The “Real” in Reality TV

Some reality t.v. sways audiences to believe that the show is real through the name. The Real Housewives of Orange County is a popular reality t.v. show that focuses on the upper class and successful of Orange County rather than the middle to lower class and ordinary.

From news to a scripted show about cats, television over the years has widely expanded its realm. However, one of the most popular and intriguing genres of television is reality t.v.

Reality t.v.. was created to provide audiences a “real” look into others’ lives. The shows are meant to represent the greater American population by filming the lives of different types of people, varying in age and location. However, most people watch it solely for entertainment.

As reality t.v. became more popular, it became less “real” and more scripted. The producers often focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, instead of the average, ordinary, American. Over the years, the true purpose of reality t.v. has somehow been lost.

Reality t.v. nowadays has more negative effects on its viewers than positive. It perpetuates stereotypes of what life as a young adult, or middle-aged adult, is supposed to be like in 2016. It gives false ideals of what life is really like in different areas like Los Angeles, Miami, or New York City. Not everyone has that much money, or looks flawless at 50 years old in the “real” world. From other parts of the country, the reality t.v. creates stereotypes about how the people from that region are like. Being apart of a cynical teenage generation, we believe these stereotypes.

Rachel Golden, a senior at LRHS, has seen several reality t.v. shows. Although she likes to watch them, she knows they are nowhere near an accurate representation of an American life. “I think in some situations it [reality t.v.] does, but in others like the Kardashians, no one actually has that type of life. They focus too much on the celebrities.” Many teenagers enjoy watching the shows, however they don’t even recognize that the shows perpetuate stereotypes by showing celebrities that live in the Los Angeles area with fancy cars and pricey clothes. The shows make it seem like aspects of their lives that are anomalous, seem ordinary.

Teenage years are some of the most influential years of one’s life. Teens are very subject to picking up on stereotypes created from watching reality t.v. These stereotypes will stay with the teens for most of their lives.

The point of reality is no longer to show Americans across the country what it is like to live in other areas or to represent the majority of the population, but it is simply to entertain the audience. The reality t.v. has created stereotypes about what the real world is like or what young audiences can expect when they grow up. Reality t.v. shouldn’t have “real” anywhere in its title.

In order to prevent audiences from growing up to believe stereotypes created in the t.v. shows. It needs to stop being referred to as reality t.v. Producers need to make clear to their audiences that the lives they film and the situations that transpire on the shows aren’t authentic; however, they are completely scripted. Teenagers need to realize that the stereotypes present in the shows are only furthered by watching them.


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