WHY REALITY SHOWS HAVE DIVIDED THE NATION


We love a good reality show, don't we. Becoming obsessed with stranger's lives, and having to know every detail about what they're getting up to.

But has it gone a bit too far?

Over the last year, there have been a lot of events that have happened that have drastically altered people's views on the addictive, must watch shows. In the aftermath, TV broadcasters and the regulator Ofcom have put in barrels more protection against the contestants who appear on these shows, even though they should probably know what they're getting themselves in for.

The biggest elephant in the room is Love Island. Yep, a lot of you are probably sick of hearing them words and are glad that it's over, but it's a big example. If you've watched it from pretty much the start, you'll know that during series 1, 2 & 3, nothing was held back. There were spats, fights, probably some of the biggest arguments I've seen, and a lot of you know what. It was just real. Real people wanting to find real love, going through the real emotions, which was why it grew so fast in popularity, because us brits are just nosey. However, over the last year or two, especially this year, the drama and the realness of it has slowly faded away. At the start of the series this year, a few times I was just tempted to switch off because I was that bored (and that's saying something for me), it's changed.

The Sophie & Mike situations, which shocked me as much as everybody else, were probably a massive wake up call to the producers, and made them re-think what they're putting out on screen and how they're treating the contestants. Since then, it's been recently announced that TV and radio stations are now having to protect the "welfare, wellbeing and dignity" of the people who participate. An article which I read from The Guardian exclaimed that Ofcom are bringing in new rules such as, broadcasters will have to ensure the members of the public are not "caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or the broadcast of those programmes". Surely now that shows like Love Island are so popular and known pretty much everywhere, people who apply to participate should know what they're getting themselves in for. I completely understand that in earlier series, they didn't know what the outcome would've been and how it would've affected them. What I don't fully understand, is that these rules aren't going to apply to online only content such as YouTube and Netflix, surely if they're going to be in place for cable TV, it should be in place for online TV?

Reality TV gives out a false sense of confidence... couldn't agree more. There have been countless complaints from the public declaring that they're are no 'real' and 'normal' people going onto reality shows, they're all perfect, model like humans that a lot of people aspire to look like. These shows aren't doing anything for themselves. Yes, they should take full care of the mental health of the contestants, but should also realise the fact that millions of normal people are watching skinny, six-pack flaunting, so called 'perfect' people showing off their bodies every night, which shoves the question, 'why am I not like that?' right in their faces. Teenagers, who are the sole audience to these shows, have the most uncertainty in their lives and their confidence can be easily swayed. I'm a teenager, and I 100% understand this, and obviously the producers know who their audience is and who is tuning in every night, so shouldn't they cater the cast to fit the 'normal' person criteria, so that the rest of us at home don't feel shit about ourselves, and think why aren't we perfect.

In complete contrast to this, reality shows are amazing entertainment. A lot of the shows are showing the truth in life and are based on people's life and society. A lot of young people idolise reality stars, because they are real people who they can relate to. They're obviously going to be mixed opinions about this and some people with strong opinions will think I'm talking absolute crap, but you've got to think, in this day and age, life is stressful, education's becoming tougher, jobs are becoming harder, we need some escapism in our lives. Somewhere where we can switch off for an hour a night and forget about the pile of paperwork growing on our desk, an hour of laughing together with the family, something to look forward to during the day, you see where I'm coming from?

After the Jeremy Kyle incident, a huge mass of people vowed for Love Island to be axed, should it have been? I would love to read your comments below, and also start a conversation, this is what I want my new content direction to start, conversation. Comment your opinions below, say what you want to say, I'd love to read them.

Don't forget that posts will be coming every Tuesday and Friday until the 6th September, so keep your eyes peeled on both my Instagram and Twitter (both @JaredDavies02) so you know when I've uploaded!

6 comments

  1. Such an interesting read, I love your take on it all. I've been a lover of reality television for years now and although I agree that there should be protection in place for the mental health of the stars/contestants but I do also think that they're the ones applying and agreeing to be on it so they should know sort of what they're getting in to. I wasn't aware that the new regulations didn't apply to online only content; I do wonder whether some production companies will use this as a loophole in order to create more raucous viewing rather than having barriers put on their show formats.

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    1. 100% agree with you, I do feel like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. are going to take it that one step further, because they now have the advantage over cable tv. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. I have a place in my heart for reality tv. I can still remember watching the very first big Brother and then all that followed after it. X factor is still a highlight of the year for me.
    But Love island last year really was the final nail in the reality TV coffin for me.

    i feel that the reality element has been lost, and it is made up of people who crave celebrity and their fleeting 5 minutes of fame. The fame hunger makes for very uncomfortable viewing, the contestants and producers are constantly pushing people to breaking point for entertainment purposes.

    Wow I went off on one a bit there didn't I?? Great Post Jared, certainly thought provoking x

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    1. Thank you for your comment! Yeah, X Factor is the same for me, I watch it every year, however I do feel like it's lost its spark. I've watched Love Island from 2016, and I can safely say that the earlier series were a lot more real as they didn't really know what was going to be the reaction on the outside, and they were genuinely there for love! Thanks for reading x

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  3. I think the reason online-only content isn't regulated in the same way is because things like YouTube and Netflix fall outside broadcast regulations - YouTube because it's user-generated content so not strictly speaking a broadcaster, and Netflix because it's streaming-only so I suspect there's probably some kind of regulation around it being paid-for content rather than ITV and the BBC which are free-to-all and thus deemed to have public responsibility.

    I'm glad that people are able to find things they enjoy, although if I'm honest reality TV does nothing for me. I found Jeremy Kyle really uncomfortable as it seemed to base itself around humiliating people in vulnerable situations, and I find things like Love Island or TOWIE or Made in Chelsea unbearable because the immaturity amongst supposed adults is ripe for second-hand embarrassment. I caught an episode of Made in Chelsea and the discussion these adults were having about relationships sounded like one I had heard when I was 13 - I'd like to think that the level of understanding, nuance and discourse would have developed by the time they're in their 20s and 30s but apparently not!

    But I'm not the target audience and if other people enjoy it, that's super for them - there's plenty I love that other people don't get! Live and let live.


    Claire
    Nerdslikeme.co.uk

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    1. That's very true about YouTube and Netflix actually, thanks for that. I've never really watched TOWIE or Made In Chelsea but I completely see where your're coming from, like you said you love different things to other people which is perfectly fine! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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