Reality TV Shows: Is it really reality if they are aware of the camera?

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#1
These are just some thoughts I had the other day after watching an episode of Howie do it on NBC (OTA). "Howie do it" kind of represents a true representation of what Reality TV is (for me), as opposed to most of the so called reality shows on TV.

Why?

Real Word MTV and The Apprentice on NBC for example contain "real people" in real social situations all the while TV cameras and film crew are recording. Have you ever wondered about how these folks would act if there wasn't a camera in their face? and most of these people seem to be full of themselves which I guess makes for good TV, but it's so obviously fake to me.

and here's the biggest joke of it all. These reality TV shows have such low overhead compared to a drama show like CSI or Finge because they don't have to pay the contestants like a traditional actor or actress. OK so Survivor gives away a million dollars, but wasn't each actor of the Friends show earning a million dollars per episode?? It's no wonder there are so many of these types of shows on TV these days. Networks are making big money.

:pop2:
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#2
The cost is exactly why reality shows are popular. You nailed it on the head, and the networks are the first to admit it. That's why shows end after 5 years, too -- salary negotiation time, unless the show is just a megahit or the cast is cheap for some reason.

Re: the reality part of it, I remember the big villain from Big Brother has continued to say he's not really like the master manipulator he played on the show, that it was all an act. I think he's lying and he's exactly who we saw on the show. I think that while who they are out in the middle of the show's theme pulls out a piece of them that is probably kept hidden most of the time, but it's still them.
 
#3
I wish Survivor and American Idol would DIE. they're so played out and they weren't that good to begin with.

I love Cartoon Network's way of playing fun with them with 'Total Drama Island'

You want 'real' tv? watch the news and/or weather. that's all local and REAL. or get a life and go outside and play folks!

Reality TV or any variation is a waste of great TV airtime plus pollution in the schedule.

What i never understood is those reality series' like 'Harper's Island' or '13 Fear is Real' i know people would do anything for money but do they really die in those shows? i know it sounds stupid but i don't know how they would pull it off seeing as unlike a movie it's not taped nor using special effects editing since it's recorded as it happens. plus they never seem to convey what happens after. i wouldn't be too surprised what with the way society is falling below the evolutionary level of gorillas today.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#4
Uh, Harper's Island is a scripted drama.

The fact is that many people enjoy watching other people making fools of themselves (the reality genre) or strive for something (the AI/Survivor genre), which is the context of many of the reality shows out there. They are less expensive to produce, and yet still get great ratings (i.e., there are still a lot of people who like to watch the shows). Essentially, these shows are represent more effective use of the public airwaves. We don't have to like it.

People who like reality shows don't necessarily want to watch news or weather instead. It isn't anything close to the same. I'm not sure why you would even suggest that. :confused:

I think the key aspect of all this is recognition that not one of us the be-all and end-all of television viewer in this country. We are each just one person. Everyone has inherent worth and dignity, and therefore their preferences and proclivities are as worthy of respect as our own. Dismissal of the viewing preferences of others as in some way less than one's own is disrespectful, and thereby inappropriate.
 
#5
News/weather is REAL and not scripted. 'Reality' TV is hardly real. i mean on Survivor do you really believe they stick people there and leave them the way the Military does in training for 'survival?' no way in hell. because that would be cruel. or some moral issue. but it makes it so fake. what do they do off-camera? eat a three course meal? have a home to go to? it's not real.

Plus it's taken so much of the schedule today that the whole point of tv in the first place, to divert from reality, is going the way of the dinosaur.

If i wanted to watch people make fools of themselves i'd either buy a blooper video or go on Youtube and watch all of them make fools of themselves. on a sitcom, which is most definitely fake, it's funny. but in real life or any simulation of, it's not funny. seeing it on TV is ok but when it's real it is no longer fun to watch. because i see enough stupid people in the world that if not for government protection from themselves the laws of nature would weed them out and leave the intelligent around to benefit society instead of rot it.

the whole reason for reality shows is because some suit in Hollywood has run out of imagination for new sitcoms where sex and toilet humor don't have to exist to make a wholesome, witty, and funny show.

Shows like American Idol are stupid because i hear enough junk on FM radio that wouldn't even make the cut for an AI Audition yet apparently are making millions anyways. the show serves no useful purpose other than variating the theme of most popularity contests, like Miss USA to the point that people don't even realize that popularity isn't anything other than following the herd and not thinking on one's self. the whole issue with popularity sickens me. people want to be something they cannot be. perfect.
 
