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The Truth: Reality TV

Has there been a time when you have thought to yourself, this show is ridiculous? Well many others, including myself, have thought similarly. Many of the shows we find ridiculous are often scripted and unrealistic.

These detrimental shows are often classified under reality TV. Shows such as the Bachelor, Survivor, and Keeping up with the Kardashians have become extremely popular with more than a few different age groups. The shows are often displaying lots of bad behavior including foul language and fighting. This behavior is having an effect on the people viewing the shows. The reality TV shows are harmful to our current society and have a lasting impact on us in a negative way.

Fans and supporters of reality TV say the shows are helpful and educational to the viewers. They claim if you see an actor on the show lying drunk with vomit on his chest, will show viewers why not to make his mistake. But many counter this argument saying, how do young children watching the show know that? And what if that actor is the child’s role model that he or she looks up to for advice?

Reality TV is encouraging many things including the use of alcohol and even drugs. For example, in the show Real World on MTV, people are hired to star on a show to “have fun” and therefore, alcohol is always involved. It gives people the wrong idea on how to act and, make people think that you can only have fun when you drink. A recent poll of reality TV viewers was recently taken and, the results of the poll show that 75% of people questioned agree that alcohol on shows make it seem alright to drink. Even Kurt Reams, a reality TV show producer, complies that, “the amount of alcohol reality TV stars drink is ridiculous and viewers of the shows could most definitely be influenced and get the wrong idea.” To conclude this point, the reality show, For the Love of Ray-J, the girls who are trying to win the love of pop R&B sensation Ray-J are awarded with glasses of champagne after doing something that impresses or entertains Ray-J. This is just another example of how much alcohol is promoted and how bad of an example reality TV is to its viewers.

Reality TV also gives a bad view on many different cultures. The show Jersey Shore is one example, poorly representing the Italian (Guido) lifestyle, the stars say they mimic. Two older men living in Italy, were recently asked what they thought of the show, and laughed saying, “Those young fools obviously know nothing about the Italian life and should be ashamed for themselves for trying to represent our culture in that fashion.” Along with this, Jersey Shore and other shows like the Housewives of Orange County can establish stereotypes about the different cultures. For example, Jersey Shore could create a stereotype about all Italians, saying that they hook up with girls every night and, have spray tans. Stereotypes about the Housewives of Orange County declare that all housewives in California resemble the housewives on the show, with similar personalities and characteristics. The biases made about cultures that reality TV poorly represents also cause tension and conflict.

Finally, reality TV sets an awful example for many children and teenagers. I personally have experienced the effect that reality TV has on younger children. My younger sister, after watching the TLC reality show, Toddlers & Tiaras, cut pieces of her clothes off to look like the girls in the show. She continued on to say that she looked, “Sexy and, just like my friends on the show!” To me, no four year old should be displaying that type of behavior that the show encourages. Additionally, another newly popular show, Dance Mom’s, which also features young children being dressed by their Mother’s with little clothes on, is a show based on young girls trying to win a competition by any means necessary. One current reality TV show critic, Stephen Emmanuelson, who is assigned to the show, states that, “The show is simply discussing. I truthfully am so sickened by the attitudes of the so called ‘stars’ that it is hard for me to watch the show. The large and growing number of young viewers that watch this show are most likely being affected by the inappropriate behavior of the children and worst of all, the Mother’s! They shout, curse and even at times, physically fight with each other.” These shows need to be taken off the air immediately, to stop the horrible examples the shows include.

Reality TV might be the slightest bit entertaining, but do you really want your kids, friends, younger siblings and your family to be watching shows that will encourage them to drink alcohol, help create stereotypes that might even be about your own culture, for them to dress inappropriately and mimic the inappropriate behavior the shows encourage? Because reality TV is doing exactly that.





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