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Is Reality T.V. actually becoming useful?

Browder

Wishes He could Fly
Project Runway. Top Chef. American Idol. You've all seen these shows and you've probably all groaned at them but have you ever considered that they might actually be the best things to happen to reality T.V?

Consider: There are shows like Survivor and Fear Factor that get people to compete based off of the strength of their stomach and their popularity. Now you have shows that actively push for competition in The Arts. That's a goo thing isn't it? Suddenly you've got more people inspired to be singers, chefs, and fashion designers.

Putting that aside for the moment, I was taken by M.T.V,'s The Buried Life. In the show for guys go across the country in a van crossing off the 200 things they want to do before they die. Even better, for every item they cross of their list they find a random stranger and help them achieve something off that strangers list. The entire show is dedicated to the idea that nothing is impossible, something I find inspiring.

So what do you guys think? Reality T.V. as the savior of Inspiration, or Reality T.V as Teh Suck?
 

Fallenmink

I love you, Mr. Splashy Pants
Except "the Arts" displayed in reality TV are dumbed down, unrealistic versions of the actual industries they represent.

That's not to say, of course, reality TV can't be useful or entertaining; typically the shows being bashed are in the vain of The Real World or Big Brother, relying on gossip and sensationalism to garner ratings (which is common in all reality shows, irregardless if they deal with "the Arts" or not).
 

Bambi

Joined 2008 - Returned 2022
Depends upon the programming.

You could argue that certain shows aren't dedicated to doing much more then communicating a tacit support for social recklessness and bad, moral character. For example, shows like Maury, Jerry Springer, and Judge Judy all have one thing in common -- can you guess? From about 9'o'clock in the morning till about 12'o'clock in the afternoon, the unemployed, children, teenagers, stay at home parents, workers who are on break, the elderly, and the disabled will all be able to watch each of these shows with relative ease (assuming they're at home or at a time or place where this is available to see.) What they're not realizing is that these television programmers are actually waging a sort of small-scale social war of broadcast entertainment aimed at tricking people into thinking the world we live in is small, therefore irritating their represented demographics into being much more impatient, selfish, or reactionary with the people that live around them.

For that demographic, multiple shows encompassing the theme of social and moral decay broadcast common themes about hopelessness, crime and punishment, and the overall insane and directionless future some people have in this country. Extreme fetishes and violence are all cat-walked on day-time television in front of a broad audience that doesn't have the self-knowledge to know how to deal with what they're seeing, and extreme behavior is often rewarded with attention and sometimes, even sympathy (according to certain shows.) While this is happening, bad behavior is receiving a market and being courted by an unknowing group of people who arguably don't know any better.

Yet, in order to get a better example of how this all comes into effect, we'll start rolling through a hypothetical programming schedule and do a hour-by-hour play of how each show interacts with it's audience. Let's say Dr. Phil, one show, starts at 9'o'clock in the morning, and of course following that would be Maury, which is at 10'o'clock in the morning. Each show (Phil, Maury) will deal with an issue relative to someone elses problems, of course, each with their own method of dealing with it. However, in the process of dealing with it, Americans are sent a very clear message.

At 9'o'clock, we're told we've all got deep, psychological problems. We're also taught that parents are powerless, can't stop their children from misbehavior, and that the only way to fix your problems is empowerment through talk show hosts. We're also taught to be on alarm for problems within ourselves, and then also taught to internalize these issues until they become most volatile. We're finally taught to be judgmental, wary, and to listen only when there's an authority greater than us speaking. Even if the central message is to help people, it's also a passive work that teaches cynicism and dishonesty. Unfortunately underlying that of course is the sensationalized conflicts which follow or pursuit into the next 'episode'.

As the spectacle of Dr.Phil ends, were quickly interrupted and sent into another bloc of programming -- say, Maury this time. Maury gets on there, seats his audience, seats his guests, and then proceeds to exploit the anti-social and otherwise dumb behavior of the people who have the gull to go on his show using his audiences participation to enhance the shows atmosphere of being loud and obnoxious. "Babys Momma Drama", "She's a slut", "You took my man!", are all repeated themes, repeated themes to the American consumer who "buys" this product by watching it.

What are they told?

