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Reality TV is a genre of television programming that attempts to bring reality into the homes of those who can't experience reality for themselves. It is a relatively new genre, and is thought to have become popular because of increasing dissatisfaction with the predictable plots and contrived storylines of scripted TV shows, and the general lack of reality portrayed in such shows.
There are many different types of reality TV shows, but each only differs in the type of reality they choose to portray. For example, some show the reality of being stranded on a desert island where each week you must vote one member of the island into non-existence (see "Lost"), while some show the reality of being locked inside a house with several housemates for 3 months with no access to the outside world other than to perform mindless tasks and watch reality TV all day (see "Prison Break").
edit Target audience
The target audience of reality TV shows is primarily those who are unable to experience reality for themselves. For example, some underprivileged people have never had the opportunity to give up their celebrity lifestyle to do menial work for a week, or to pick the best of three random unidentified suitors through the power of ambiguously suggestive questions alone, or beat thousands of others in a singing or modelling competition to become a famous pop star.
These experiences that most normal people go through at some point in their lives are often missed out on by those too busy surfing the internet or watching television, and so reality TV gives those people an opportunity to experience these life-changing events by proxy, and maybe even vote on them.
edit Types of Reality
edit Paranoid Delusions
Many people experience the reality of knowing beyond a question of a doubt that everyone around them is an actor/cyborg/figment of their imagination. Reality TV offers those less-fortunate viewers a glimpse into their lives through shows where one hapless contestant is initially unaware that all they are house mates in the exotic luxury mansion are in fact actors. As the show progresses the contestant gradually becomes increasingly suspicious that everything around them is an elaborately fabricated lie.
edit Historical/Period Living
The vast majority of everyday people know firsthand the trials and tribulations of uprooting one's family to live authentically for a year in the 1800's. However as we know all too well, there are some down-on-their-luck types to whom life has not been so kind. Ergo this subset of Reality TV has sprung up, to allow even the least culturally-endowed among us to enjoy the wondrous experience that is living in a historical re-enactment house.
edit Cultural Displacement
An recent offshoot of the Historical/Period Living style of reality, however instead of hum-drum time-travel the show focuses on the widely-familiar reality of a white Western family suddenly thrust into a remote tribal environment. The family are forced to live day to day among the rest of the tribe, which as most of us know is fraught with language barriers and cultural shock! Rating show that many people are shamefully under-privileged in this area of reality, and many Cultural Displacement Reality show producers feel a moral obligation to enrich the lives of their viewers through this medium.
edit Home renovation
edit Controversy and criticism
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