The entertainment field has lately experienced a storming phase as various captivating programs have hit the TV stations. You could hear friends shouting “it’s time to meet the big brother” or “My American idol is on now,” among many other programs. This would mark the end of whatever activity being undertaken and subsequent rush to keep time and not to miss that favorite TV program. Everything has to be stopped and my friends have to be among many other millions who will be sitting in front of a TV set hopefully and eagerly waiting for the program of choice to be aired. They have developed a craving for these programs and have gradually become addicted to them.
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Reality shows started back in 1992 with MTV’s “The real world.” Later, other programs like Temptation Island, Who wants to marry my dad, Big Brother Africa, Blind date, and The fear factor among others followed. Consequently, dating games, contests, and other programs depicting people performing their normal daily chores are on the increase, only that every new one is more outrageous than the previous ones.
It follows that millions of people watch and promptly follow through these programs with thousands of others applying to be on the shows or part of the show. On the same note, it is that these popular shows have an effect on the way we think about privacy, money, fame, drama, and the way we value the above-mentioned aspects of life. These programs in a way are attractive. The viewers follow through and eventually cannot be separated from the program.
There are several reasons why viewers usually get addicted to reality TV shows. First, the aspect of them being real is attractive. The viewers feel like the actors are just in the same scenario as them and every development is a success to both the actor and his viewer.
Secondly, the viewers link the drama with their daily events but to the viewer, the drama is more interesting because they just watch other people deal with the daily life challenges and somehow the viewers get to learn something from it. Thirdly, there is just a general atmosphere of anxiety and suspense, to some viewers. They get more attached to the program because actors reveal their most protected secrets. As the drama’s plot advances, some performer is either unfaithful, gay or has a disease. This temporal excitement and the general curiosity of the next happening make reality shows a big catch. Moreover, some viewers feel that reality TV drama shows create tension within the group and give them something to look up to, something to watch. ( )
In the contemporary world, people have prioritized fame more and more. In addition, being a celebrity and having money has been given a higher place as compared to privacy, dignity, and genuineness. These aspects hold truth to both the viewers and the drama participants. Beating in mind in theory, everyone can become a star. Reality TV shows turn an ordinary person into a celebrity or a rich guy hence increasing the appeal.
In addition, the addiction people have on reality TV shows seems to be bonded by a glimmer of hope which resembles that which we have when we enter a draw for a lottery game.
People keep high expectations and inwardly keep whispering, “It might be me.” This is because each day participants are aired in the reality show, they are a step closer to achieving the American dream. It does not matter what they do to achieve this, they could be wrapping dangerous snakes around their neck, or even catching fast-flying bullets from a gun in their mouth, or pulling a nine-tonne track with their tongue, they are achieving something and that is that matters that the end of the day.
Professor Steven Reiss of Ohio university press argues that “reality shows send a message that ordinary people have the potential to be so important that hundreds of thousands of viewers have to watch them. The main thrill in all these viewers is that perhaps it’s them who will be the new celebrities next time.”
On the other hand, some viewers are addicted to reality shows because they use them to measure their morality. They associate some reality programs with shame and are glad because they don’t have to sink to the participant’s level to become famous. Moreover, they use reality shows to gain a feeling of superiority, and that they are far much better than those eager to do anything just for a short-lived period of fame.
Another critique of reality shows and their effects on viewers, Collin, states that “This reality shows satisfy people’s needs especially need for sanitized gossip, peeping tomism and the pathetic desire to feel superior. In other words, they crave the scandals, the back talking, and the nosiness and find satisfaction to these cravings by watching reality shows as well as being able to consider themselves as above such behavior.
Every happening, event, or program aired has attached merits and demerits. One of the merits of reality shows is that to some extent, it acts as a motivating factor to some people when they realize that you do not need to have special abilities to make it in life. On the other hand, the same reality shows lead to the devaluation of some moral virtues in society, such as privacy. Reality shows like “Big Brother” have no regard for personal privacy in one’s personal affairs.
Everything one does from helping himself to showering is broadcasted on national TV and seen by all and sundry. Surveillance cameras monitor every second of your life and if you happen to move out of your premises, a camera crew follows you to your hometown, job, dating, and venue. In short, one seriously has to undervalue his privacy in order to participate in this kind of show.