Real but Not Really: the Reality Tv Genre Essay

1660 Words Mar 23rd, 2005 7 Pages
Kate Woodward
MCJ 162
T Th 8-9:15

Real But Not Really: The Reality TV Genre

When Philo T. Farnsworth invented the electric television, he probably did not think that it would be used to show people eating bugs, finding husbands based on votes of viewers, or living on deserted islands. But that is exactly what you can see any given night on television now. This newest form of television programming fad is the reality television genre. Reality television is now on every station, every night, everywhere. The web page Fact Monster credits the beginning of reality TV as beginning around 2000 when a little reality game show called Who wants to be a Millionaire hit television screens. Millionaire saw the
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He cheers contestants on with dares and masked insults on their bravery to keep them from giving up. Fear Factor's premise is that people participate in stunts that test their fears. From jumping off high buildings to their staple of eating disgusting things, contestants compete to be the bravest, or at least the one with the strongest stomach. Prizes are awarded in cash and range from five thousand dollars to 1 million dollars on special edition shows.
Because these programs were in the forefront of the reality television genre when it first caught on they not only fit the definition of reality TV, they helped form it. They show how reality TV shows are a form of reality because their dialogue is not scripted, however they also exemplify how they may be real in a way, however they do not mirror any actual persons reality.
For both Survivor and Fear Factor the most exciting moments are their challenges. From driving a car off a pier into the ocean on Fear Factor to going though an obstacle course while dragging pieces of a raft on Survivor, the most tense times usually come when contestants are participating in challenges. However, what is different about Survivor from Fear Factor is that times can get tense other than during challenges. Survivor focuses on relationships of the contestants more often than on Fear Factor. At least half of the episode is usually spent watching the people in the tribes interact with each other,

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