The Reality of TV

For years, TV was focused on learning and the idea that viewers need to take something educational away from a television show. Well, this has definitely changed! TV now is purely for entertainment purposes. Sorry, but educational shows don’t get ratings, and we all know it’s about the $$.

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In the article, The 40-Year Transformation Of How TLC went from The Learning Channel to Home of Honey Boo Boo, Kirsten Acuna looks into how TLC has changed, but not really why it’s changed, except to appeal to a mainstream audience. It almost seemed like the article was written to promote TLC’s upcoming new shows lol.

Charles B. Slocum of the Writers Guild in his article, The Real History of Reality TV Or, How Allen Funt Won the Cold War, discusses how reality TV is “ the ultimate peek into the neighbor’s kitchen window. Or, the bedroom window.” Lol. The article really did a great job of walking us through the inception of reality TV dating back to the 1940’s with Candid Camera.

Slocum draws a different conclusion of why reality TV is so prevalent, “The economics are too attractive to ignore. Reality makes for cheap TV.” He elaborates on how budgets are cheaper; therefore; production teams get more bang for the their buck.

Sister Wives Portraits

I watched the show Sister Wives. I’ve heard of this show throughout the years, but haven’t had the time to sit down and watch it. I think it’s usually on Sunday nights, which conflicts with my other reality TV line-up: Keeping up With the Kardashians and Real Housewives of Atl.

Sister Wives consists of a family of Polygamists who are  from Utah, but bought a whole block in Vegas where the family now resides. There is 1 man, 4 wives, and 20+ children. The show gives viewers a first hand look into a life of Polygamy. At first, I thought, “oh hell no, I could never do that!” but as I watched a few episodes, I really noticed a sense of love, and family. They seem to put the typical social construction of “normalcy” to the side, and do what works for their family. As Mormons, polygamy is not a new concept and to some, is considered a normal way of life.

Most importantly, the children seem healthy, happy, and loved. The family seems more than financially capable of providing for multiple families. Kody, the dad, must be a baller of some sort, cuz each wife has her own house, and he just pops in whenever he feels like it. Imagine how much their monthly bills are?!! Crazy.

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I think overall, the sense of family and bonding really triumphs all the other emotions like jealousy, anger, and selfishness. I personally always felt like if a person can take care of their kids, emotionally and financially, then by all means, have as many kids as you want! Now the single moms who have 7 kids, and live off government assistance paid for by tax dollars is another issue for me.

On Sister Wives, and shows like 19 Kids and Counting, the kids seem happy, loved, and financially taken care of. The wives on Sister Wives do have issues with one another at times, but I think that is normal. No family gets along 24/7. The wives do have arguments, but at the end of the day they are all there for one another. I just know I am not the type who is willing to share, lol. I am too selfish to make time for another woman to sleep with my husband at night. Hell no! But, I think since these women were already raised in the Mormon Church, they are conditioned from a young age to believe that this lifestyle is acceptable, and is a great way to live. And… maybe it is… idk; I’ve never tried it. Too each there own, and whatever makes them happy!

Best reality show ever: Love N hip hop Atlanta 🙂

I think people religiously watch reality TV, and shows like Sister Wives, because it gives viewers the ability to view life outside their 4 walls. It’s not every day we run into a family of polygamists, and even if we did we wouldn’t get an in-depth look into their family dynamics and home life. We wake up with the family, we see their candid moments, and we as viewers start to feel as if we truly know and relate to them as people. Without reality TV, this wouldn’t be possible. And unlike fake scripted shows, reality TV is REAL! I mean yeah, scenes can be positioned to address certain things going on at the time, but overall I do not think Sister Wives are actresses hired by TLC, and all 20 children are actors/actresses as well. If it was scripted to that extent, the Internet would pull the cards on the show, it would lose credibility, and no one would watch anymore. People watch reality TV, because it is something we would never be able to see in our immediate life, and it’s real life at it’s best!

Another epic Reality tv series I’ve followed for the past 6 years is Teen Mom. A study showed that since the show aired teen pregnancy rates have gone down.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/health/16-pregnant-teens-childbirth/

Here Tyler and Caitlynn who gave up there daughter for adoption meet her for the 1st time..

The Benefits of Documentaries

I love, love, love documentaries. Every time I turn on Netflix, I go straight to the documentaries section to see if there is something I haven’t seen yet. I honestly rarely watch scripted shows anymore. Acting rarely keeps me engaged. I now, 90% of the time, only watch reality T.V and reality movies (documentaries, and docu-series). It is so much more intriguing and REAL to watch something that is ACTUALLY happening, rather than watching some director with a fantasy/fake script. To me, it is just so cheesy; I don’t get it. It’s even hard for me to watch movies.

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Deidre Pike in Reality Movies, touches on 3 questions addressing the credibility of the newly popular documentaries. “Are news documentaries, honest, independent, and productive?”

