What effects do you think that reality television has on society when programmes such as the Jeremy Kyle Show are labelled as ‘tabloid trash’ and docu-soaps such as Benefits Street are called ‘poverty porn’
This article will not attempt to mention the effects of reality television on society, but it will attempt to show the background of reality television. To start off, reality television has a definition which differentiates it from other genres. Reality television is a type of a show that does make strong claims to reveal reality (Sparks, 2007). ‘Realism’ is added in reality tv by the fact that the contestants are usually not professional actors and they are usually seen in unscripted and mundane situations.
In Celebrity Big Brother, and similar shows, there is no pretence that the people are anything other than extraordinary. Unlike their more plebeian fellows, they are well paid for their time. ‘Ordinary’ contestants get a fee to cover expenses—for these contestants, a major motive often seems to be a desire to become a celebrity and to work in television.
To put that aside, there verous types of reality television. To mention a few, poverty porn and trash tv are some of the types. Poverty porn is a types of reality television where, if gazed under the work of Blake (2014), poverty porn is a type of reality television (hereafter, reality tv) which attempts to use images that trigger emotional response from society. Such images would look like starving children, or abandoned puppy (Ibid.).
Poverty porn propagates the idea that poverty can simply be defined as lacking material resources or physical suffering, which leads people to believe that a quick donation can reverse it. There are many shows out there which are called poverty porn. One of them is Benefit street. It shows benefit claimants committing crimes, including a demonstration of how to shoplift, and portrays a situation in which people are dependent on welfare payments and lack the motivation to seek reliable employment.
The practical effects of this poverty porn on society. For example, when politicians saw the this show benefit street and its contents, they came out running to the media to respond to it. Prime Minister and Conservative leader David Cameronresponded that the government should “intervene in people’s lives” to get them off benefits and into employment (Joshi, 2018).
The effect of this type of reality television on society is to make the society feel sorry for the people showed in the show, or to enourage the society to do something to combat what is shown in the show. Look, above what the governmnet of Cameroon resorted to do in reaction to benefit street. .
We have already seen what poverty porn is and what its purpose is, and why benefit street was called poverty porn. So now let us see what trash television is, and what is its purpose? Does trash televison work like poverty porn? i guess it might.
Trash shows according to Rosenberg (2017), sensationalizes and exploits violence, profanity and nudity as spectacle. Essentially, a trash TV show is considered so awful or vile, you can’t look away. These shows attract loads of viewers.
One of the shows that is caught under tabloid trash is called Jeremy Kyle Show. The Jeremy Kyle Show is based on confrontations in which guests attempt to resolve issues with others that are significant in their lives, with such issues often related to family relationships, romantic relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol, among other issues.
There have been success stories as a result of guests being on the show, such as the case of a morbidly obese young woman who lost a lot of weight after her appearance on the show. Graham Stanier told the observer that he was “immensely proud” of the help provided to the show’s guests, with “full shows of people coming back on the programme who have been successful in overcoming drug, alcohol or relationship problems, through the care that we have provided (Smith, 2007).
The effect of this type of reality television on society appears to make the society feel that if they have isses related, they can come forward as well and be helped.
Rosenberg, S. (2017) The case for ‘Riverdale’ and trash TV. The Michigan Daily. Retrieved from https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/case-riverdale-and-trash-tv.
Joshi, .S (2018) Benefits Street. Retrived from https://alchetron.com/Benefits-Street
Sparks, C. (2007). Reality TV: the Big Brother phenomenon. 114
Smith, D. (2007). Therapy experts rap Kyle show. Counsellors’ association says The Jeremy Kyle Show ‘takes people apart’. Retrived from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/sep/30/health.ITV
Andrew (2016) Does Reality Television Have A Bad Influence on Society? Retrieved from https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa16/2016/12/01/does-reality-television-have-a-bad-influence-on-society/
What is Reality Television? | Reality Television Critiques. Retrieved from https://sites.psu.edu/passion1macaluso/2016/01/27/what-is-reality-television/