By the time we reach 12'o'clock, what has the average American has learned that everyone is reckless, afraid, stupid, tortured, blind, and damn near mental; that we shouldn't trust each other, we should seek the power of celebrity, and that we should seek to empower ourselves or take control of our lives until someone else tells us to do so. So, whats the oddity? While the shows attempt to make a mockery of foolishness, they also engage in it. Soon, and with or without most people realizing it yet, we all begin to slowly become affected by the central messages and problems of these shows. We sort of become what we see, monkey see, monkey do, because our perceptions of our country and ourselves have been unhealthily affected.

In short, it's making the average Joe less inclined to do well with his life and become what he sees on television; a method or mode of profit for the people like Dr. Phil and Maury.

Okay, so I've gone on long enough, but it's my opinion that there's negative effects that can result from reality TV, or TV that attempts to be reality. Here's a great thing to ask yourself: Are there any "reality TV" shows that you can think of that otherwise portray a vapid demographic of college aged adults, party-crashers, prostitutes, and gossipers?
 
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I rage at reality TV sometimes, then again, I realize that the ad bucks being pumped into those things could be used to fund genre shows ala Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and the like.
 

furatail

Member
I still don't like the inflated drama. Though my dislike of drama may be related to my poor emotional response and apathy towards others. So I guess if I were more emotional I would enjoy these shows.
 

TwilightV

HELL YEAH!!!
The only show like that I enjoy is Hell's Kitchen.
 

Kaffting

The Kaff
Personally I miss Scare Tactics.

Though I don't even own a TV any more, not the point. >.>
 
Depends upon the programming.

You could argue that certain shows aren't dedicated to doing much more then communicating a tacit support for social recklessness and bad, moral character. *snip snip snip*

You propose an interesting question wrapped beautiful in rhetoric, logic and strong command of the English language. Yet, you seem to base your argument around the concept of Monkey-See, Monkey-Do and that no member of this demographic has free-well or self-determination. For the most part, your point is correct in assuming that daytime television influences cynicism among members of... aww, fuck it--I'll call them the lupenproletariat, yet there are characteristics among them that have existed long before the advent of television. Case in point, the Hatfields and McCoys.

Of course, one could also argue that positive reality TV doesn't bring in the big bucks and that people are purposefully buying into the product of a dark and reckless humanity simply because its a more interesting thing to witness. After all, one could watch these shows and mutter "at least I'm not THOSE guys" as opposed to say the CNN Heroes series, where one would feel guilty about his "inaction".

Either way, you're pretty fucking awesome at writing, kiddo and you've unintentionally proved that the whole of Furfaggotry hasn't fallen to the creepers and the nimrods.
 

CAThulu

In FAF CAThulu lies dreaming..
Depends upon the programming...

Here's a great thing to ask yourself: Are there any "reality TV" shows that you can think of that otherwise portray a vapid demographic of college aged adults, party-crashers, prostitutes, and gossipers?

First off, brilliant observation. Now, Judge Judy is a guilty pleasure of mine, but that's because she's awesome, and I watch it purely for background noise when I'm working on something. However, because she is in fact a legitimate judge who's worked in the system for decades, if you pay attention you do learn a few things. It's not just about upset couples claiming stuff, but tenants' rights, timeframe to file complaints, and property issues. I find it educational but the demographic is mostly lower-to-middle income Americans. Upper middle and beyond can afford lawyers and drawing out stupid shit for years without going bankrupt (mostly :p )

As for educational reality tv: Hoarders lit a fire under my butt to clear out a lot of useless stuff in my apartment. A&E has The First 48 which chronicles the first two days of different investigations. 48 hours is the time window when the case has the best chance of being solved, and you get to watch the process and struggles of the different police offices w/o the CSI glamour.

Another one I like is Dirty Jobs. That is as close to Reality TV as you can get :)
 

Idlewild

Will jump for sugar cubes.
Another one I like is Dirty Jobs. That is as close to Reality TV as you can get :)

Yes! I absolutely love Dirty Jobs. On occasion, I even watch Deadliest Catch, partially to hear Mike Rowe even more, and partially because you know it's real. People can and have died on that show, so it's definitely not about the glitz and glamour. OH! And I love Cash Cab. I've learned lots of useless trivia from that show, haha!

Back when it first began, Project Runway was definitely a great reality show. One of my friends who studies fashion design absolutely loved that show because it was a great opportunity for both the models and designers to get theit names and lines out in the real world. Now I think it has degraded a bit to be more about the drama, but I still love watching it, and learning about what styles are good or bad.
 

8-bit

Member
Depends upon the programming.

