Television networks and media outlets a like have discovered and structured their programming around the popularity of reality T.V. Granted not every show has the magic recipe for success, however, their impact on social and cultural behavior is noticeable.
The plot of these shows is to highlight the humiliation, embarrassment, and distress of those involved with little or no regard if the actions and behavior displayed are good for society. Honestly, if people were not tuning in and setting their DVRs to record, these shows would disappear. So, why are people watching? Are these shows the new standard of entertainment or is it O.M.G, did you see that factor that keeps people coming back? Either way, we can change the channel, however, it seems that reality T.V. false advertisements, popularity of humiliation and lack in moral responsibility, has set the bar for acceptable behavior.
The beginning of reality T.V. began with shows like Candid Camera and Americas Funniest Home Videos displaying funny life moments. The evolution of realty T.V. today is not reality at all, as the stakeholders of the enterprise would have people believe. Only recently, over the last 5 to 7 years did it come out that the reality shows of then and now are not what actually reality of the people within. Articles in magazines or websites would have participants interviews, with common statements of my words were manipulated or that is only part of what I said. The process begins by collecting months of film then, edit, manipulate and create images that look sort of real despite the pain it may cause while highlighting stereotypes is the formula producers follow. (MAST, 2018) Yet, this does not outrage the viewers. Instead, the popularity has grown and the acceptance of staged reality and focus on stereotypes continues.
Taking a step sideways and analyzing reality T.V. a bit further, we see that not only are stereotypes a major ingredient, but the popularity of humiliation, pain and distress are major contributing factors. The entertainment value and viewer pleasure in watching a marriage fail or friendships destroyed for amusement at the suffering of others is disturbing. To humiliate is to create conditions that lower a persons or groups dignity which, should make you think of the moral that is continuously lost. (Mitchell, 2018) This behavior has become the norm and is growing past entertainment and blurs right int corporate and social moral responsibility.
In order for a network or media outlet to have these shows, there is a production company somewhere who is creating the show, with the stereotypes, profanity, yelling, distress, and pain already packaged to air, with one goal in mind to make money. These companies are pitching to the participants they want to tell their story. Once the filming ends constructing the magic that boost ratings by humiliating the unsuspecting but willing new cast member. (Mitchell, 2018) Which is a moral issue, however, the viewer is just as guilty for accepting this type of behavior as acceptable.
One may argue, if you do not like it do not watch it besides, they are just characters just like regular fictional characters. (Arjoon, 2005) They are the focus of stereotypes and embarrassment which is viewed as entertainment but no one is blaming those characters. The popularity of the rude, crude is entertainment and in a silly way may make you feel grateful that the drama is not happening to you.
True we can go up and down in our channels, but the reality of this reality is there are networks that have gained enough profit that they created specific networks for reality shows. Their target audience is young girls and women ages 14 to 22, which is unethical. (Cline, 2019)
When it you think of fictional characters in a television show there are controversial issues, but there are usually solutions to the dilemma shown. Reality T.V. just continues to cycle the drama and rarely if ever shows a resolution to the event we would see unfold. Fictional characters and their story lines do not advertise as fiction/real life of or lead their viewer into thinking this is how they live and how they should act. Furthermore, to justify finding pleasure in Reality T.V. shows because you may be secretly happy to know the drama is not happening to you. Is a far beyond a moral and ethics issue, because it means that beyond finding pleasure in someone elses pain, or corporate profit, your compassion for others within your culture or society is non-extant your needs and wants to have become singular. (Cline, 2019)
If reality T.V. shows pieced together like a documentary and the after-air interviews matched what we saw in a show reality shows would not be in demand. However, they have an do create so much drama, by pushing the envelope with each airing that the mindset like it has been for years will continue. Meaning kids, young adults and even grown ups mimic what they see and if profanity, betrayal, and unethical behavior and given celebrity, while corporation make money to please their stakeholders. Then why would our culture and society expect to accept anything better or demand there be less, because there is not money in that.
Arjoon, S. (2005). Corporate Governance: An Ethical Perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(4), 343-352. Retrieved 4 1, 2019, from papers/session 5/corporate governance – an ethical perspective.pdf
Cline, A. (2019, March 10). Thought Co. Retrieved March 22, 2019
Mast, J. (2018). The Dark Side: Reality TV: Eithcs and Treatment. International Journal of Communication.
Mitchell, E. .. (2018, July 3). Reality TV: Ethics or Entertainment? Philosophy Talk. Retrieved February 18, 2019