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Opinion

Reality television misses out on the reality

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April 9, 2009

In America right now, the biggest thing that people have to take their minds off of the current state of their lives is, has been, and probably always will be television.

Currently, the biggest thing that garners the attention of people is programs that are based within “reality.” These programs are misnamed, as obviously if there weren’t a camera present, the events that viewers see would never happen, but there is still the real aspect that the people shown on camera aren’t actors but real people. I contend that even though these programs feature real people in controlled situations, the audience still doesn’t get even a shred of reality.

First off, for those of you not in on the way television and film are made, the entire production the audience sees is controlled by the creators. Yes, what we see did really happen at a certain point, but what else has happened that the audience isn’t seeing?

In shows such as “Survivor,” the producers of the show go through all the footage they have gathered and select storylines for the actual broadcast of the show.

The cold-hearted bitch that the people see might not actually be that bad most of the time, but only the footage of her acting like that is selected. This situation is one of the most commonly occurring in shows such as “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and “The Real World.” It is not reality when someone decides what is going to be shown rather than be completely objective.

In other shows, such as “American Idol,” the entire show is a complete sham as it would never happen in real life. Not a single person who is on that show would or could have gotten a record contract in reality.

Plenty of people have good singing voices, but if everyone was willing to work as hard as most people are to break into the music industry, this show would not exist. These people got lucky and were chosen to be given a chance to win their dreams on what is essentially an over-glamorized game show. Not to be unfair about its popularity, I understand the concept proves to be quite entertaining, but is not a real thing.

Having shot enough videos of me and my friends before, I have come to see that no one acts exactly like they normally do when there is a camera around. When almost everyone acts for the camera when it’s supposed to be a representation of reality, doesn’t that make it not real at all? When people see a camera they generally start acting, that’s just the way it is, and it adds just another level of non-authenticity to these shows.

Am I mad at these people who get selected to be on the show, or those who create the show for these things?

Not at all.

I am however upset that most people don’t understand that what they are watching and saying is real, is in fact the product of controlled situations and outside influence from the creators of the show and those who appear on it.

So, if these shows are what are able to distract you from what is going on in your own life, good for you. However, just realize that what you are watching is in fact just as loaded with reality as Harry Potter.

Nathan Piotrowski is a digital film and television major with a film studies minor. In his spare time, he attempts to be a professional lottery winner.