You could argue that certain shows aren't dedicated to doing much more then communicating a tacit support for social recklessness and bad, moral character. For example, shows like Maury, Jerry Springer, and Judge Judy all have one thing in common -- can you guess? From about 9'o'clock in the morning till about 12'o'clock in the afternoon, the unemployed, children, teenagers, stay at home parents, workers who are on break, the elderly, and the disabled will all be able to watch each of these shows with relative ease (assuming they're at home or at a time or place where this is available to see.) What they're not realizing is that these television programmers are actually waging a sort of small-scale social war of broadcast entertainment aimed at tricking people into thinking the world we live in is small, therefore irritating their represented demographics into being much more impatient, selfish, or reactionary with the people that live around them.

For that demographic, multiple shows encompassing the theme of social and moral decay broadcast common themes about hopelessness, crime and punishment, and the overall insane and directionless future some people have in this country. Extreme fetishes and violence are all cat-walked on day-time television in front of a broad audience that doesn't have the self-knowledge to know how to deal with what they're seeing, and extreme behavior is often rewarded with attention and sometimes, even sympathy (according to certain shows.) While this is happening, bad behavior is receiving a market and being courted by an unknowing group of people who arguably don't know any better.

Yet, in order to get a better example of how this all comes into effect, we'll start rolling through a hypothetical programming schedule and do a hour-by-hour play of how each show interacts with it's audience. Let's say Dr. Phil, one show, starts at 9'o'clock in the morning, and of course following that would be Maury, which is at 10'o'clock in the morning. Each show (Phil, Maury) will deal with an issue relative to someone elses problems, of course, each with their own method of dealing with it. However, in the process of dealing with it, Americans are sent a very clear message.

At 9'o'clock, we're told we've all got deep, psychological problems. We're also taught that parents are powerless, can't stop their children from misbehavior, and that the only way to fix your problems is empowerment through talk show hosts. We're also taught to be on alarm for problems within ourselves, and then also taught to internalize these issues until they become most volatile. We're finally taught to be judgmental, wary, and to listen only when there's an authority greater than us speaking. Even if the central message is to help people, it's also a passive work that teaches cynicism and dishonesty. Unfortunately underlying that of course is the sensationalized conflicts which follow or pursuit into the next 'episode'.

As the spectacle of Dr.Phil ends, were quickly interrupted and sent into another bloc of programming -- say, Maury this time. Maury gets on there, seats his audience, seats his guests, and then proceeds to exploit the anti-social and otherwise dumb behavior of the people who have the gull to go on his show using his audiences participation to enhance the shows atmosphere of being loud and obnoxious. "Babys Momma Drama", "She's a slut", "You took my man!", are all repeated themes, repeated themes to the American consumer who "buys" this product by watching it.

What are they told?

By the time we reach 12'o'clock, what has the average American has learned that everyone is reckless, afraid, stupid, tortured, blind, and damn near mental; that we shouldn't trust each other, we should seek the power of celebrity, and that we should seek to empower ourselves or take control of our lives until someone else tells us to do so. So, whats the oddity? While the shows attempt to make a mockery of foolishness, they also engage in it. Soon, and with or without most people realizing it yet, we all begin to slowly become affected by the central messages and problems of these shows. We sort of become what we see, monkey see, monkey do, because our perceptions of our country and ourselves have been unhealthily affected.

In short, it's making the average Joe less inclined to do well with his life and become what he sees on television; a method or mode of profit for the people like Dr. Phil and Maury.

Okay, so I've gone on long enough, but it's my opinion that there's negative effects that can result from reality TV, or TV that attempts to be reality. Here's a great thing to ask yourself: Are there any "reality TV" shows that you can think of that otherwise portray a vapid demographic of college aged adults, party-crashers, prostitutes, and gossipers?


^thisthisthisthisthis

I rage at reality TV sometimes, then again, I realize that the ad bucks being pumped into those things could be used to fund genre shows ala Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and the like.

Eh, I never thought Terminator needed a series. :/
 

Kit H. Ruppell

Exterminieren! Exterminieren!
I don't need TV shows to tell me how stupid the majority of our species is.
 

Vaelarsa

resident spaceship
I like reality TV like Project Runway and Shear Genius,
but HATE the ones like "[insert generic TV whore here] Wants Love: 8" or "Watch These Rich People be Rich Assholes for No Goddamn Reason."
 
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