Analysis of Reality Television: The Real Moments Captured

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The average American audience only goes so far before watching a variation of reality television. While there are many genres, it is best defined as capturing ‘real life’ moments on camera for consumers’ entertainment. This is achieved through constant filming, catching every second, and every moment: both good and bad.

A very popular form of reality television is lifestyle. The Home and Garden channel, also known as HGTV, is a channel that showcases buying homes, selling homes, and improving homes. There are many different shows, like ‘Property Brothers’ or ‘Flip or Flop’, and although they have their differences, each thirty-minute episode works in a similar way. On ‘Property Brothers’, the twins, Drew and Jonathan, assist in finding, buying, and transforming houses into their client’s dream home. Together, they must convince their clients that in order to get their ultimate dream home, fixer-uppers are the best option. Throughout the episode, it shows the entirety of the remodel down to the initial plans, problems they may run into during demolition, and finally, the finished product when revealed to the owners. ‘Flip or Flop’ is complementary to ‘Property Brothers’, however, they renovate houses solely for profit. Hosts of ‘Flip or Flop’, Tarek and Christina, buy foreclosures or auction houses that may be sight unseen, which comes with its own problems for renovations. Their goal is to buy for a low price, renovate, and sell for top-dollar. Almost always, an obstacle arises, whether that be foundation issues or an unpermitted structure that will need to be taken down, which may cause many more repercussions. No matter, the project makes its way back on course to the first open house. There, they show off the house to possible buyers. At the end of each episode, they conclude with their result: a flip, a success, or a flop, a bust. This genre of reality television displays the reality of real estate and remodels.

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Another form of reality television is competition, but more specifically, food competition. One show in particular, ‘Chopped’, on Food Network, is a cooking competition between four chefs to earn prize money. The chefs must showcase their talents to the judges, but there is a twist: they are required to use the ingredients provided in the mystery basket, which may consist of anything from popcorn jelly beans to a liver. The mystery element of the ingredients allows for many problems to emerge. There are three rounds: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Each round has time limits, which also creates a fast-paced and hectic environment and after the end of each round, one chef is eliminated. Sometimes this can create drama between competitors, which is most definitely caught on camera. At the end of the dessert round, when only one chef remains, they are declared the Chopped Champion and walk away with a win and prize money. Another show, ‘Cake Boss’, on TLC, is about a family-owned bakery, mainly run by Buddy Valastro, that makes both, wedding and specialty cakes. The cakes are extremely intricate with designs so big there is a chance it might not fit in the delivery truck. One of the most elaborate cakes was a birthday cake for Buddy’s son, Carlo, and it was over six feet tall and six feet wide. With a large number of complicated orders every day, there may be a few mix ups with cake deliveries here and there, and with its being family-owned and run, there are also tensions while working. The show features several cake orders per episode. Just like reality, it is stressful.

Another example of reality television is with transformation or self-improvement. With a world population of more than seven billion people, there are some interesting characters with unusual clothing choices and serious problems. Two shows that feature these are ‘What Not to Wear’, on TLC, and ‘Hoarders’, on A&E Network. Each episode of ‘What Not to Wear’ is drastically different from the other because of the number of different personalities that appear on the show, but the outline is relatively the same. The show selects a contestant who is nominated by friends and family for a fashion intervention. The contestant is offered $5000 to buy a new and improved wardrobe, but only if they will dispose completely of their existing clothes. The hosts and fashion advisors, Kelly and Clinton, help revise the contestants’ appearance with the help of hair and makeup advisors. In the end, they also help the contestant find confidence in themselves. The other example is ‘Hoarders’. This show highlights the pack-rats of the world. These people struggle with getting rid of even the simplest item and before they know it, they are buried alive. Each episode is an hour long and features two people in over their heads – sometimes literally – and they work the hoarder through freeing them from their junk. Most of these people are facing serious consequences, such as eviction or loss of custody, if they do not get it together.

An additional genre of reality tv is dating game shows, such as ‘The Bachelorette’ or ‘Bachelor in Paradise’. ‘The Bachelorette’ focuses on an eligible woman and 25 potential romantic interests. Each season features a new bachelorette and suitors. They all stay in a mansion and throughout the show, the bachelorette goes on a series of dates and adventures with each guy. When it is time to eliminate candidates, the bachelorette presents a rose to each man she decides will continue on the show and those who do not receive a rose have been asked to leave. An elimination ceremony takes place at the end of every episode to decrease the dating pool. At the end of the season during the final rose ceremony, one of the two final suitors proposes to her. If she accepts, they will most likely air the wedding. If not, they can either choose to continue their relationship or break-up. ‘The Bachelorette’ is very competitive and sometimes fights breakout between candidates and with constant filming, the audience does not miss a thing. ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ is different, but similar in the fact that all the contestants are rejected contestants from previous ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’ seasons. There is an uneven number to men and women on the isolated island, so competition for a relationship is heightened. After each episode, two women without a rose are sent home. As relationships begin to stabilize, two men or women will join the cast. This attacks current relationships and causes jealousy between competitors. Every week, two people that do not receive roses are asked to leave. This aspect keeps you on your toes with the many different relationships and constant shuffling. The season ends with the goal of the couple getting engaged and finding their love.

Reality television is displayed through many genres, including lifestyle, self-improvement, and competition, but all depict some sort of reality. Reality isn’t perfect and everyone knows that. There are both good and bad moments, just like life, and that just happens to be exactly what is captured on reality television.

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Analysis of Reality Television: The Real Moments Captured. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from
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