Since 1948, the world has been able to enjoy the genre of reality television with Allen Flunt’s popular series “Candid Camera.” The show would film regular people who are put in strange situations in order to see how they would respond to them.
While I do enjoy some reality TV shows, I would not say I am the biggest fan of them. Every time I begin to watch one, in the back of my mind I ask myself, “Why do I care about this person’s life at all?”
Shows such as A&E’s “Intervention” feature people with serious addictions to substances such as drugs or alcohol who are in obvious need of help. This show can be beneficial for others who are dealing with substance abuse, but especially for the person on the show since they are given the opportunity to be put into a rehabilitation center for free.
However, shows like this one may be taking certain situations a bit too far. For example, an article in The New York Times wrote about how in an episode of “Intervention,” a woman struggling with alcoholism had been filmed drinking right before driving. One of the producers had even asked her if she was OK to drive, and she said she was fine.
Many might wonder and argue how they would even let her drive intoxicated since it is illegal and extremely dangerous. But A&E counsel for litigation and property matters, David Sternbach, argued that, “The law in the United States doesn’t require you to step in and save people, and it doesn’t require you to stop a crime that’s in the works.”
After hearing this comment, it sounds as if these reality shows are more concerned about how much money they will be making at the end of the day rather than trying to save someone’s life.
This woman put her life and others’ lives in danger when she first stepped into her car, but nobody around her had even stopped her. Viewers of the show, especially those deeply struggling with alcoholism, could see her doing this and think it is OK for them to drive on the road while intoxicated, as well. Sometimes the people we see on these shows may not be the best influence.
In middle school, I was never allowed to watch MTV but my friends were and would always talk about the show “The Real World.” It follows eight cast members of different races and genders between the ages of 18 to 25. The main point of the show is to see how these complete strangers could manage to live together considering the circumstances.
As I grew older, I was curious about the show and watched a few episodes. I realized the whole show was basically the cast members fighting or partying together constantly. Sure, I guess it could be funny watching them thinking “glad that’s not me … ” but imagine the influence they set for young kids watching the show who might look up to these teens and try to be like them when they get older.
Another show that may not be useful at all but is somewhat entertaining is “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” OK, fine, I am guilty of watching this show, but I understand it is not the smartest choice since it does not benefit me or anybody else in any way. The show revolves around the extremely rich family and their extravagant lifestyle. Watching this show, though, may put those down who do not have as much money as them considering many of the episodes show the family taking incredible vacations in the most exotic places all over the world.
I am not saying reality shows need to be taken off the air. They are quite entertaining. But viewers should try and not be affected by them. If someone on a show is clearly not making a smart decision, we should not automatically assume it is OK just because they are on our television screen.
Christina Danno is a senior english and philosophy major, as well as a columnist and copy editor at The Vidette. Questions or comments about her column can be sent to email@example.com.