May 2003
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The Reality of Not Quite Reality TV
By Elisha P., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

One thing that puzzles me about Reality TV is why they even call it "reality". The majority of it isn't even remotely close to reality. A bunch of people on an island competing against each other and voting people off, as on "Survivor" doesn't happen everyday. Neither does a bunch of girls and guys on an island, half-naked and trying not to cheat on their partners, who are back home, as on "Temptation Island". The same goes for "Fear Factor", where people are made to eat disturbing things and do torturous stunts in a quest to win $10,000.

Reality TV is stupid. There is no point to it. Most of it is even offensive and morally wrong. Take, for example, the show Temptation Island. Most of the reality TV shows include competition between the people on the show, which results in hurtful things being said to many of the contestants. A lot of the people that compete on these "reality" TV shows, regardless of their age, are immature and feel they need to pull each other's confidence down in order to bring their own up.

One of my classmates, Daniella S., a grade 12 student at Fredericton High school said it best when she said, "I think reality TV is shallow and cruel. A lot of the shows are about money or physical attraction."

I agree. In fact, it's not just reality TV that focuses on money and sex. These two things, along with alcohol, seem to be the focus of many shows today, including the half hour comedies. Reality TV, as well as the rest of the media, is not sending out a very positive message these days. The message people are getting is that you have to drink to have a good time, that money is more important than morals and values, and you have to be thin for anyone to like you, plus many other false, negative messages.

Another girl at Fredericton High, Stephanie N., a grade 11 said, "There's way too many "reality" shows on now. It's nothing like reality anyway. I won't watch it, I think it's dumb."

Possibly the only reality part of these shows is the way the contestants treat each other with disrespect and cruelty. People put each other down everyday, just to try and bring themselves up. If people just treated everyone the way they would like to be treated, then everyone's confidence would soar. Unfortunately, Reality TV is just entertainment at its worst.


Sarah King, Bay Roberts, NL
Good Job Elisha! I totally agree with you when you say that "reality tv" is so far from reality it is almost ridiculous. You focussed mainly on the shows that guarantee their winners big money. What do you think of shows like "American Idol" and "Popstars" that promise fame to their winners, or shows like "The Bachelor" or "Married by America" that promote promiscuity and marriage for money? Great article ... keep writing, you never know where it may take you!


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