Monday, November 2, 2009

Reality TV...scripted, fake, yet a guilty pleasure for all!

So we all know that these so-called reality tv shows are scripted, fake, the works...yet their viewership is higher than most daily soap operas and other shows that are tv today. Reality television has reached new heights not only covering the drama of teenage life and romance, but weight loss (The Biggest Loser), competitions (Project Runway, Top Chef), and even self-improvement if you will (VH1's Celebrity Rehab). With all of this, the shows Laguna Beach followed by its "sequel" The Hills have attracted many young audiences. This show as Levine points out "revolves around drama." However, the drama that is prevalent in these shows is heavily scripted and creating a false perspective about life and reality for their young viewers. For example, on The Hills the relationship between Lauren and Heidi has been separated due to Heidis now husband, Spencer. For those who don't follow the show, Heidi and Lauren completely break their friendship over Spencer and when Heidi decides to marry Spencer, Lauren refuses to go to the wedding. Heidi tells Spencer she wants Lauren at the wedding and Spencer is determined to get her there for Heidi, even though he "loathes" Lauren. The show portrays him calling Lauren and apologizing for all of the fights and allegations of a sex tape that he has put her through. And from what you can see on the show, it appears Lauren receives his apology and then decides to go to the wedding. As the follow video will show, Lauren does go to their wedding, but not because Spencer apologizes to her....

They filmed Spencer apologizing, but Lauren was not on the other end of that phone call. Many of the scenes you see in this show are scripted and edited so that they fit together. You will see the girls wearing outfits from days before in two or more episodes and you know that these are scenes that are being put together. What's interesting to see is how the younger audiences and these audiences are mostly targeted for women, are thinking that this lifestyle of these young women on the show are real, but clearly they are not. The show is ridiculous with the drama that goes on. It all surrounds their relationships and boy drama. It's interesting to compare a show like the Hills to Sex and the City. In the Hills, you have Lauren Conrad who appears to be working hard at school, getting respected internships then working on her own fashion line and becoming a successful woman, yet she struggles in the men department. Sex and the City portrays four successful independent women who also struggle in their relationships with men. However, though the parallels of the show are different, they are similar from a marketing standpoint for their women audiences (Levine). Here is another clip of a parody done by James Franco and Mila Kunis. A perfect example of the "relationships" on the hills. Also, at the end there is a slight portray of the "egg shot" talked about in the Levine article.


  1. In the second clip, were they reenacting an actual scene? As in, someone actually took the time to create dialogue based on a scene from The Hills?

    This reminds me of a series of YouTube clips that a colleague of mine created, the concept being that the most popular viral clips are actually cast through auditions:

  2. I find these all horribly confusing --but I think it's that inter-tangeled web of narritive that make these shows so pervasive. Unlike a sitcom which you can opt-in or opt-out of at any given time without loosing your place, these shows hook viewers with a sequential and highly constructed narrative.

  3. I completely agree. And the fame and wealth that these people have received as a result of it is kind of annoying. They're on the cover of magazines, make $75000 an episode, and are glorified in the media for living. Our culture's priorities are a bit bizarre

  4. the parody..hah! It IS ridiculous to think about how much money these "actors" are getting :\