Reality? Get me out of here! Featured

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So its back, and for the next few weeks we can choose to once again look on with our ever-judging eye; watching as celebrities we mostly likely do not recognise, immerse themselves in a life orientated around bugs, dirt, arguments and a competition for the individual who looks the fittest showering in the waterfall - herbal essences style. You can watch Carlton (apparently actually named Alfonso) - the 90s legend who spent his teenage years keeping Will Smith in check (huge amount of street cred there) - step out of his pressed pants and cashmere sweaters and into a green jumpsuit, crying about scorpions.

 

But what effect are reality television shows such as this having on us as the consumer?

Are we using reality TV as a form of escapism? The main component of reality TV-viewing seems to constitute us primarily judging the individuals brought before us whether they are sat in a house for the next few months, singing, dancing or eating bugs.

 

We sit and we judge, we make harsh comment after harsh comment, splurging them out like word vomit. No one is afraid to say what they think; in the society of reality TV nothing is hidden and nothing goes un-judged. We behave in a way we would never dare behave in our own personal reality. We would never judge someone so explicitly. We don’t behold such strong opinions of dislike towards people we have yet to converge with, because that goes against our communal understanding of what is the right thing to do, the nice thing to do, and to some extent the moral thing to do. There are different rules in the world of reality TV-viewing and actual reality.

 

So are we consuming this reality so that we can escape our own, so for a short while we can indulge in the lives of others and forget about the dissertation that needs writing or the love interest drama that was previously consuming our existence?

 

Is reality TV representing and influencing our increasingly materialistic society?

Made in Chelsea, TOWIE, The X Factor: they are all to some extent cemented in materialism. It is all about having the ‘look’; there is no shying away from it, the programmes are brimming with comments about outfits and looks commenting positively or negatively on them. Although they never fully define what this elusive 'X Factor' is, it is discussed as this full package: personality, looks and the voice - with the looks to some extent being equivalent to the voice. As good as One Direction's voices may be, they are unlikely to have got billions of YouTube hits, Barbie’s, lunch boxes and even love hearts made of them if they all looked like regular spot ridden, awkward teenagers.

 

Even I'm A Celebrity represents materialism; they release a pack of celebrities into the Australian jungle and let us watch as they whine about wanting their hair straighteners and discussing how much they miss alcohol. This, then, is able to reconfirm the centrality of material positions to our everyday lives.

 

So no doubt reality TV will only continue to dominate, with more and more programmes being released each year - whether people think it ‘rots peoples brains’ or not..

Suziee Cassels

19 year old Newcastle University student

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