January 2003
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Are you hooked?
By Melanie S., Grade 12, Westgate CVI., Thunder Bay, ON

A new kind of show is sweeping across TV screens throughout the world and capturing the interest of many…Reality TV. It is the type of television that some people claim that they can relate their lives to. Others claim it to be a complete waste of time, and some watch for pure entertainment. When asked what they thought of these reality shows, Westgate students had differing views.

"I like watching reality TV shows," says student Bianca when asked what she thought of the subject. "It reminds me of my brothers and sisters, because my family is just like a reality TV show family." Several people enjoy the shows because it really does relate to their lifestyles. MTV reality shows, such as "The Real World" and "Road Rules" have been especially popular for teenagers and receive high reviews. Another student said, "Watching reality shows makes me feel good about my life and makes me realize that my problems really aren't as major as I build them up to be in my mind." Austin, a Grade 12 student said, "I think some of them like "Survivor" and other ones like that are kind of boring until they get to the point where people start manipulating each other. "Joe Millionaire" looks really good because the gold-diggers will be exposed."

Other students, however, do not have such optimistic views. "Most of them are stupid" stated Katie without hesitation. Critics of the shows claim that the shows stage dramatic events in order to keep the reviews up. "I think the reason why they have reality TV shows is because it is cheaper that hiring real actors" says Grade 11 student Allison. "I think it's a big flop because that is not really what reality is like." On the same note, another Westgate student John states, "The only reason I watch TV is to escape reality. I think that it is a stupid idea to make Reality TV shows since we already live in reality."

Whatever view you have of these shows, their popularity seems to be increasing every day. As a result, will reality TV shows soon take over and be the only television available? That is highly unlikely, but as long as audiences' yearning for so-called 'reality' grows, so will reality TV.


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