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Reality Television Definition and Impact Essay

Beautiful Mind

The article is about the nobility of scientific or investigative television shows, such as “CSI” and “Numb3rs”. The author first notes that most of these shows do not reflect reality, professional work because their scientists are too good-looking and efficient. Nonetheless, most of them are able to look past people’s superficialities in order to get to the truth. In a world driven by emotion, rage, and misjudgments, scientists stand for objectivity, justice, and truth. They have the capacity to defend wrongly accused persons or protect victims of crimes. These TV programs demonstrate the dignity of scientific work and thus cause audiences to respect the profession.

No Balloon? The point, Click, get on TV

Brian Stelter sheds some light on an aspect of reality television that many viewers may not know about; talent scouting. Given the country’s obsession with reality shows, it is necessary to have a platform where directors can easily find potential contestants. Online websites such as “RealityWanted” and “GotCast” arose to fill this gap in the market. One of the proprietors wanted to do reality TV but could not find ready information on casting calls. Consequently, he decided to start a business that would assist people with a similar need. The entrepreneur and others like him got enthusiastic responses from the public as well as reality TV directors. This match-making industry is indispensable to some producers, but executives from certain genres of reality TV prefer to do their own talent searches.

Reality TV at 10 – How it changed television and us

In this insightful article, the author wanted to explain why reality television was extraordinary. He believes that, unlike ordinary network-series, reality shows always challenge people’s stereotypes about others; a case in point was a gay minister and his bisexual son in “Amazing Race”. Additionally, they let people see different sides of American culture, such as, homeschoolers who swapped mums with a totally different family.

The public can learn something new about jobs that scripted TV producers would never portray. Garbage sorters and truck drivers are just some of the many examples. In addition, reality TV reflects certain American values, such as, becoming successful regardless of one’s past and putting honesty before discretion.

Society’s storyteller: How television creates the myths by which we live

According to the author of this article, television is the biggest storyteller in the world. It is the means with which society socializes people into a common culture. Television watching is a ritual that defines many people’s daily routines. It institutionalizes members of society by placing decision-making powers in the hands of a few Hollywood producers. Furthermore, TV brings divergent people together; people in the mainstream stay in that position while outcasts get a glimpse into the lives of famous and powerful people. It also acts as an instrument of socialization for children. People are powerless against television because it is ubiquitous; nonetheless, they can make wise choices about how to use it healthily.

Watching TV makes you smarter

Contrary to popular opinion, the author of this article believes that television can make audiences smarter. He explains that, just like print, television develops certain skills that make the brain smarter. It teaches one to weed out irrelevant information and focus on what matters. Additionally, complex narratives teach people how to understand complex networks in real life. They also cause individuals to understand the management of resources as well as decision-making processes.

This stems from decades of exposing audiences to multithreaded shows and scripts. The author urges parents to think of television as a tool for growth, both for their children and themselves. However, to achieve this goal, parents should select programs that emphasize critical thinking (Survivor, 24) over violence and obscenities.

Gender and racial stereotypes depicted through TV

The writer explains that television creates stereotypes implicitly and explicitly. One such stereotype is gender; an overrepresentation of men exists on TV, so their worldview is the dominant one. Most male characters are diverse and complex while females tend to have fewer options.

This creates a stereotype about beauty and femininity. As a result, girls and women are now insecure about their looks. TV shows also perpetuate stereotypes about race; most Asian men are overachievers and emotionless while their female counterparts are hypersexualized and submissive. African Americans are usually violent and unintelligent while Arab men often play the role of terrorists or filthy rich characters. These stereotypes prevent audiences from truly getting to understand their world.

Analysis of Susan Bole on Britain’s got Talent

The video chosen for analysis is Susan Boyle’s first audition on “Britain’s Got Talent”. It begins with a backstage, mini-interview of the forty-seven-year-old. The two hosts ask her about her personal life; at this point, she reveals that she is single and has never been married or kissed. The warm-hearted contestant then walks to the stage and responds to a few questions from the judges. At this point, Boyle seems confident about herself, yet the audience does not buy this act.

Many of them sneer and roll their eyes at her, but she remains relentless. They seem to think she is too old, unattractive, and underdressed for the show. The listeners change their opinion about Susan as soon as she starts singing. One can barely hear her through the loud cheering and excitement in the audience. The judges admit that Boyle was the biggest surprise they had ever seen on the show, and they unanimously give her a nod to go through the next round.

As James Poniewozik explains in his article “Reality TV at 10- How it changed television and us”, reality TV gives viewers a nuanced and less stereotypical portrayal of others. The same thing took place on Britain’s got talent; Susan Boyle did not represent society’s understanding of superstars. She was old, according to industry standards, and seemingly unattractive. To prove that these perceptions were true, one only had to read the audience’s reaction when she walked onto the podium. Susan Boyle had defied the youth culture that had pervaded the music industry when she performed. It startled viewers that someone so simple could sing so extraordinarily.

She illustrated that anyone could reach for their dreams regardless of their age or their appearance. Her story challenged people to look beyond the external and focus on what they can find inside. Poniewozik explains that reality shows teach people key values, such as the power of reinventing oneself. They give everyone a chance to make it regardless of what their past had been. These shows shake people’s prejudices and challenge them not to cling to old and outdated notions of success.

Many people could identify with the struggles that Boyle had encountered in her life prior to the show. Viewers around the world empathized with all her wasted years and their inability to hear her music until 2009.

Since Susan was jobless, she certainly struggled financially and probably handled numerous frustrations. These are all aspects that resonated with viewers and caused them to love her. Poniewozik adds that, on reality TV, one can find something fascinating about people who are not on mainstream television. It is highly unlikely that Boyle would have gotten such a chance from conventional music producers, but this reality show proves that ordinary people have something distinct and should be given a chance.

On the flip side, of this story is the notion of consumerism and how it affects western cultures. As George Garbner explains in “Society’s storyteller: How television creates the myths by which we live”, the public cannot hide from the power of TV because it embeds all viewers into the mainstream. Television socializes individuals and defines what is acceptable or not. Part of Susan Boyle’s appeal was the fact that she did not represent mainstream ideas.

Her class, age, and appearance were disadvantageous to her. The audience got those ideas from the media or television, specifically. While Boyle’s story has a fairytale-like quality to it, it is an exception and not a rule in the music industry. Most contestants succumb to the dictates of Hollywood producers because doing so would propagate the consumer culture that these bigwigs depend on. Even Susan Boyle yielded to these demands by undergoing a total makeover. She changed her hair, wore makeup, and upgraded her wardrobe. Boyle endorsed products for several companies and thus became part of the machinery that fuels consumerism in western culture.

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IvyPanda. (2021, February 21). Reality Television Definition and Impact. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/reality-television-definition-and-impact/

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"Reality Television Definition and Impact." IvyPanda, 21 Feb. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/reality-television-definition-and-impact/.

1. IvyPanda. "Reality Television Definition and Impact." February 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reality-television-definition-and-impact/.


IvyPanda. "Reality Television Definition and Impact." February 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reality-television-definition-and-impact/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Reality Television Definition and Impact." February 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reality-television-definition-and-impact/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Reality Television Definition and Impact'. 21 February.

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