Can you believe that reality television has actually been around since 1948? Most of us may have thought that this idea of real television just came about in the last decade but actually it’s been around for quite some time. In 1948 Candid Camera was the first reality show to be broadcasted on television. Many considered this to be the “granddaddy” of the reality TV genre (History of reality TV). This show actually began in radio broadcasting. Allen Funt was the man in charge of this whole new production. He started by simply taping complaints of men in service and broadcasting them over the Armed Forces Radio. This is what later became known as the television show, Candid Camera. Candid Camera was known for “catching people in the act of being themselves” (History of Reality TV). Funt passed away in 1999 and his son, Peter has now taken over for him to continue these series.
So, now you might be asking yourself what show came twenty-five years after Candid Camera? The next broadcasted reality television show was An American Family. This show was written about a California family, the Louds. You would probably never believe it but this show captured it all! It showed many personal experiences in the loud family such as the parents divorce and lifestyle of their gay son, Lance. An American Family played an extremely vast role in exposing society to a more diverse and supposedly real representation of family life. This was just the beginning of unstable families shown on television. Later shows like The Simpson’s and Roseanne branched off from this family idea (The Original Reality).
As you can see reality goes back way into history so it’s really no new thang. We must give all the credit to the generations before us, although newer generations have come up with some pretty interesting reality television shows.
Why Do People Watch Reality Television?
There has been a huge increase in “reality” based television over the last few years. From Survivor to Big Brother it seems that we are constantly being bombarded with a new type of reality television program. But why do people watch these shows? What makes these shows so interesting? One theory brought up in an article in Psychology Today by Steven Reiss Ph.D. and James Wiltz, a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State University, is that, “reality television allows Americans to fantasize about gaining status through automatic fame” (Reiss and Wiltz, 2001). This is the American dream, acquiring fame with little to no work at all. And what better way to do it than on television?
But can reality television actually be called reality? Do people watch because reality television offers an alternative to boring and hackneyed type programs? The fact is that reality TV is just as boring and predictable as the so-called unreal programs. Reality TV can, for the most part, hardly be considered real. An article in Rolling Stone confirms this, stating that,...