back to Writings index

Author: Julie Somerville
Title: Reality TV: Entertaining or Pointless?
Type of Work: essay
Source: CMv2 #9

Copyright 2003 Julie Somerville

Gone are the days when fictional tv shows were enough to keep the public interested. The new fad in television is now realtiy shows. But how realistic are these so called reality shows? In the real world, do people generally have to live on an island for weeks and weeks only to spend the whole time complaining about their lack of resources? And who in the world picks a mate from 25 different people, all vying for their attention simultaneously?

Let's look at Survivor, the show that started this whole reality tv fad. The idea of the show was to take average, everyday working class people, who were accustomed to having certain luxuries, such as a nice soft bed, a hot shower, and a good meal, and leave them to fend for themselves with few modern conveniences. Each week we'd watch the two teams of people struggle to survive in an unfamilar environment. At the end of each episode, viewers would hold their breaths as that week's cast off was announced.

But what kind of behavior ledup to the cast off? Simple; dramatic, childish behavior. At this point, Survivor comes to resemble a soap opera more than a realtiy show. With all the backstabbing and name calling that goes on, it's sometimes hard to distinguish survivor from say, As The World Turns, or just about any other soap opera on the air today.

Though probably the best known by viewers, Survivor is far from being the only reality show on television today. It seems the new trend in dating is too be set up with 25 men or
women and date eveyone of them on national television. Is this any way to find the person you'll spend your life with? It hardly gives two people a chance to get to know each other well. And don't most people act differently when they know they're on camera?Your average person would most likely say "yes." It's ironic, the whole point of these shows are to help some man or woman find their mate. But if you look at the reality dating shows that have been on tv, most of them end up drifting apart and breaking up after the show is over. The only example of a couple that actually worked out is The Bachelorette's Trista Rhen and the lucky guy she picked, but who knows whether or not these two will actually make it to the altar.America will just have to wait and see.

No one knows the future of the reality tv show. Will it continue to be a phenomenon or will it lose steam and become just another media trend? America will have to keep tuning in to find out.