A2 media studies reality tv

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A2 media studies reality tv

  1. 1. Learning objectives: To begin to think critically about Reality TV and what it can offer audiences.
  2. 2. In recent years there have been a number of television programmes that seem to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Walking with Dinosaurs (1999) used computer-generated images of dinosaurs to shows scientists’ impressions and understandings of how dinosaurs lived thousands of years ago.
  3. 3. Another media genre that blurs fact and fiction and realism is reality TV. Reality TV is hard to define as it is a hybrid genre that is continually shifting and developing. It was initially understood to present everyday life as entertainment; however most contemporary shows place participants in in highly constructed situations. Reality TV now involves presenting a range of very structured scenarios, heavily edited to provide audience entertainment.
  4. 4. The genres that reality TV draw upon are: • Documentary - using real footage of real people (not actors) • Soap opera - using multiple enigma narrative • Game show - with a prize for the which participants compete • Voting - such as talent shows Enigma narrative: A narrative that involves the audience by setting questions or puzzles for them to solve.
  5. 5. Recurring elements of reality TV include: • Transformation – of an individual, group, workplace, object or even pet • Symbolic violence - when experts or other contestants criticise participants or the show’s format involves humiliation Although not all reality TV contains each of these elements, it has become hugely popular in recent years. Even on prime-time.
  6. 6. Critical Perspectives: Some explain the rise of reality TV based on the entertainment value that these texts offer their audiences. Corner (1996) Suggests the popularity of reality TV rests upon the dynamics of ‘anxiety and security’. In some texts, such a s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, audiences enjoy risk, danger and then relief at successful outcomes in the programme. In other programmes the audience, who are usually guaranteed a favourable outcome, enjoy the excessive drama, pain and trauma that emotionally or physically vulnerable participants experience.
  7. 7. Case Studies • Driving School (1997) • Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares (2004) • Supernanny (2004) • The Apprentice (2004)

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