Are documentaries honest? I truly believe that news documentaries, for the most part, try and present a picture that will increase the sells. Documentaries try and portray the situation, but just like any news source, there is always going to be multiple factors in deciding why they are covering the issue, and how they are benefiting from it. I do believe that documentaries  do a great job at presenting a fair depiction of the story they are covering. Most of the time, they present a well balanced view.

Pike discusses the move Super Size Me, and I agree with the viewers who were critical of the documentary. It was a a smart and calculated decision for Morgan Spurlock to eat this crazy amount of food daily. Yes, you gain weight if you eat 5,000 calories a day, is that a shock? But..  the documentary made it seem like McDonalds was in the wrong for serving food and acting like a business. As if they have some ethical obligation?! I believe over eating is a personal responsibility. If Spurlock would have eaten healthy choices at McDonalds (and yes there are some!), he wouldn’t have gained weight. It is not the corporations responsibility to worry about individuals inability to control their portions. Do I think fast food should be regulated in general, yes, but it’s pure existence for so long, lets me know it will never go away. I wish the world was free of unhealthy foods, but that’s NEVER going to happen. The grocery store will always have Oreos, soda, and chips. If you ban one, you have to ban em all, and that will NEVER happen! So why blame McDonald’s for making money? It’s like saying plastic surgery can be unhealthy, and people become addicted, so let’s outlaw all plastic surgery for everyone.

The Super Size Me documentary did a great job, of presenting a message that McDonalds will make you fat if you eat it everyday, and let viewers interpret it how they felt. Like news satire, Documentaries really make it possible for viewers to critically think about what’s being presented to them. And, sometimes their message is skewed to present a message that sells. Pike states, “Such “gimmicks” aren’t unusual in the history of journalism.”

So0o0o many documentaries stand out for me, I don’t know which one to choose. I personally love Lisa Ling documentaries. I really feel like she does and excellent job of really getting to know the people she’s filming. Her view acts as an insider’s perspective ,and that really adds to the credibility of the documentary. She has a good show called Our America, and it’s more of an investigative type of docu-series. It ranges from inside looks from prostitution, to sugar daddies/sugar babies, to the oil boom in South Dakota. It really lets me see what something is like that I would never personally experience, which is freakin awesome!! I want to see what a prostitute goes through walking the streets at 4am in high heels, 7 months pregnant with a jon’s baby, and addicted to crack.

I love how documentaries really give an in-depth look into situations that don’t make the mainstream news feeds. It allows the audience to see understand issues that we don’t see on a daily basis. Documentaries take us up-close and personal to the in’s and outs of what’s really happening. It lets the viewer feel as if they are living, and dealing with the issue along side of the people in the documentary. It not only informs the viewer on the facts, but documentaries do a great job of engaging viewers and evoking emotion.

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News Satire at its Finest

Parodies and satire really have taken over the airwaves in the last 5 years. It seems every channel has their own comedian “journalist” to give their take and spin on the portrayal of “real” news. Steve Colbert and Jon Stewart are household names, and to many, are viewed as exceptional journalists. Satire is the new news, or as Rachel Sotos describes it, “the fifth estate.”

I personally find news satire hilarious. It is always fun to make fun of people and situations that are presented in such a serious manner. I think news satire can really put things in perspective for  people. As Rachel Sotos explains in The fake news as the Fifth estate, “we become critical consumers, if not more responsible citizens.” Satire really engages it’s audience by presenting serious issues going on, and 1. makes fun of the way it’s handled, 2. Presents other points of view, and 3. Really makes the viewer critically question and think about what is being presented.

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Sotos touches on the fact that satire, more than ever, is crucial in keeping check over the fourth estate. The fourth estate, known as the press, must be watched and checked just like the government has checks and balances. Without this “fifth estate” as Sotos puts it, the fourth state could publish any material seen fit, giving society a one sided or false interpretation of events. Without the fifth state, the media department could skew news for their benefit. Sotos informs that “6 mega-corporation: Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, GE, News Corp, and Bertelsmann, own 90% of the media  (television, newspaper, internet, magazine, film, radio, and cable).” It’s really interesting to think about what and why we are hearing the news we hear. Are we controlling what they play? are they showing us what they feel we need to know? are they simply presenting the news? is it fact? bias? skewed? missing information? There really are more questions than answers, but it’s basically a yes to all. In the media industry , it’s all based on viewers, ratings, money, and power.

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Soto explains how satire has been around for years, “Franklin wasn’t only a man of many inventions, but also the first “american humorist”.” Humor and sarcasm is a great way to reflect and evaluate the circumstances of the situation. It informs society of the news, yet does it in a way that provokes thought.

The Abuse of Satire by Gary Trudeau

This younger generation really seems to cling to news satire. Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert really do a great job of capturing the essence of satire. These young viewers don’t want to watch Fox news all day like we are 50 years old. Every time I go to my parent’s house, it’s Fox News this, Fox news that. And every time I am there I fall asleep watching it… so boring lol. Also, media today is so bias one way or another. It’s hard to really know what’s fact, and what is their interpretation, what is their agenda. I feel satire has a way of showing all these flaws and biases through humor, something people enjoy and understand. A lot of people retain and comprehend information better when they are actively engaged in the conversation. Satire helps to interest the listener with reality and “truthiness”.

