Musings of a PR Professional

Reality Television

Today in Persuasion we analyzed reality TV shows through the narrative paradigm lens. Big Brother and Real World were the focus of our discussion but any reality show works. Each season we are introduced to stereotypical characters that are easy to identify with. Once we feel connected to the characters (or “cast” as the participants are commonly referred to) each one is pitted against one another to create conflict and the resolution only comes on reunion shows.

I dare anyone to get into a discussion about reality shows without knocking head-first into ethics issues. My main question: What messages are these T.V. shows really sending?  When the preacher’s son and the wild party girl get into altercations encouraged by producers for entertainment we’re perpetuating those stereotypes. They even become glorified. When one cast member pulls a knife on another and simply gets sent home without any legal ramifications it’s sending the message that one can act violently and suffer from very little consequences.

Really, that’s not okay. It’s all about ratings, ratings, ratings, but there needs to be a line drawn. Today, producers are using whatever film they have how ever they want to tell the story that sells. And these outrageous clips are not found just on T.V. They’re all over the Internet on sites such as YouTube. With technology advancing in the way it is, almost everyone has incredibly easy access to all kinds of media that are not necessarily appropriate. That is not to say that censorship is the answer, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy these shows myself. It’ just some food for thought.