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bicker

DTVUSA Member
#6
News/weather is REAL and not scripted.
Which is probably why many people don't find it as entertaining. That was my point.

'Reality' TV is hardly real.
Well, it is real, as compared to scripted dramas. If an actor plays a real creep in a movie, you don't assume that the actor is a real creep, do you? But is someone on a reality television program comes across as a real creep, then you can safely assume that the person is probably at least partially creepy IRL. That's what it means for the programming to be in the reality genre: The people you're watching aren't playing someone else -- they're basically being themselves, with the only modification of that is that they know they're on camera. That's it. It isn't an inconsequential difference, but it is a small one as compared to the difference between a character on a scripted drama and a participant on a reality television program.

i mean on Survivor do you really believe they stick people there and leave them the way the Military does in training for 'survival?'
That's not what Survivor is all about. I think you're allowing yourself to be confused by the title of the program. Program titles need to be relatively short. Could you imagine what TV Guide would look like if every program title had to completely match, with lexicographical perfection, what the program actually was all about. Beyond that, program titles, and promotional advertisements are intended to attract viewers to the program. While they don't lie, like all promotional advertisement, they extol the good things. That's by design. Not only would another approach result in less viewers (which is the opposite of the objective, eh?), but would also come across very strange. Why would anyone think that a program would promote itself in a negative manner? That doesn't make sense.

what do they do off-camera? eat a three course meal? have a home to go to? it's not real.
Now you're just making stuff up. They don't do things "off-camera" like you suggest. That's a scurrilous and baseless accusation against the producers, the networks and the participants. Is it Paris Island? No. It is tough, though pretty-much as tough as it appears on camera.

There is no justifiable foundation for you which you to assert that that kind of deception is going on. Remember, participants in the first season of Survivor are long past the gag order of their contracts: If there was that kind of deception going on, you'd not only see proof presented in the media, but you'd see Mark Burnett going to jail, by now.

Plus it's taken so much of the schedule today that the whole point of tv in the first place, to divert from reality, is going the way of the dinosaur.
The whole point of television is to divert us away from our reality. When I watched Survivor, I watched from the comfort of my couch at home. Those people were going through what they were going through for my entertainment, as part of my leisure.

That programming takes up so much of the schedule today because so many people enjoy it. It sucks to be in a minority -- take it from me -- but the reality of being in a pluralistic society is that reasonable people will disagree, and that's okay. Everyone's leisure preferences deserve equal respect, because each person deserves equal respect.

the whole reason for reality shows is because some suit in Hollywood has run out of imagination for new sitcoms where sex and toilet humor don't have to exist to make a wholesome, witty, and funny show.
No, the whole reason for reality shows is because enough people find them enjoyable, and more importantly, such programming is less expensive to produce and the American television viewer is unwilling to reward scripted programming at a rate commensurate with its added cost. If you want to direct some vitriol at someone for this scourge you see, direct it at the American television viewer who is too cheap to spend $10 per month per channel family, to subsidize 15 hours of original, scripted programming per channel family.

I don't watch any reality shows anymore, not even American Idol, but I think it is remarkably disrespectful to so categorically condemn-by-proxy the people who enjoy that type of programming. Just because we don't like something doesn't make us right and someone else wrong. Entertainment is very much a matter of personal taste, and no one's taste is superior to anyone else's.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#7
I don't watch any reality shows anymore, not even American Idol, but I think it is remarkably disrespectful to so categorically condemn-by-proxy the people who enjoy that type of programming. Just because we don't like something doesn't make us right and someone else wrong. Entertainment is very much a matter of personal taste, and no one's taste is superior to anyone else's.
I think you were directing that at DTVuser, but I wanted to make it clear that the intent of my thread was to question the so called reality of some reality TV shows.

Shows like American Idol are stupid because i hear enough junk on FM radio that wouldn't even make the cut for an AI Audition yet apparently are making millions anyways. the show serves no useful purpose other than variating the theme of most popularity contests, like Miss USA to the point that people don't even realize that popularity isn't anything other than following the herd and not thinking on one's self. the whole issue with popularity sickens me. people want to be something they cannot be. perfect.
While I agree completely about junk on the radio, I do think that American Idol has properly earned it's self a top place TV history. I mean, we the viewer are taken on a journey each season as Simon, Paula, and Randy choose from thousands of contestants (some not so good). This season has been full of drama, though most of it could be questionably scripted...I find the whole process of elimination fascinating on that show. and all the while, contestants are honing their skills each week to survive and sing for another show.
 
