In reality shows, contestants are placed in a “reality” they would not normally find themselves in. This reality is controlled and manipulated by television executives who makes money by getting people to watch their show after carefully picking the contestants for it. That both the selection of contestants and the situation these contestants finds themselves in are controlled by someone else indicates that reality television hardly reflects reality.
By looking at the point or plot of these shows, it becomes even more clear that reality television is a genre and not a description. Surviver, for example, is one of the longest running and most popular reality television shows. In this show, a number of people are stuck on an island. This is a situation a few people may find themselves in. The show does, however, take its contestants through a number of contests where people are voted out and this is clearly done to create tensions within the group to add drama to the television show. By encouraging conflicts, the show differs from what a normal group of survivors would do. More likely than not, they would value the prevention of conflicts. On Survivor, however, feelings are manipulated both by voting habits, by messages from people back home and by rewarding and punishing the different people and groups on the island. Since the show is controlled and manipulated, it cannot be referred to as reality.
Big Brother is another of the more popular reality shows. In this show, a number of contestants are stuck in a house for 100 days. Except for the few people who are unfortunate enough to be locked in a house against their will, this is not even close to being realistic. If people did happen to be stuck in a house for whatever reason, the behavior would probably differ sharply from what is seen in any of the Big Brother houses around the world. For one, while people do say that they forget the cameras after a while, it is probably a little naïve to think that they...
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