Posted by: Shekhah | October 15, 2012

The Reality in Reality TV

Reading the O’Shaughnessy chapter about reality TV and the criticisms of these shows from an idealistic perspective makes me want to highlight some positive views that weren’t mentioned.

First of all, as a fan of reality TV, I don’t think there are any viewers who would claim that the shows are 100% true. We see the participants with a microphone. We know it is at a studio with an entire studio crew following them all the time, so they are not really fooling us. However, there is a certain amount of reality that we can identify with which is the most important.

Characterizing reality TV as a cultural dumbing-down, escapism and an ideology of competition, as described in the book, is not totally fair. These shows represent the reality we live in every day in our society. It reflects our life with its ugliness and beauty. Are not we competing every day and fighting to win and be better people, no matter who we are?

Besides, some shows have actually contributed to build a better society. In the Arab world, for example, the Emirati show “Million’s Poet” has been seen as a way to unite people and revive the great tradition of reciting poetry. Young men and women compete to be the most talented poet and win over a million dollars.

Can reality TV shows be used as a tool to solve communication problems? Can it solve society’s issues? Can it bridge the gap between the East and the West? 

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