Would you go on a realitv TV show?

By Sauntrie Abellera, 16, Bishop Conaty—Our Lady of Loretto HS
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Every night when I turn on my TV there’s yet another reality show. I am tired of it. I’m sick of seeing people compete for cash prizes or for a man like in The Bachelor. I’m annoyed by all this alliance and strategizing stuff contestants talk about. It irritates me when people use the now common phrase "the tribe has spoken" derived from Survivor.

When will the networks call it quits with these shows and get back to the good stuff?

The production of reality TV shows has gone into high gear because of Survivor, which opened the doors for other reality shows such as Temptation Island, The Bachelor, Eco-challenge, Big Brother, The Mole and countless others.

In the beginning it was fine. Even I used to watch a few of them like Big Brother and Survivor. They were different, and I had to see what it was all about. Now, it’s just annoying because it’s like reality shows have invaded the TV primetime schedule. Nowadays, there isn’t a night when I turn on the TV and don’t see a reality show.

This summer primetime line-up was full of reality TV. Every weeknight TV was home to a number of reality shows. On Monday, there was Fear Factor and Dog Eat Dog. Tuesday had Spy TV, The Mole, Under One Roof and American Idol. On Wednesday, it was American Idol, Big Brother 3, 30 Seconds to Fame and Meet the Marks. Thursday hosted Big Brother 3 and The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. On Friday you could catch Invasions of the Hidden Cameras. On Saturday, it was Big Brother 3 again. And I haven’t even mentioned cable yet. That was way too much!

When Survivor first ended, my friends and I jumped on the reality TV show bandwagon. Now after countless creations of new reality shows, we’ve bailed on the idea and want good, old television back. Like sitcoms.

No wonder their ratings are falling off

But the networks aren’t listening. Even ratings for reality shows are not as high as they used to be. Surprised? Shows like The Chair and The Chamber were cancelled quickly, because no one watched them. In The Chair, contestants had to keep their heart rate below a certain level while being asked questions during scary scenarios. In The Chamber, players were put into a chamber where it was freezing or scorching hot. This is not reality TV. It’s punishment for me and the contestants.

Another thing that annoys me about reality TV is the contestants! The majority of them are young, attractive and fit—everything that buys viewers. Everyday people don’t look like that. I think that many of these contestants hope to get discovered and think that for being on reality shows Hollywood will roll down the red carpet for them. I do have sympathy for people who are aspiring actors and work real hard to work their way to Hollywood. Other players participate for the experience or for the money. The contestants don’t really appeal to me. They have bad attitudes and fight for no reason. Most of the people are mean and will do anything to win. I know it’s a game and they have to do what it takes but to see them stoop to such a level is so sad.

I thought I had seen it all until one specific Survivor episode when one of the contestants burned his hands in a fire. He had to leave the island for medical treatment and couldn’t return. That seemed so unfair. That was the turning point for me. I realized that reality TV sucks. People are starving, stranded on an island and can only eat a ration of rice. That only adds to the pressure on the contestants. There are some contestants who can’t handle pressure and get so stressed out. This is so not right. Playing games are one thing but playing with their emotions and risking their lives is so not worth it.

And where’s the plot in reality TV? It’s not even that real! The way they act on TV is not the way they present themselves in real life. I’m pretty sure people don’t really go back-stabbing, lying or scheming to get to the top.

Dialogue in reality TV shows like Big Brother isn’t all that great either. There isn’t much that they’re talking about. Workers behind the scenes love scandals and bickering players. They edit shows and cut right to the juicy stuff including many fights. Since it’s edited like that, we don’t get the real picture.

I hope the reality phase comes to a close real soon so all the great shows can come back. I miss shows like Once and Again. American Family, Everybody Loves Raymond, Gilmore Girls, Friends and Will & Grace are really great shows. They seem more real than reality shows even though they’re acting.

We don’t get anything out of reality shows. Watching dramas can make us relate to life’s dramas and comedies make us all laugh. I’ve gained something from watching shows with actors. Sitcoms depict real life more than reality shows do.

Life is full of surprises. It has its ups and downs. That’s all the drama I need. I don’t need a reality TV show to show me reality or bring reality to my life. It’s already there.