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Reality TV: The Nadir of TV

Updated on June 23, 2009

Firstly let me confess that I have not really watched a lot of reality TV shows, (I have not been able to sit thru any one single episode) but what I have seen of this genre of TV programming has convinced me that reality TV is the nadir or lowest point of TV and caters to the lowest common denominator. It is this kind to TV that helps people feed their voyeuristic instincts. These shows are an attempt to grab eyeballs by showcasing the real life trials and tribulations of people, and distressingly successful they are too.

I think that a lot of these shows cross the line over into exploitation when you have a show like Biggest Loser Wins: take a bunch of morbidly obese people, perhaps with self esteem and body image issues, most likely desperate to lose weight, and then set them goals and targets, then follow them around like a blood hound, pouncing on all the emotional highs, lows, outbursts, tears, disagreements, petty jealousies, hostility that would inevitably develop from an artificial situation such as this. This kind of show exploits people’s preoccupation, even obsession with size and weight issues, the sense of failure of elation felt by the participants who have perhaps knowingly or perhaps misguidedly put themselves into this situation.

Another show is Big Brother, which seems to bear out the premise postulated in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad about the basic negativity in man’s nature.

Perhaps my lack of knowledge of these shows is making me overly critical and perhaps there is something to recommend them? People may argue that these shows are also about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity; a show case for the goodness of mankind as well.

But the camera seems to linger too long on the tears, focus too sharply on the squabbles and hostilities, pays too much attention to the personal failings and inadequacies to convince me. These shows, to me, smack too much of getting satisfaction from other people’s problems and shortcomings and perhaps deriving some sense of self righteous superiority when you see others in unenviable situations. Or perhaps it is about people deriving some solace from the fact that others have problems like mine too.

I also have serious doubts at how well the tears, the fights and the dramatic moments seem to appear at just the right times; from what I hear about these shows; they are a little bit too pat; leading me to wonder if there isn't perhaps script writer who is part of the proceedings.

The phenomenal success of these shows is, to me, a strong social indictment and leaves me wondering if I am only a miniscule minority who thinks so.


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    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      LOL, news and cricket for me; and whatever films I can lay my hands on. Am going to check out netflix to see how I can rent films now.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I agree wholeheartedly. Survivor and Temptation Island are the only ones I ever saw and that was enough for me. I only watch the News & Baseball. And I have rented 3500 films from Netflix!

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks Dame Scribe!

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      I quite agree. I have my own problems and life why would I want to bother with somebody else's. I often where wonder where people's heads are at too with them shows, lol. Great Hub, RD :)

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      What a lot of fellow feeling... Am feeling quite vindicated!

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      No, you are not alone. I am completely fed up with reality shows. They are mostly offensive to me, focus on unhealthy issues for the most part, and are popular due to our voyeuristic inclinations. They are an abomination. Great hub.

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      You are right; crashing bore!

    • bala99 profile image

      Bala Subrahmanyam Vishnubhotla 8 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

      Dunno! Seems to be the Zenith of boredom.

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      No no, THANKS for the rant. I am glad that others think the way I do; because I find many of these shows actually repugnant.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      No, you aren't the only one - since the inception of Survivor - I have avoided the reality TV shows like the plague, yet the majority of my friends were hooked...I can't understand the phenomenon myself. Maybe it's because I don't have the patience or time to spend watching these people show us how important all this stuff is, but whatever the reason, these shows are not for me.

      I like to think I have more important things to do (like writing lol) than waste my time staring vacuously at a show that insidiously reinforces the importance of social drama. (sorry for the rant lol)