It is impossible to imagine the life in this century without television. One has just to evoke his imagination. Life in the magic box sometimes seems to be more entertaining and fascinating than the reality is. Nevertheless, in the age of rationalism, people are losing their interest to fiction. They want to know how things are organized, to have a deep insight into the core of things. For that reason, television offers a solution – Reality TV. Throughout its history, however, it has proved to have more television than reality.
Together with the technological revolution, television developed rather quickly and significantly. Reality television акщь essay on current events has become a genre. According to Ruszkiewicz, a genre is a way to reaching a certain audience and to communicate a certain message. So how did it evolve to its present state?
In 1946 Cash and Carry game show sometimes screened people performing stunts, and two years later Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour alongside with Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts showed amateur talents, and the audience appeared as a judge. Besides, talent shows are popular till nowadays, making it possible for ordinary people to get recognition of the society.
The range of topics for reality shows gradually extended to family. An American Family is the best example of a reality show made in a documentary style. It had described the life of the Loud family with their troubles, which resulted in a divorce process (‘Lance Loud! A Death in an American Family’). It was a revolution on TV, bringing up the topic of a nuclear family to the position of a new branch in reality television.
The popularity of this genre grew extremely fast. One of the reasons for that was human desire to be famous, recognized and, therefore, rich. Without doubt, reality television stars can temporarily enjoy their fame, no matter how delusive it may be. Anyway, the genre continues to maintain its influence on the society in general. The behavioral patterns which are shown on screen permeate in people’s minds, those patterns create its own picture of the world they live in, and they dictate and predict how people should react in various situations.
The distorted image of life is an invaluable weapon. How powerful are those, who know how to use it. How unlucky are those, who have particular aims to achieve. Is there any particular purpose for such weapon?
First, it is important to find the tools which direct people’s minds into reality TV shows and how they are applied. Our world perception depends on previous experiences, which means that we evaluate everything according to patterns in our minds. In order to change them, there should be a strong argument with convincing evidence. Reality TV understands this and produces information that is based on the knowledge and skills of people using its privilege of the “reality” communication. The situations seem to be just as they are in life, moreover, they appeal to the viewer’s emotions, which is considered as the second tool.
By telling and showing people what they want, by mixing mystery, emotions and rationalism the notorious genre may succeed. A good example is Survivor, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The popularity of such shows is rapidly growing, thus empowering their creators to manipulate people’s consciousness.
One more important feature of reality television is its capacity to breed celebrities. It can be a talented person, or a brawler, and the latter one usually has more impact on youth, in fact. They become role models, no matter who they are in the real life. The more typical a person is, the more viewers he can reach. Celebrities sell themselves, and reality shows are a good market. Money is the answer to the why-question as well.
From the foregoing, it may seem that reality TV has nothing good to deal with. However, one must admit, that some shows are quite useful in terms of education. Those pieces of information learned from the “magic box” are indeed practical, for example Apprentice. If a person knows how to apply it in life, he can enjoy some reality shows.
Television and the genre of reality TV in particular, has enormous impact on political sphere. People in such shows usually live in a democratic environment and express their views freely. They also share their problems in society, their economical issues and their desires. In addition, they may suggest solutions to their problems. All these factors are crucial on the local and sometimes even on the global level.
It is not surprising that almost everyone has ever dreamt of becoming a TV star Millions of teenagers in the world wish they could become a star, and the easiest way is to become a reality TV participant. Those who know they can do something better than the others have a great chance to prove that. They only need to take the opportunity.
Thus, reality television as a developed genre proves to be entertaining, sometimes interesting and somehow high-colored. The thing that makes me wonder is how people trust the information they get at the TV. The reason for that may be the uniqueness and versatility, and human impressionability of reality television.