Reality television provides unrealistic, but melodramatic, escape from real life

Reality television provides unrealistic, but melodramatic, escape from real life

This is a snapshot of the title card used in the MTV reality series, Jersey Shore. We do not have the rights to this picture.

Reality television is a popular genre on television today. Although such shows air throughout the day, primetime is the most notable.

Primetime shows include “Jersey Shore,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Real World” and “Wipeout.” These shows often portray the lives of people who show their luxurious, ridiculous and dramatic lives which thrive on drama, obnoxious behavior or exaggerated situations. Reality shows do not give young viewers any sense of realism. Viewers are drawn to these types of shows for one reason: drama.

Reality shows can be defined as shows that are not scripted. In these shows, people usually use their own names supposedly in real homes or work. Reality shows also include cooking, home-improvement and talk shows.

Reality shows prove not only to be extremely popular with viewers but with creators and producers. Reality shows are inexpensive to produce because there is no need for screenwriters or professional talent. There is no “acting” although there is acting out. Reality shows save money. Creators can virtually pick regular people to star in them; the only job is to act like themselves. Producers merely have to put the characters into an environment that allows them to create their own drama.

The lure of reality shows is no myth. Teenagers eagerly await new episodes of such shows each week and constantly talk about what happened in prior episodes. Increasing drama and various scandals attract more viewers. The need to know more about what has happened becomes addictive.