Among the recent phenomenon to catch on to popular fancy, nothing has perhaps been as viral as reality television. Reality shows apparently pack in all the elements required to make viewership shoot off the charts- action, romance, drama, thrill and entertainment. You have all kinds of shows these days. You can put together a dozen strangers under house arrest and carry out a social experiment. You can also banish them off to an island and have them perform physically strenuous ridiculously pointless tasks to prove themselves. And if you think that things are not getting interesting, well, you can throw in a few celebrities to spice up the mix.
However, when you come to think of it, reality shows are probably one of the most instrumental media today of dumbing down the audience and converting them into couch potatoes. Sure there might be a few shows which are actually good, but they are few and lost among the run of the mill fare.
To summarize, yes, reality shows suck. Why? We have drawn up a list of ten answers to this question.
10. They are scripted
Anybody who thinks that reality shows are in fact real are kidding themselves. In a snowballing attempt to draw in audience with cheap drama, reality shows are getting increasingly scripted. Contestants are supposed to toe a preemptive line drawn up by the producers (according to what they think will play to the target audience’s tastes). Reality, indeed, is not real.
9. Talent takes a backseat
In the many talent shows that have taken the telly by storm, the rush to promote the emotional quotient of the contestants is so strong that the actual talent being hunted often gets lost in translation. She sings well? Oh okay! But look at him, he has a mohawk!
8. Reality shows promote voyeurism
These shows provide fuel to the latent voyeur that resides within all of us. Getting an unabashed look into other peoples’ lives and being privy to all spicy information gratifies a part of us which we at times refuse to acknowledge. We are not sure that is a good thing.
7. Reality shows glorify sex and violence
One of the major aspects that reality shows bank on is sex and violence. These shows unnecessarily objectify women and promote them as objects of desire. Violence is also shown in a much appreciated light. These shows overrate bitching, gossiping and backstabbing. We are not sure that these qualities are a good influence on the viewers, specially on the impressionable minds.
6. They promote an idea of shortcut to success
Reality shows have so rampantly ingrained the idea of two minutes to fame in popular culture that it has become very difficult to keep a straight perspective on success. Hard work, thanks to the reality shows (though they might not be the only medium to deserve the blame here), is being increasingly considered to be overrated.
5. They promote questionable moral standards
We are not trying to be the moral police on patrol duty here, but we cannot be convinced that glorifying teenage pregnancy on prime time television is a good thing. Ditto for objectifying women, promoting violence and unabashed foul mouthing to draw viewership. Spouting five f-words in a ten word sentence is just not cool.
4. The world is not a reality show stage
Reality show contestants often find it difficult to make it big in the real world. That is because nobody is willing to accommodate their tantrums or inflated ego the television fame has given them. To succeed in the big bad world of actual reality, one needs perseverance, talent and hard work. Reality does not live up to the expectations of many and thy find themselves slipping into depression and resort to convenient ways of escaping reality like drug addiction.
3. They are a dime a dozen
The sheer number of reality shows on television has increased exponentially over the last few years. The format of reality shows have so lost their novelty that these days a well scripted soap opera comes as a welcome relief. If you are having too many of them, they cannot really be that good, right?
2. Many of us do not care
An overwhelming majority of the television viewing audience is completely not bothered about the silly little fights and problems reality show producers blow up on our drawing room screens. We might not get them to believe us but then we can well go back to chanting that these shows suck. Big time.
1. They are ruining childhood throughout the world
These days another phenomenon that has gripped the television viewing junta is the ‘junior’ format of the already successful reality shows. So we have the enormous burden of parental expectations thrust on the little shoulders of precious kids who are then ridiculously dressed up in adult garb and also often made to mouth adult lines. Limelight and fame at such tender ages is never a good thing and might very well prove to ruin balanced lives for them. The kids’ future lives and proper growth might be adversely affected. But, oh well, who cares as long as the ratings keep shooting off the charts?