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Reality TV not reality

As the Teen Style staff tried to imagine their perfect day for this month’s issue, we thought about the people who go on television to achieve a fantasy reality of their own — true love, instant fame, untold wealth.

Everyone agreed that the reality TV genre has become incredibly popular in recent years, and with that popularity, the number of shows has grown exponentially.

But the more reality shows hit the air, the more producers seem to be reaching for plotlines.



The room filled for a moment with the sound of people shouting out the names of shows they knew about, but few would admit to ever watching: “The Bachelor,” “The Real World,” “American Idol,” “Fear Factor” and “The Apprentice.”

“It’s not reality,” said Devon Barker, 17.



Marilyn Harris, 12, agreed. “The (producers) just put people in these situations and provoke them to act a certain way. They are just tormenting people and getting paid for it.”

Kelly Northcutt, 16, remembered hearing that on “The Bachelor,” one girl flipped out at the guy for not choosing her.

“In the selection process, they pick the wackos to create situations like that,” she said.

“‘The Bachelor’ is just superficial,” said Josie Pacana, 15. “It always comes down to a girl who is pretty and a girl who has something deep inside. In real life he’d go for the superficial one.”

The group agreed that most reality TV shows send bad messages to viewers.

Pacana mentioned one show in particular, “The Swan.” During that show, women labeled as “ugly ducklings” underwent plastic surgery, then had their teeth fixed and their makeup and hair done. By the end of the show, they were revealed as “swans.”

“The message with that show is that you have to change yourself to be accepted,” Pacana said.

The show itself might be disturbing, but the more disturbing message, everyone agreed, was that shows like “The Swan” are popular.

“It proves that we’re not a very nice society,” Harris said.

The only reality shows members of the Teen Style staff would admit to watching were “American Idol” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

“I think reality television will die out,” Northcutt said. “I hope it ends soon. There must be more productive things to do with our time.”


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