Love them or hate them, reality TV shows get viewers talking. Sit in a coffee shop, hang around the office water cooler, or browse Facebook for long enough, and you are sure to here plenty of talk about who did what to whom on the latest, greatest reality show.
Reality TV shows however often require viewers to suspend belief just a little too much. This begs the question, are reality shows really all that real?
Some Shows Have Credibility
The fact of the matter is that some reality TV shows appear to be more real than others. Survival shows such as Survivor, in which contestants must battle against harsh conditions and perform various tasks and challenges, are usually the weakest.
Think about it. Take away the dramatic theme music and shaky camera work, and all you are left with is Summer Camp for Grown-Ups. There is always a crew at hand to help those in need, whether those needs be medical emergencies or others.
Reality TV shows in which contestants race against time, either over distances or to complete tasks, have a greater element of reality in them. In a show such as the Amazing Race, the contestants must navigate real-world scenarios while performing the traveller’s favourite sport – chasing after planes, trains, automobiles, boats, and goodness knows what other methods of transport, all in a bid to leave on time.
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A Set Is a Set
Whether a dirty alley in Dublin or the sun-kissed beaches of a desert island, a reality TV show set is a reality TV show set – and where there is a set, there is lighting and make-up. The contestants are indeed real people, but they may not look quite the same in real life.
Reality show producers use lighting to create and influence mood, as well as to show contestants in either a flattering or unflattering light. The difference between a smooth looking face and wrinkles like a dried apple is usually all a matter of the angle of a light bulb.
However, producers leave nothing to chance, and so contestants in some reality shows are plastered with make-up and have stray hairs combed back into place every few minutes. It’s why you hardly ever see massive pimples on reality dating shows. If you do, the producers probably instructed the make-up artist to highlight it. Don’t feel sorry for them, if that does happen. They make enough money to afford chemical peels and cosmetic surgery once filming has been wrapped up.
The hour-long episode of that favourite reality TV show, broadcasts once a week and took days to film. While many of the emotions seen would be real, the experiences and circumstances in which they unfold are usually carefully managed by the show’s producers.
All sorts of tactics are used to ensure that all the drama is caught on camera. After all, few viewers want to watch reality show contestants picking dried skin off their heels while having a nice cup of tea in between balancing on a tightrope while knitting a Cthulhu toilet-roll cover, and digging for edible roots.
What’s your favourite reality show – and how real do you think it really is?