Reality Television and the Effects on Society

What is Society?

Society is a group of individuals who voluntary join association that has to do with the groups common interest

also members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another

What is Reality Television?

Reality television is a section of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations documents actual events and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors and sometimes in a contest or other situation where are prize is awarded.

There are ten sub-sections of reality television:

  • Competition/games show (talent shows fall under this sub-section)
  • Dating shows
  • Documentary style shows
  • Hidden cameras shows
  • Hoaxes shows
  • Renovation shows
  • Self improvement/makeover shows
  • Social experiment show
  • Supernatural and paranormal shows
  • Talk shows


History of Reality Television

Reality television started in the 1940's with a show that today is know as the Granddaddy of reality television. Candid Camera was one of the first reality television shows where every day people would have their reaction filmed by a hidden camera to pranks that were being played on them. For the next six decades networks and producers would keep adding reality television shows, some of which still air new episodes today. The year 2000 was when reality television really took off and became as popular as it is today. Shows such as Big Brother and Survivor have made Reality Television what it is today. Currently there is hundreds of reality television shows that have aired since 1940.

A set back in ratings for reality TV shows

In September of 2001 six new reality shows aired on three different networks. The new shows aired five days before the September 11 attacks, causing the rating for the next episode that aired drop by a large amount. It was said that peopled either lost interest in the new shows (it was not until three weeks after the attacks that new episodes aired) or that people just did not want to face any type of reality for the reason for the drop in the ratings.

Negative Effects on Society

Reality television has many different effects on society such as showing members of the show drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, fighting with people for no reason what so ever, and lowers the bar for which people will do thing for money. A network that puts out a lot of shows that do put a negative effect on society is MTV. A majority of MTV's show do impact society in a negative way.
MTV is a network that targets preteens, teens and young adults with the people they cast in their shows

Showing people drinking an excessive amount of alcohol

Going out for drinks at the end of a long week is how as a society people of legal age ( or should be of legal age) unwind. Having a few drinks is not a bad thing nor is it bad to show one television but at time people on reality television show such as The Real World show the cast member abusing alcohol. What is often not seen is what happens after a night of drinking. Showing people drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has a negative effect on society because networks and producer make it seem like it is no big deal to drink massive amount of alcohol. Networks and producers even make drinking look fun to teenagers by promoting shows to an age group that is to young to even be drinking.

MTV's The Real Word often show cast members drinking until the are drunk

Fighting for no reason what so ever

One of Oxygen's hit television shows is The Bad Girls Club where self proclaimed "bad girls" all live in a house together there is not competition the girls just live in a house with one another and fight with each other for 60 minutes once a week. The Bad Girls Club as a negative effect on society because it makes girls that watch the show think that it is okay to go out and fight with anyone that gets in your way. Like the shows that do not show what happens when you drink too much The Bad Girls Club does not show what happens when you do get into a fight in public, the most that ever happens is the girls get throw out of the club or the bar they are at or if it is getting really bad members of the production crew step in and break up the fights.
Oxygen's The Bad Girls Club has a fight between girls in almost ever episode

Doing anything just to make money

There is not one person in society that would not do any just to make a few bucks. Show such as The Real World/ Road Rules Challenges will have a final challenge be very extreme and will also have it so the people competing have to complete the challenge in order to win. This puts a negative effect on society because it shows that it is okay to do anything even if it is of any harm to you.

RW/RR challenges often have people eating anything in the last challenge for a large sum of money

Positive Effect on Society

Reality television also has a positive effect on society. Shows such as The Biggest Loser, America Got Talent and Extreme Make Over Home Addition all have a positive effect on society. Shows that often have a positive effect on society usually are successful and are inspirational to those who watch them. The Biggest Loser is an example of a reality television show that is both successful and is an inspiration to the people who are watching it. Many people who aren't even on the show share there wight loss stories through the pound for pound challenge. Extreme Makeover Home Edition is an example of a success because of the amount of homes that they have done and because when the show started they wanted people to nominate people who they think needs a home made of because of what they do. There are people that come out of America's Got Talent and they become successful. With America's Got Talent it does not matter what your talent is you can do anything as where other Reality talent shows focus on one thing, usually dancing or singing. America's got Talent is a inspiration to anyone who goes on the show because it shows that no talent is too small.

The Biggest Loser is a weight loss competition show

Extreme Makeover Home Edition rebuilds homes for families that are in need of them

America's Got Talent is a talent contest