#8
I'm getting tired of reality TV. I like to watch TV to escape reality. Give me a good old fashion sit com anyday. Or maybe good movie. Even repeats are better then reality TV
 
#9
I have no issues with those who enjoy reality television. but there's some who do NOT want to see it take up 90% of the schedule nor have their favorites preempted by the show going through a week-long marathon, just as some who don't like seeing sports dominate the TV during championships and rather it have its own channel or have it in moderation.

Reality shows even take up a vast majority of paid-services like Dish Network. on channels such as TV Land, which is for those who love old TV shows, reality TV does NOT belong. the premise of a channel which revolves around a theme, such as classic television should show classic television. not reality 'new' TV.

Survivor surely makes it appear as though they're in a survival course, with the promos showing tigers showing fangs, pumping up drama between the contestants, sure. it looks rather interesting to watch. but when you actually watch it, it just goes on and on with the crap plus there's no action. it's like a movie preview that seems interesting but when you get your ticket and sit down, it sucks 5 mins into it and never what you expected it to be.

If you like Reality TV, fine. just don't deny those few the opportunity to watch something different once in a while. as you correctly stated, some like it, some don't. it's like technology, some like being the first to have every new gadget, some see no logical sense in spending money on something they may not need.

Plus reality TV is all fun until they play the same theme over and over like watching a rerun over and over. it gets old very quick.

Survivor was ok the first two times. then it got old and played out. i mean how many re-creations of Power Rangers were done? how interesting was it to see 10 spin-offs of it? same with Survivor and American Idol. after 5-10 times it is no longer new and the novelty wears off.

I mean in Survivor's case, it was so done that you'd see references of it show up on shows like Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius (they parodied the 'Tribal Council') and American Idol was done on All That (American Idiot, which i'd find it very interesting myself lol) and The Fairly Oddparents (Fairy Idol) and in fact AI was the most parodied recently. even on iCarly once.

That's the only reason i like Reality TV, because it gets humorously made fun of on shows i actually watch. AI is only watchable to me for Simon, since he's so honest and funny at the same time. but sadly everyone hates him. Randy Jackson is overusing ebonics IMO. and Paula is too nice.
 
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bicker

DTVUSA Member
#10
If you like Reality TV, fine. just don't deny those few the opportunity to watch something different once in a while.
They're not. We fans of scripted dramas are doing that to ourselves. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If there were more of us, and we watched commercials more, and bought more stuff because we watched commercials, then commercial television would pander to our needs more.

One of the things we Americans need to do, in general, is stop looking to others to assess blame for what we don't like, but rather start pointing the fingers at ourselves, at our actions, at our perspectives, at our choices -- far more often than we're willing to admit, that's where the fault really rests.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#11
Boy I've missed a lot in the last couple of days! I thought I'd weigh in just a tad here.
I have no issues with those who enjoy reality television. but there's some who do NOT want to see it take up 90% of the schedule nor have their favorites preempted by the show going through a week-long marathon, just as some who don't like seeing sports dominate the TV during championships and rather it have its own channel or have it in moderation.
The thing is, everyone is different. I'm pretty traditional in scope, and that's how I feel about gritty TV and profane TV. I want the story without the swearing, crudeness, and violence that is prevalent in today's TV. Well, for the most part, I'm out of luck. Just watch Southland, which drives me insane with the bleeping. I appreciate not hearing the words, but why do have to even include the hint of the profanity and annoy us with bleeping? I want Columbo and Adam-12.

Reality shows even take up a vast majority of paid-services like Dish Network. on channels such as TV Land, which is for those who love old TV shows, reality TV does NOT belong. the premise of a channel which revolves around a theme, such as classic television should show classic television. not reality 'new' TV.
I agree. Reality doesn't belong on TV Land, any more than wrestling belongs on the Sci Fi Channel or Girls Gone Wild extremely provocative ads belong in the middle of classic slowings of Password on GSN. I'm stuck with them, though. And TV Land isn't even TV Land anymore. The shows it's airing most of the time now aren't even suitable for what that channel was in the beginning. First they ruined Nick. Now they've ruined TV Land. Sadly, there's nothing we can do about that, except watch a different channel, and with TV today, there are 150 channels out there to watch, not to mention our collection of DVDs and VHS tapes.