The mindless joy of video games

I’ve been on both sides of the coin. When I love a video game, it’s one of the best highs in the world, and when I hate it, I could snap the disc. I’ll start off by saying, it is rare that I ever truly  obsess over a game. There are only 2 games that come to mind that I can say I love………. Guitar Hero and Mario Kart!! gh2.xbox360.06.lg

I can remember being absolutely addicted to Guitar Hero from about 18-21 yrs old lol. At one time, 8 years ago, I stayed up till 5am with blisters on my fingers playing. At times, I can play anywhere from 4-8 hours. I got started when my friend had it at his house where everyone chilled and partied. We would all pass the guitar around and play. It really feels like such an accomplishment when you beat the song list and get more songs!!!!  Then when I finally got my new game Guitar Hero 2 when I was 19, I couldn’t have been happier. I loved it, I can remember bringing it in my car to all my friends house, and we would all play. My ex’s son Tristan was like 8 and we would jam out all weekend long lol, we both had guitars and would do guitar duets on hard. I can relate sooo many good memories to Guitar Hero. Sometimes I’ll hear songs like Black Magic Woman, or Cult of Personality, and automatically think back to guitar hero.

But……. then I did get Guitar hero this Christmas on the Wii,Guitar Hero 7, and it’s just not the same! I literally have played it twice since I’ve had it. I don’t know if I’ve grown up a little, so that’s why I don’t like it, or if not being around my friends who like it makes it not as fun, or the fact that you don’t have to beat songs to win songs. They just give you all the songs off the get. There just seems to be no challenge. I like a challenge lol. Now the newest Mario Kart game is awesome! That game is a timeless masterpiece!!! Me, My boyfriend, and our friends, will have Mario Kart tournaments where we keep score, and play all the levels consequtively. I probably have 14 papers in our junk drawer of score sheets we’ve saved just so we have proof lol. This last Christmas I got the Wii U, along with the new Mario Kart 8 ( that sounds so spoiled, but those were my big presents, I’d been wanting for like a year :-] ). AND… ………..The Mario Kart 8 is freakin awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! New levels, and new tracks to master! I haven’t played a lot of it though, because our friends up here don’t play, or aren’t as good as me and my boyfriend, so it’s not fun to write the scores down for them. I learned that I must really really like a challenge, cuz it’s not fun unless I’m competing. I like to win.

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So the other side of the coin I was talking about…… my boyfriend is addicted to Madden. ugghhhhh!!! I hate Madden!!!! Which is weird because I am a diehard football fan, but Madden is this fantasy……..fake!!! lol. I really only hate it, because 1. I am not good, 2. My bf literally will spend 5-8 hours daily playing Madden. I can walk in the door, and he wants to tell me what happened in this fake game where he scored this touchdown and what happened, and I honestly tune him out. I am not allowed to walk in front of the tv (which is right in the center of the living room) or he will throw a fit. I’m not allowed to talk to him or,  I somehow “mess him up”. He has now advanced his addiction by buying and using this headpiece to talk to other players online. He’s constantly talking trash in a headset walking around our living room like he’s a coach, and shouting at the tv. It is seriously an addiction. He has an issue. I can wake up to the commentators at 7 am, and he’s up drinking coffee with the game on. uggghhhhh!!!!!! I hate Madden.

People play video games for many reasons. They obviously find something extremely entertaining and fun. Some people like the challenge. I’m all for if it makes you happy do it, but I do think there is a fine line between happiness, and addiction. It is really hard to pin point the short term and long term effects of video games. It is hard to believe correlation does not imply causation. In Christopher Beam’s article Death from Above, he pinpoints one problem that is going on, “While improvements in technology make video-game violence ever more realistic—and desensitizing.”

I agree with Beam, and I believe some of the effects are lack of proper social skills for short periods of time, lack of building relationships with actually people, lack of productivity by wasting your days playing. And physical effects of being lazy and not moving your body. I believe that the messages that some video games send give us skewed perceptions on what is real, fake, or acceptable in real life. Games where you rape, and kill don’t necessarily lead to someone raping and killing, but for example, could lead a boyfriend thinking a women as property, and cause him to think treating her poorly is acceptable. In his science brief, Craig A. Anderson gives us his findings in his scientific brief about how media influences our behavior, “Repeated media violence exposure increases aggression across the lifespan because of several related factors. 1. It creates more positive attitudes, beliefs, and expectations regarding use of aggressive solutions. 2. It creates aggressive behavioral scripts and makes them more cognitively accessible. 3. It decreases the accessibility of nonviolent scripts. 4. It decreases the normal negative emotional reactions to conflict, aggression, and violence.”

I think video games have psychological effects that are hard to determine. As this generation gets older and science advances, we will see when we are 80yrs old, the true effects that video games has on a person.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2014/08/27/a-surprising-new-study-on-how-video-games-impact-children/