• Reality television is centered around the idea of surveillance• The filming techniques in some ways emulate surveillance footage• The central “characters” are aware that their lives are being filmed• Because these central characters are “real,” we as viewers feel we have the opportunity to know them, much in the same way we feel we personally (wish we could) know fictional characters
Can we consider something that hasbeen deemed fictional programming to actually be anotherembodiment of reality television?
The Office is often regarded as a “mockumentary,” primarily because of its filming style, but the showshares many of its signature featureswith elements of contemporary reality television shows. In fact, these elements have become so vital to the identity of The Office that the show may be the start of a new wave of reality television shows.
Kelly Kapoor, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, The Office The Jersey Shore
From left to right: Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin, Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez, and Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Lapin- Vance From left to right: Steven Tyler as Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez as JenniferLopez, and Randy Jackson as Randy Jackson
“Diversity Day,” The OfficeSurvivor: CookIslands
“Beach Games,” The Office
“Double Date,” The Office Keeping Up with theKardashians, Season 1
A Map of Countries Airing a Variation of the Reality TV Series Big Brother
The Office, United States The Office, United Kingdom La Ofis, Chile La Job, Canada (Quebec) Stromberg, Germany Le Bureau, France HaMisrad, Israel
The Office exhibits many of the traits viewers have associated with contemporaryreality television. However, the popular NBCprogram lends reality television some of thetraits that have for a long time consideredto be exclusively associated with “fictional programming.”
The Real World American IdolThe Office The Jersey Shore
Michael Scott, Jeff Probst, The Office Survivor A “fictionalized” television program like The Office and a recognized reality television show like Survivor both attempt to mimic real-life situations to an extent. The Office uses conventions of reality television to assert its “realness” and so do shows such as Survivor, although their use of these conventions are not surprising, but expected. Reality television shows also make use of the conventions associated with fictionalized television.
So if the situations in both of these types of television shows are contrived to an extent, but still make a validattempt to properly mimic reality, where is the line drawn between fictional and reality television?
• Geico Commercial, 2006• Celotta, Jennifer, and Greg Daniels. "Beach Games." The Office. NBC. 10 May 2007. Television.• Chun, Daniel. "Nepotism." The Office. NBC. 23 Sept. 2010. Television.• Eisenberg, Lee, and Gene Stupnitsky. "Weight Loss." The Office. NBC. 25 Sept. 2008. Television.• Grandy, Charlie. "Double Date." The Office. NBC. 5 Nov. 2009. Television.• Novak, B.J. "Diversity Day." The Office. NBC. 29 Mar. 2005. Television.• "X-Cops." The X-Files. FOX. 20 Feb. 2000. Television.• Images were also provided by the television shows The Jersey Shore, Survivor: Cook Islands, American Idol and Keeping Up With the Kardashians• In addition to the episodes and shows featured, images were also provided by Wikipedia, People Magazine, and Google Images