Are real­ity TV shows worth watch­ing?

Real­ity TV shows are shown to reveal the day-to-day lives of the char­ac­ters, build­ing the story over time. This genre of en­ter­tain­ment has been around for a long time. In many of these shows, “or­di­nary” peo­ple are placed in ex­otic, un­fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Eseohe Eb­hota & Ba­mas Vic­to­ria

Tele­vi­sion pro­grams show­ing or­di­nary peo­ple in un­ex­pected sit­u­a­tions are al­most as old as the tele­vi­sion it­self. And real­ity shows have not only amassed in­cred­i­ble pop­u­lar­ity but have also be­come an ob­ject of se­vere, wide-rang­ing crit­i­cism. But what are Real­ity TV shows?

Real­ity tele­vi­sion has been de­fined as “a genre of tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming that doc­u­ments sup­pos­edly un­scripted real-life sit­u­a­tions, and of­ten fea­tures an un­known cast of in­di­vid­u­als who are typ­i­cally not pro­fes­sional ac­tors, although in some shows celebrities may par­tic­i­pate.”

These TV shows seem to have taken over the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try globally - from “Keep­ing up with the Kar­dashi­ans” to “The real house­wives of At­lanta”. And lo­cally we have “Big brother Naija”, “Omo­tola, The Real Me” and many more.

With the un­end­ing lists of such shows and many more flood­ing our TV screens, it may seem that our time has been taken over as many peo­ple be­come en­grossed in watch­ing them. This at­ti­tude leaves a beg­ging ques­tion: “Are real­ity TV shows worth the time spent watch­ing them?”

A young and up­com­ing writer, TJ Ben­son, said that to him real­ity shows are a waste of time.

“You are ba­si­cally watch­ing some­one else’s real­ity, which wouldn’t be a waste if you were an alien.”

He added that he doesn’t watch real­ity shows be­cause “you are hu­man like these peo­ple whose ev­ery­day lives you are watch­ing, so you ba­si­cally stop your ev­ery­day life to live theirs.”

Ala­sooke Omo Olakunle, a young grad­u­ate, said “I don’t think that real­ity TV is ac­tu­ally worth the time spent on it. Some­how, I have a feel­ing that though they call it “real­ity” it is not re­ally dif­fer­ent from the next TV se­ries. Ex­cept of course that most TV se­ries are more en­ter­tain­ing and mind ex­er­cis­ing than the av­er­age real­ity show.”

Ala­sooke while il­lus­trat­ing her stance said “Take ‘Keep­ing up with the Kar­dashi­ans’ for ex­am­ple. We re­ally have no busi­ness know­ing so much about those peo­ple. Their lives aren’t that in­spir­ing and def­i­nitely not en­ter­tain­ing. I hate to sound like a hater but the truth is that none of the Kar­dashi­ans ac­tu­ally have any spe­cific tal­ents. Beauty is not so rare that theirs would be made so much of a big deal. And their lives have a touch of de­pres­sion that any­one with a keen mind can dis­cern.”

She how­ever said she used to watch Real­ity TV shows. “At first I loved to watch them but with time, I grew to dis­like all that fak­e­ness. And these days I go months with­out even both­er­ing to check.”

Dr. Kema An­thony Onu told LIFEX­TRA that he doesn’t watch real­ity TV Shows. “It’s about in­ter­est. I guess I don’t find such shows in­ter­est­ing.”

Adam Rauscher, who iden­ti­fied him­self as a TV pro­fes­sional, wrote in a fo­rum why the

in­dus­try keeps churn­ing out real­ity TV shows. “In gen­eral, there are a lot of real­ity shows be­cause they are cheap for the net­works. Peo­ple fea­tured on the show are paid less than ac­tors. There are no writ­ers and the ex­tra ed­i­tors make less than writ­ers do. Noth­ing re­quires mul­ti­ple takes. The cam­era and sound peo­ple make less from real­ity work than they do for al­most any­thing else.”

Carl Hart­man, who also iden­ti­fied him­self as a real­ity TV pro­ducer in the same fo­rum, gave two rea­sons why peo­ple watch it. He said first of all peo­ple iden­tify with the char­ac­ters and sec­ondly peo­ple feel like they could be that char­ac­ter.

David Ste­wart in an on­line fo­rum said “Peo­ple want to see a real­ity TV show as soon as pos­si­ble and en­joy be­ing part of the com­mu­nal ex­pe­ri­ence. They want to talk about it on twit­ter and Face­book and dis­cuss it at work or school the next day. They want to watch it live and feel like they’re part of some­thing.”

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