which show family member having accidents such as hitting each other being bitten by a snake or having a ball hit them on their faces. Turning such perilous or even fatal accidents to o form of humor encourages children to view violence and accidents as vivacious events and not the precarious activities they are. Producers also capitalize on the eviction or the inability of a participant to complete a certain assignment. The humiliation and reaction of a participant being evicted or accepting defeat is a high point of most reality T.V. which is morally and ethically wrong. The failure of a fellow human being should be frowned upon and not celebrated.
The planned scripting and acting that happens in reality T.V. shows insults the viewer’s intelligence. A good example of this is the most popular TV show on the planet, the WWE wrestling. Such shows give the viewers the misapprehensions that what is going on is ad hoc, spontaneous and impulsive and yet they are not. The physical abuse that is entailed in the WWE wrestling show is unfeasible, ridiculous and impracticable. No human being can with stand such maltreatment and continue to show aggression to his opponent with full body strength. Majority of the audience know that such reality shows are scripted and premeditated but to the young and young at heart, the level of belief and credence they have in reality shows is hazardous to their mental capability to distinguish authentic violence from fictional performances.
Such reality shows affect the social interactions of youths. They encourage violence as a form of entertainment and not the atrocious, offensive conduct that it is. Such Reality shows have promoted violence in children which has consequently increased gang related bloodshed in America and violent behavior schools. Though most violent reality shows try and warn the audience against performing their impractical physical fetes and aptitude, audiences cannot help but to try out what they see on T.V. and in turn end up hurting themselves and others in the process.
Contrarily the banning of reality shows would give us false hope of protecting our children from the bad aspect of “sex and violence” because it is not only in reality shows that our children are exposed to sex and violence, technology has made it possible for our children to access sexual contents and violent games and videos via the internet. Though banning reality shows would reduce the amount of sexual content they would be exposed to it would only pave way to new forms of sexual and violent entertainment which would conveniently reach our children. Reality TV shows are one but not the most sexually explicit forms of entertainment, so we should not elude our selves that banning reality television would solve the problem, it will only reduce it for a some time, until other forms of explicit entertainment come along.
Banning reality TV will be breaking of international laws. It would be an infringement of basic rights, freedom of speech. Every and all human have the right to express themselves in a way they deem fit and so by banning reality TV show we would contravene with their democratic right to convey their grievances and views. With this in mind it would be erroneous to ban the shows since most of the producers know their rights and follow them to the latter, this will convey the violation of these rights and hence it will be impracticable. The viewers too have the absolute right to watch these shows and amuse themselves; banning these shows will create an international outcry from the viewers who derive pleasure from these shows, it will also be in breach of the viewers rights.
We should also take heart in the fact that most people will se right through scripted reality shows. We live in an informed world where information is at our finger tips. The shallow scripts and predictability of mediocre reality TV are clichés and with time audiences will distinguish between scripted premeditated and organized reality TV shows and the real thing. At the end of the day if a reality show does not appeal to your everyday life and situation then one should know that the show is scripted. More so with information and technology easy accessibility most viewers get to know the hollowness of reality TV shows and watch them primly for entertainment. This makes the banning of the shows irrelevant and unimportant because to the viewers they are more or less a form of amusement.
Finally we need to accept that reality shows have fallen from grace and are not what they used to be. We need to ask ourselves who is to blame, the producers who make the reality TV shows or we the audience who give the producers reason to dramatize reality in a sexually immoral way that that affect the behavior and morals of our young. If the producers made real reality shows that speak to the day to day events of our lives would we watch them with the same interests we watch the current scripted shows? Would we still enjoy the true conflicts triumphs and struggles or are we already hooked to the soap opera type of reality TV that is being broadcasted through out the world/ are we our own worst victims, influencing the increase of sex violence and immorality that is reality TV shows? Or should we shift the blame to those who produce the shows? If we didn’t create a market for low quality TV productions would our children be exposed to such appalling entertainment range? The question remains would it help if reality TV was banned?
Murray, S. & Ouellete, L. (2008). Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture.(2nd Ed). New York, NYU Press.
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