California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Is this what you call reality?

Another love struck contestant on “The Bachelor” is not getting a rose, Kim Kardashian is crying again, Abby Lee Miller is yelling at the Dance Moms and another warrior is getting voted off a tribe on “Survivor.”

Reality television is predictable yet we as a society continue to tune in every week to watch the newest installment of fabricated drama created by producers.

Research has shown that reality TV shows actually falsify our perception of what actual reality is. Professor Steven Reiss and Dr. James Wiltz of Ohio State University conducted a study about how reality TV is causing the apocalypse.

“Reality shows skew our perspective of reality. They focus solely on strange and unusual people and perpetuate stereotypes,” said California Lutheran University communication professor David Grannis, who has worked in the film industry for 18 years.

“Reality TV is so messed up because the only lives you see on TV are the ones that we find interesting because we don’t have lives like that. I find it ridiculous that people base their own realities off of shows, like the Kardashians,” said sophomore Chris Mitchell.

Reality TV shows are an intensified version of reality. They are indulgent and candid. Shows like “Big Brother,” “The Bachelor,” “Amazing Race” and “Survivor” cast real people which make these shows that much more electrifying because they are displaying human nature at an extreme form.

Having real people cast in these roles has us asking ourselves, “What would I do?”

We live vicariously through the contestants, delighting in the drama and rooting for the underdogs to take home the grand prize.

Eli Abayan, who casts contestants for reality shows such as “Big Brother,” “Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “Wipeout” and “American Idol,” just finished casting in Miami, Fla., for the upcoming season of “America’s Got Talent” and knows what producers are looking for.

“You can tell very quickly whether someone has talent or not, but the producers also want good characters for the show. There is normally one funny or interesting character to eight talented people casted for the shows.”

The way reality TV is edited plays a huge role in how we view the lives of people like the Kardashians.

Editors are able to manipulate footage and virtually re-create conversations and altercations to elevate drama and tell the story the producers want to share with the audience.

“The tape-loggers will sort through hours of film and select the most outrageous parts of the tape and that’s what they air,” Grannis said.
“It is similar to making a sports reel where you just choose the highlights from the game, it is a way of compressing reality and heightening drama in the lives of the Kardashians.”

Reality TV also provides a form of escapism. For a few hours after a long day of school, we can relax and watch the private lives of celebrities while they are humiliated or doing something glamorous we could only dream of.

We laugh with them, we sometimes cry with them, but most of all, we long to be them because their lives look better than ours.
Maybe they do have a fabulous life style, but once cameras start recording, we no longer see their true selves. The Kardashians are paid to exaggerate their personalities and portray their character roles.

“I wake up every day and thank God I am not on reality TV because their lives must be so hard and so confusing because it’s not real,” Mitchell said. “It is all scripted and every event isn’t haphazard like we want to believe. It is all fake.”

“Cage fighting is illegal yet watching people fight has become popular television. It is teaching us that violence is okay,” Grannis said,. “Making Kim Kardashian a hero is wrong, it is not the most positive improvement for society.”

Reality TV hides the seven deadly sins in a form of entertainment to make us crave these characteristics. So, maybe one day we can snap a few pictures at a photo shoot for “Girls Gone Wild” and make 12 million dollars a year like Kim Kardashian.

Reality TV has gotten out of hand and viewers need to realize the anamorphic views about life that these shows provoke.

Take Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan. Every two weeks, Jenner gets her $120 manicure, she Instagrams a photo of her six Cartier LOVE bracelets, wrap nail bangle, Cartier watch, three Cartier LOVE rings, which total to roughly $80,000. Is this really the life of a 16 year old?

Sorry reality TV, the tribe has spoken, you have been voted off the island. Please pack your knives and go.


Drew Thomas
Staff Writer
Published April 9, 2014

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