Effects of Reality TV: The Good
For Heather Havrilesky it was more than stuff. It was her father's life. Photographs of old girlfriends she never met. Books. An old driver's license. Heather's father had died, but as she writes in Salon, "How do you say goodbye to someone else's things without losing a piece of that person forever?"
Then Heather began to watch TV shows about hoarders. She decided to do something about her own problem. She went into a "cleaning frenzy, rifling through my closets and driving big bags of old stuff to Goodwill."
Such is the power of reality television. While many people think that reality TV is nothing more than a series of freak shows, some serve the greater good. A good deal of what is on TV can be very useful to the viewer. Although hoarders have been around for centuries, shows such as "Hoarders" have increased public awareness about a serious mental health issue.
While reality shows are mainly produced as entertainment, many convey important information. For example, although many say two of TV's most controversial reality shows, MTV's "Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant," glamorize teen pregnancy, some believe the shows act as a form of high-tech birth control. In 2009, the teenage pregnancy rate in the United States dropped to its lowest levels in 70 years. A 2015 study published in the American Economic Review found that the show likely contributed to a 4.3 percent reduction in teen births.
Ultimately, though, reality TV is all about creating content that generates revenue by captivating audiences — whether through schadenfreude or sympathy. And, at the end of the day, isn't making money what reality TV is really all about?
- 10 Ways Television Has Changed the Way We Talk
- 10 Shows That Changed TV Forever
- 10 TV Moments That Changed the World
- 10 Cult TV Hits that Originally Flopped
- 10 Terrifying Moments on Unscripted TV
- Quiz: What do we owe to TV?
- Love: As seen on TV?
- How Reality TV Works
- How Television Works
- How Writing a TV Show Works
- How does TV change kids' moods?
- Did cooking shows create a generation of foodies?
- Has TV changed people's relationship expectations?
- Braxton, Greg. "The greater reality of minorities on TV." Los Angeles Times. Feb. 17, 2009. (April, 2011).http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/17/entertainment/et-realitytv17
- Cassidy, Sarah. "Teenagers beguiled by false dreams of instant fame on reality TV." The Independent. Jan. 13, 2006. (April, 2011).http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/teenagers-beguiled-by-false-dreams-of-instant-fame-on-reality-tv-522770.html
- Havrilesky, Heather. "How hording shows cured my hoarding." Salon. April 10, 2010. (April, 2011).http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/heather_havrilesky/2010/04/10/am_i_a_hoarder
- Jaffe, Eric. "Observer." Association for Psychological Science." March, 2005. (April, 2011).http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/getArticle.cfm?id=1742
- Maxwell, Richard. "Surveillance Work: Myth and Policy. (April, 2011).http://eprints.cscs.res.in/136/1/_xeNZR9zc.pdf
- McMahon, Tamsin. "Teen moms on TV-the new birth control?" National Post. Dec. 22, 2010. (April, 2011).http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/Teen+moms+birth+control/4011253/story.html
- Oldenbrug, Ann. "Rutgers pays Snooki More than Toni Morrison." USA Today. April, 1, 2011. (April, 2011).http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2011/04/rutgers-pays-snooki-more-than-toni-morrison-/1
- PBS. "An American Family." (April, 2011).http://www.pbs.org/lanceloud/american/
- Pina, Tatiana. "Hoarding: When stacks of stuff are only a symptom." Providence Journal. April, 18, 2011. (April, 2011).http://www.projo.com/news/content/HOARDERS_04-17-11_O4NF4Q0_v59.178a2d0.html
- Rooney, Brian. "From Feisty to Faithful: Omarosa, Others Lament Price of Reality Fame." ABC News. Sept. 3, 2009. (April, 2011).http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/omarosa-joe-millionaire-reality-tv-stars-15-minutes/story?id=8474732
- Steinberg, Jacques. "SAT's Reality TV Essay Stumps Some." The New York Times. March, 16, 2011. (April, 2011).http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/education/17sat.html?_r=4&hp
- Taylor, Jim. "Reality TV is NOT Reality." Hartford Courant. Jan. 31, 2011. (April, 2011).http://blog.ctnews.com/taylor/2011/01/31/reality-tv-is-not-reality/
- The Kaiser Family Foundation: "The Reality of Health: Realty Television and the Public Health." October, 2006. (April, 2011).http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/7567.pdf
- Wolcott, James. "I'm a Culture Critic…Get Me Out of Here." Vanity Fare. December, 2009. (April, 2011).http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/12/wolcott-200912?currentPage=1