Reality Television – America Now Watches Reality TV and Admits It
by: Janice A. Karp
When the first Reality TV Shows aired, like Survivor, American Idol, and Big Brother, viewers didn’t know what to make of it and were very critical of the participants. We thought, who would want to be stranded on an island without food and water and be eaten alive by mosquitoes? And after enduring that torture there was the chance of being ostracized during a ritual called tribal council.
America saw millions of people waiting on very long lines in rainy, snowy, and cold conditions for a chance to audition for a singing competition called American Idol. Their challenge would be a man named Simon Cowell who would eat them alive like the mosquitoes on Survivor if they didn’t live up to his expectations.
America’s Next Top Model was soon to follow which highlights beautiful young woman who have dreams to be models. They go through grueling days beginning at the crack of dawn filled with challenges. A panel of judges that includes Tyra Banks who developed the program, critiques their photos, speech and runway walks. Sometimes the comments are so harsh, the contestants begin to have self-doubt and lose their winning spirit.
As time went on we started to embrace Reality television. We now understand that we are watching human beings who have dreams and goals, and want to challenge themselves to be stronger individuals. Criticizing actually validates what they are doing, because it’s easier to criticize others than to admit something is missing in your own life. Unfulfilled dreams and challenges are worse than TRYING and not winning.
So as we own up to our insecurities we watch couples in The Amazing Race conquer the world and test their physical and mental limits. We fall in love with the young men and woman who sing so brilliantly on American Idol. We watch Survivor and root for the honest, hard working competitor who uses the power of their mind and strength in their soul to win a million dollars. The reality show If You Think You Can Dance shows us amazing talent beyond the years of young dancers. We can feel their passion while watching them glide, jump, tap, flip, and pirouette across the floor. And it’s difficult to not be moved by a young girl who lives in a bad neighborhood, and endures a rough life that is gorgeous and wins a modeling contract with the best agency in the world.
Today we aren’t embarrassed to say we watch Reality TV. We should only be ashamed when we stay on the couch in the safety of our own home and don’t take chances to show the world what we have to offer.