Thoughts on Why Reality Television Is Fake and Damaging

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Reality TV is a type of genre that includes ordinary people being filmed unscripted. It is designed to be more for entertaining purposes. Often the cast are ordinary people and not your typical famous casts like the majority of other television shows. The word reality means that things are seen how they actually are instead of them being faked, or altered. However, reality television is not always as real as it is made out to be. There have been various different reports about how parts of shows have been staged or filmed more than once to make them more interesting, or to create an audience reaction. So, how much truth is there in the claim that reality television shows are fake and are really just staged programs like all other scripted shows?

Editing can be classed as an art and is not an easy job. In reality shows it is one of the most important parts. The shows are not completely edited but most parts of them are. For example, editors or the film crew could ask people on the shows to re-film what they just did or said with more energy or emotion. They want it to be more dramatic to gain more viewers and make people want to carry on watching the show. The editors sometimes ask for scenes to be re-filmed as they need it to be shorter to be able to fit that scene into a particular episode. The editors are the people who make the final decision with what they actually include and what they cut out in the episode. They keep the parts which include the most drama or conflict as that is what the audience wants to see. They do not want to see all the boring parts which the editors choose to cut out of every show. Cutting out details is not always a matter of choice, as it is also related to the time scale. They can only fit so much into each episode.

Ordinary people going onto a reality show do not always know how they are meant to act or respond to the film crews. This is where reality coaches come into help. Coaches can be helpful in the sense that they give the people on the show advice about how to be themselves, but some coaches will teach you to act completely different and act like someone who you are not. Some coaches will turn some of the kindest, caring people into the complete opposite. People on these shows go along with it as they could be at risk of being replaced if they do not follow the advice from the coaches. Some producers will guilt trick the people into acting and saying certain things as it will bring in more money and could even bring in extra seasons or episodes than were planned.

Not everything you see on reality shows is real. You are led to believe that this sort of shows is unscripted life in the house, or on the island, as it happened. This is false! Some shows are partly scripted and others are re-filmed with scripts as it is not going the way they wanted it to go or they just do not like what they have previously filmed. The American based show ‘Storage Wars’ is actually scripted. One of the previous contestants, Dave Hester, made a report that when he was on the show parts of it were scripted. The crew on set would actually have bought the units before they started filming the show. They added extra items into the different units. An online source confirms this by saying that they “would purchase multiple units in bulk and then plant valuable items into the ones that their characters won”. The crew would also try to push the contestants to have arguments and fights with each other.

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Reality shows love to humiliate their guests or contestants in various of ways. The level of humiliation changes throughout the series in an attempt to maintain or boost ratings. Most of the time they are completely forgotten about but some incidents are more hilarious and are still spoken about. Various shows set up different things to humiliate their cast or guests. For example, ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ does not try to embarrass their cast purposely. Instead, part of the show includes doing different challenges which vary from being funny and hilarious to being disgusting and gross. “Eating camel penis on TV is just about as degrading as it gets”, said an online source by BT TV news says. This is an example of one of the many challenges which they end up having to do. The contestants only do it as it will boost their chances of winning the show. However, in other shows, such as ‘Geordie Shore’, it is not the crew which embarrass the cast but the cast themselves by getting too drunk and doing stupid things. Again, though, we have to question the morality of supplying free drink to people and then filming their drunken antics.

Many people question whether you actually get paid being on a reality show. The answer is yes. The pay on these shows is not the best but this is due to the fact that most reality shows have a money prize at the end for the lucky winning person. For cooking shows such as ‘Come Dine with Me’, they are given £125 to spend on food. Abby Robinson, a journalist for Digital Spy, said there is a “£1,000 cash prize”. When it comes to dating shows, Abby Robinson says that they are given “£50 towards their meal. Throw in a bottle of wine and a couple of desserts”. In reality £50 is not that much between two people when it comes to dining out. For a big show like ‘Love Island’ you would expect that the people on the show would receive a good pay. They usually only get around £200 a week. That is barely anything when you think about the amount of hours they are filming each day. When it comes to ‘Love Island’ the main pay is really the holiday abroad to find love. The ‘reality’ here is that for some people just getting to be on television is the same as getting paid.

Problems with reality shows are that many young girls and boys believe the fact they are not unscripted or re-filmed when in reality it is mostly fake. Such shows leave impressions on young girls and boys, but especially girls in awful ways. The shows can make girls feel self-conscious as they believe that you need to look like what you see on television. They make you think that to make money on television you need to have the ‘perfect’ body, but in reality, there is no such thing as ‘perfect’: everyone is perfect in their own individual way. The culture these shows promotes also encourages many young people think it is a part of life to gossip about each other: this can’t be right and these shows simply manipulate young people into thinking that this is all part of normal life.

Overall, in conclusion, when watching reality shows viewers should be aware that everything that they see or hear is not actually reality. Most reality shows are not broadcast live because they are edited with the help of an editor. The editors can manipulate the way in which people are perceived and this is not always in a good light. It is also shown that the belief that people taking part are earning huge amounts of money is also incorrect, as the reality is that it is the production companies who are making the money, at times, at the expense of the contestants.

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Thoughts on Why Reality Television Is Fake and Damaging. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Thoughts on Why Reality Television Is Fake and Damaging.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
Thoughts on Why Reality Television Is Fake and Damaging. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
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