Jersey Shore and other raunchy shows make reality TV look bad

Melanie Roberts

The reality TV debate causes people to question whether it is harmless entertainment or taking part in corrupting our society.

Reality television has become a guilty pleasure in our culture.It taps into an animalistic desire for sex, violence, and emotional investment in the lives of others. Many are fascinated with it, because it is relatable to the average person. It often shows everyday problems and issues.

The genre is simple minded for sure and immensely cheaper to produce than shows like HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” or AMC’s “Mad Men.”

The top networks that have tapped into the reality TV market are, Bravo, A&E, E!, VH1, and MTV.

When many people hear the words “reality television,” they automatically pair the idea with shows like “Jersey Shore,” “16 and Pregnant,” and “Teen Mom,” that air on MTV.

My mind immediately wanders to the way in which those shows has become a form of entertainment that is both trashy and lowers the IQ of our society.

Shows like these give reality TV a bad rap, because they often promote bad habits and moral choices.

The shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” started off with good intentions of showing young girls the hardships of being a young mother, and the extra struggles they will have to endure. However, it seems to have had the opposite effect.

With the popularity of the shows among teenagers, many girls see how the teenage mothers from the show appear in the tabloids and some are even on the cover of magazines.

This seeps ideas into their heads that if they become teen mothers, they too can be famous. They ignore realities of single-parenthood, lower the quality of life in themselves and their children. This also decreases their likelihood of going to college, or even graduating from high school. Ironically, this is the result of a “reality” TV show.

Despite shows like these, not all reality television negatively affects our society.

Like myself, many forget shows like Survivor, Project Runway, and Top Chef, which give average people the opportunity to work hard for an end prize.

Shows like these demonstrate that if you work hard and have determination, anything is possible.

Some may argue that these type of shows are scripted and they often have a winner chosen from the beginning, but at least they have a positive message. The main themes are not focused on alcoholism, incessant partying and tanning, and unintelligent conversation, like Jersey Shore.

Another key aspect of reality TV, is the inside look into the lives of celebrities. With shows like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the draw of viewers is that they are able to see how celebrities live and function in a home environment.

While often parts of these shows are scripted, it still draws people in to see the latest drama happening with these celebrities.

In fact, E! television network has made a huge profit off of this market, with shows like “Kendra, Holly’s World,” “Kourtney and Kim take New York,” and “Khloe and Lamar.”

Parents feel by watching reality television programming, the judgments of our youth are being blurred and it is causing them to do things that used to be considered taboo. They feel their teenagers are participating in activities they wouldn’t normally, as a way to imitate their favorite reality stars.

I do agree that it is slightly dumbing down our society, however I feel most parents need something to blame their children’s bad behavior on besides themselves, and it’s moved from video games to reality TV.

Instead of looking at their own family dynamic or holding their children accountable for their actions, they blame the latest popular media source.

Reality TV is not the most intellectual genre of television programming. It doesn’t help increase IQ or sophistication in their viewers, but it certainly is not forcing people into participating in any worse behavior then they would have most likely done anyway.


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