Survivor surely makes it appear as though they're in a survival course, with the promos showing tigers showing fangs, pumping up drama between the contestants, sure. it looks rather interesting to watch. but when you actually watch it, it just goes on and on with the crap plus there's no action. it's like a movie preview that seems interesting but when you get your ticket and sit down, it sucks 5 mins into it and never what you expected it to be.
They don't really want the contestants to die, but the truth is that a bad move by someone could result in danger. I'm sure they are briefed in some detail about the jungles and the animals. If you're watching the show to see interaction with wildlife, you're watching the wrong show. You need to go find a Steve Irwin rerun. Survival isn't about having run ins with critters; it's about outlasting, outwitting, and outplaying the other people.

If you like Reality TV, fine. just don't deny those few the opportunity to watch something different once in a while. as you correctly stated, some like it, some don't. it's like technology, some like being the first to have every new gadget, some see no logical sense in spending money on something they may not need.
Change the channel. As I said earlier, there's always something else one. There's a lot to choose from. You just have to pick up the remote control.

Plus reality TV is all fun until they play the same theme over and over like watching a rerun over and over. it gets old very quick.
Some people like reruns. I do know what you mean, but I don't watch every reality show. I watch my favorites, but just like ABC copies NBC who copies CBS who copies USA ... etc., the broadcast and cable networks both do what works. Right now, reality TV works, so it's not going away. It will eventually, but we're still watching.

Survivor was ok the first two times. then it got old and played out. i mean how many re-creations of Power Rangers were done? how interesting was it to see 10 spin-offs of it? same with Survivor and American Idol. after 5-10 times it is no longer new and the novelty wears off.
I have to disagree. The premise is the same, but the people and the locales are not. American Idol had an extraordinary group of contestants this season, and if you didn't watch because you thought you'd already seen it by watching Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken, boy did you miss out.

I mean in Survivor's case, it was so done that you'd see references of it show up on shows like Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius (they parodied the 'Tribal Council') and American Idol was done on All That (American Idiot, which i'd find it very interesting myself lol) and The Fairly Oddparents (Fairy Idol) and in fact AI was the most parodied recently. even on iCarly once.

That's the only reason i like Reality TV, because it gets humorously made fun of on shows i actually watch. AI is only watchable to me for Simon, since he's so honest and funny at the same time. but sadly everyone hates him. Randy Jackson is overusing ebonics IMO. and Paula is too nice.
Simon is actually very popular. He's not hated at all. It's a big game, and if you watched this season, did you notice how darn much he smiled? He was extremely happy this season. He smiled his face off. I thought that was very interesting.

Anyway, I just think you're being very judgmental. I do understand your programming frustration. I share it, but as I said at the start of this response, it's for different reasons. I want the old classic westerns back. I want cop and medical shows without blood everywhere. I don't need to see people half undressed and hear swearing to enjoy a show. I prefer not to see it, but that's not the reality of the day. I'd rather watch My Three Sons, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Emergency!, Laramie, and even Cop Rock over the shows that air in prime time today. Unfortunately, I don't own a network and I don't have billions to buy and run one. Darn -- sure wish I did, so like you, I'm just gonna have to grin and bear it, or change the channel. :}
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#12
I do understand your programming frustration. I share it, but as I said at the start of this response, it's for different reasons. ...
And that's really the crux of the issue: We all want different things. Our content and service providers aim to give each of us something that gets us to do business with them, but it is very unusual for any one person's personal preferences to be pandered to in a comprehensive manner.

As a matter of fact, the extent to which you are served is to a great extent within your control, but perhaps not in the way you might think (or hope). There is no reason to assume that content and service providers are going to structure what they offer to ensure that you personally are satisfied, but you can make the decision to expand your perspective and come to appreciate more than the comparatively narrow set of programming that you prefer, today.

It's a bit like coming to appreciate cuisines of the world: You start out just liking the food your parents made available to you. Then, you can choose to try (for example) sushi, or kimchee, or biryani, etc. Coming to appreciate jerk chicken, or shark fin soup, etc., doesn't take anything away from your appreciation of (for example) country fried steak, or lasagne, etc., but it does mean that you have a broader scope of food choices that will please you (and isn't being pleased a good part of what enjoying cuisine, or entertainment for that matter, all about?)

