Reality TV is what you make of it

It's more than just the 'Jersey Shore'

Everyday millions of people around the world tune into countless reality TV shows. Some people love them and religiously watch their favorite contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” while others hate them and criticize everything about them.

It is undeniable that reality TV is entertaining, economical and not going anywhere anytime soon. According to a poll done by the New York Times in 2010, 15 of the top 20 highest rated programs are reality shows.  The popularity of this genre began to skyrocket in the 2000s when shows like “Survivor” and “Big Brother” began airing and gaining an audience. After the popularity of these shows began to steadily increase, TV networks from all across the board began producing reality shows from MTV to Animal Planet.

Many people feel that these programs have a greater effect on young adults’ behaviors than other shows. Although reality shows such as “Jersey Shore” and “The Real Housewives” do not always promote the best behavior, statistically they do not have any more influence over youths than scripted shows do.

The genre of reality shows is so broad that judging it on just a few shows is inaccurate. This genre of reality TV includes shows like “19 Kids and Counting” and “The Voice.” These two shows in particular are completely different in the messages that they convey to audiences, yet they both get grouped into the term ‘reality TV.’ People are able to dismiss the genre so quickly because we are quick to freak out about things that are unfamiliar to us.

While reality TV has created stereotypes and conflicts, it has also given us insight into other people’s lives. Some people allow reality TV to capture their good moments, such as when they share a contestant’s inspirational story on “American Idol” or when a family in need gets a new home on “Extreme Home Makeover.”

Reality TV is what you make of it. It is not a bad thing to sit down after a long, hard day and enjoy an episode of what many Americans deem as ‘trash TV.’ As long as you stick to your morals and beliefs, it’s okay.