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Do You Care if Reality Shows Are Real?

Do You Care If Reality TV Is Real or Not?

It's pretty commonplace today to hear griping about the amount of truth in reality TV shows that are supposed to be "real." The Hills has been under particular scrutiny for what elements are scripted, but the issue extends to many other shows as well: Fans tend to cry foul when contestants on American Idol actually have professional singing experience or when the designers of Project Runway seem to be chosen for personality rather than skill. But the outrage never really lasts — the shows are still immensely popular, and it's not like anyone's breaking the law.

So it's interesting to look at today in contrast to the '50s, when the rigging of a popular game show called Twenty-One was a major scandal. (Remember the Robert Redford film Quiz Show? It's based on this.) I got to thinking about it again because the contestant responsible for the fake-out, Charles Van Doren, has written about his role in the scandal for the first time in 50 years. It's a funny reminder of how far we've come in terms of how much fiction we'll tolerate on "real" programming. I didn't quite realize how crazy this scandal got back then — there were Congressional hearings!

Compared to the outrage over the rigged game show that occurred decades ago, there don't seem to be many consequences for faking on TV nowadays. Is it because we just don't care anymore? As long as it's entertaining, do you need a show to be really real?


juicylove juicylove 9 years
i dont mind like the real world how theyll reshoot something if drama happened when cameras werent around but the hills shouldnt claim to be reality following "friends" that didnt even know each other before the show and faking huge drama like heidi and lc. are heidi and spencer even dating? probably not.
TheEnchantedOne TheEnchantedOne 9 years
When I watch shows like the Kardashians, I don't expect everything to be real, most of those things I reckon to be planned.. or else it would be just another boring day in Calabasas, you know? I'm okay with that. Although I have to say I was terribly disappointed when I found out about Survivor and how they sometimes have to ask for a "scene" to be redone so they can take a better angle or make the audio more superior. :oy:
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 9 years
everyone knows that reality tv is full of people trying to get famous so you don't expect it to be real. they are all "actors" and i use the term so loosely it is unraveling as i type. but it get's annoying on shows like the hills because they are such media hoes that you always know how things turn out long before it airs on the show. we knew heidi and spence were together because we saw them in the magazines. we knew lauren and lo were loser roommates because we saw audrina out without them.
nomerz nomerz 9 years
I watch The Hills because it's mindless entertainment, not because I'm looking to get anything out of it ... I could really care less if it's "real" or not.
MandeeLei MandeeLei 9 years
I don't find it really "shady" I mean it's commonplace today. But I do find it somewhat annoying when it's obviously scripted. It's just as annoying as overly bad acting [I'm thinking specifically of The Hills here]. I don't understand how some of these people pick up so much fame, they seem so fake and boring. But to each their own.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
shows like The hills and similar ones really don't impact our lives so i don't think that it makes a difference if it's somewhat staged or if it's fully real. i think that it would be nice if they were truly real - but what's the likelihood of that happening right? i think that people who are so anti the staging should think about it in perspective. does what LC and Audrina do really make us live our lives differently? it's hollywood and we know that they get certain things because they are on a show - so there's a certain level of a facade that have to be put up.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I could careless if the Hills or a true reality show or not. It's obvious at this point that it's not. I don't think it's really fair if shows like AI have pros posing as people trying to get into the industry for the first time. And completely off topic, LC looks really odd in that pic, like she's scared or something.
maldelus maldelus 9 years
The key factor is if the show entertains me while still maintaining a modicum of morality. One can entertain me with the real adventures of Star Trek if up front, we're informed of it's total fiction as was the War of The Worlds as aired on radio. It wouldn't hurt if breaks reinforced the hokiness of the airing. Remember, it is television and anything can be aired across the waves so long as it is considered as entertaining and fits the Bill of Rights guarantee of free speech.
angelinemarie angelinemarie 9 years
i watch the hills and real world, but the fact that its mostly scripted is misleading. its called reality because its supposed to be real. if it isn't real then should it be just another normal show?
Nina_79 Nina_79 9 years
There is no reality, all things captured on film are just that, film. Even documentaries do not show reality so I don't see what the big deal is. Scenes are shot again and then it's edited in a way to create tension that does not exist that way in 'reality'. If people think tv-shows depict reality they are a bit naive.
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
it doesn't bother me all too much, I have been a fan of the Real World since its creation and I always knew it wasn't the for real Real World! The Hills is ok... I can watch it a little but its not a top pick.
LadyLibertine LadyLibertine 9 years
not a big "reality" fan
Tres-Chic-NY Tres-Chic-NY 9 years
it's more entertaining than some of these scripted shows.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
It depends, I hate it when it is very obvious like on "The Hills." I mean, who can make stuff up on the spot like "I want to forgive you, and then I want to forget you"? Cue the tear sliding down LC's cheek. I laughed out loud at that scene.
fashion4ward fashion4ward 9 years
I hate all non-competition reality shows, especially The Hills.
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