The same applies to other leisure contexts. In the realm of reading, I used to read, exclusively, epic fantasy, building on an appreciation fostered by my father introducing me to J. R. R. Tolkien when I was 11. Now, I enjoy reading that genre, mysteries, religious texts, high adventure, even romance novels on occasion. The fact that I appreciate more genres enhances my leisure enjoyment; it doesn't detract from it.

And it is very important to keep one's own personal preferences in their proper perspective. The fact that other people like (for example) reality television (when you don't) doesn't mean that there is something wrong with them, but rather it means that there is an opportunity for enjoying something that you are missing out on. You may not feel, or care to feel, that you're missing out on that, but you are... that's not an value judgment; that's just a statement of the reality. In order to counter that assertion, you would have to contend that people who like things that you don't like are irrational or in some other way mentally deficient, and that type of arrogant perspective is what is actually, itself, irrational.

As I indicated earlier, I have grown tired of reality programming. I stopped watching Survivor after four or five years. I stopped watching the Amazing Race after just one or two seasons. I watched Big Brother for only a few episodes. And so on. However, that is not an indictment of the people who like those shows. In light of the fact that there are programs that I end up recording and then later deleting from my DVR because I didn't have time to watch them, my lack of attention to reality programming is simply a reflection of how many other forms of entertainment I have opened myself up to appreciating. There isn't time (or need) to appreciate everything.

But (and this is the critical point), if you find yourself harboring animosity towards genres or the people who like them, because you feel that there isn't enough of what you enjoy available, then the problem is really within your own set of preferences, i.e., you appreciate too little.
 
#13
Reality shows as they say make good fun t.v. and the networks says it's much more profitable and cheaper. As the reality show get's popular the more the sponsors come in with out the big stars on the picture they might as we'll stay on reality t.v.
 
#14
I
Reality shows even take up a vast majority of paid-services like Dish Network. on channels such as TV Land, which is for those who love old TV shows, reality TV does NOT belong. the premise of a channel which revolves around a theme, such as classic television should show classic television. not reality 'new' TV.
Or like Wrestling on the Sci Fi Channel? seems odd still. But I agree with you, if Reality shows are so dominating maybe they need their own channel and people that like that can watch it all day long.

Think your right, catagory channels are getting off topic by adding other stuff, Parental Control has nothing to do with Music yet it is on MTV, whats the point then of a music channel? Whats next ANTM on History channel?
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#15
However, the objective of channels isn't to keep the programming neatly separated -- the objective of the channels are to make profit, and so if a type of programming is low cost but offers comparatively respectable revenues, every channel is going to consider obliging such programming.
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#16
However, the objective of channels isn't to keep the programming neatly separated -- the objective of the channels are to make profit, and so if a type of programming is low cost but offers comparatively respectable revenues, every channel is going to consider obliging such programming.
That's why we have to do our part to keep non profit channels like PBS in operation.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#17
That's why we have to do our part to keep non profit channels like PBS in operation.
Couldn't agree more. I can never afford their minimum membership but in the last three years watching great stuff in HD from them, I have tried to do a little.

Even buying a DVD or CD from them puts money in the stream and you have something to show.

A lot of people can't afford a $75 contribution for a DVD of a good show they saw during a promotion drive. However at their store you can buy that DVD for $29.95, which is high for DVD because some of that money goes to them. It's a cheaper way to donate.

Or just give them $5. It all adds up.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#18
That's why we have to do our part to keep non profit channels like PBS in operation.
I suspect a lot of people would consider PBS not a good candidate for their support, in that context. However, beyond that, PBS is not beyond presenting their own reality television shows (i.e., Frontier House, Colonial House, 1940s House, Manor House). And really, you can even think of This Old House as reality television, can't you?
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#19
Even buying a DVD or CD from them puts money in the stream and you have something to show. A lot of people can't afford a $75 contribution for a DVD of a good show they saw during a promotion drive. However at their store you can buy that DVD for $29.95, which is high for DVD because some of that money goes to them. It's a cheaper way to donate.
I would check on that, actually. It may be a high price for a DVD (though I dunno, it may not be), but when sold in stores, the profits may just go to the production company. Some productions are from non-profits (CTW, for example), but some are just private enterprises.

To be sure your DVD purchase is actually helping PBS, you should make your purchase from shopPBS.org - Where every purchase supports public broadcasting.
 
#20
There is a line of reality shows that are running on tv. Every thing they are doing is already scripted. They all just do what they have told and the results are also pre-decided.
 
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