I need to do an oral on Reality TV and I have to evaluate its longevity.I also need to speak about problems in the genre. I'm having trouble writing a thesis, any ideas? I need to do an oral on Reality TV and I have to evaluate its longevity.I also need to speak about problems in the genre. I'm having trouble writing a thesis, any ideas?

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I'd first want to define what "reality tv" is and use that definition as part of the thesis. Game shows and news shows have quite a bit in common with "reality tv" and, clearly, they are more real than "reality tv". This is one of the flaws in the genre - the reality of these shows is questionable at best.

But, where do we draw the line? Survivor is a game show and show is The Apprentice. What separates them from normal game shows?

In this vein, I'd suggest a thesis that attempts to present an argument like this: It is exactly the "unreal" aspects of these shows that define them as "reality tv" and which also constitutes their essential flaw (and perhaps, ultimately, their appeal).

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There are some reality shows that have lasted an amazingly long time.  I really think this genre is here to stay.  It does seem as though we are getting more and more over the top and risky though.  I can see a Truman Show situation happening eventually, as reality shows become more exploitative.

 

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It might be interesting to address the longevity of Reality TV through the reasons for its popularity.  What aspects or characteristics about Reality TV make it so popular.  Why do we keep on watching?  You could address some main reasons like: 

1)The average viewer feels that they can identify with the people on the show; there's a sense of ethos--the characters are relevant. 

2)Shock value-- Who doesn't love seeing people behaving at their worst?  In a show like Dance Moms or Jersey Shore, even (and I think that it would be a good idea to cite current shows to support your argument), viewers can escape from their own problems and enjoy seeing the disfunctionality of other people's lives or families (the Kardashians.)  It's life unscripted.  Anything could happen.

As for problems with the genre, some of the problematic areas are exactly what make it so popular to begin with!  For shows that are touted as 'Reality TV,' often times the situations couldn't be farther from.  The producers intentionally choose situations and people for their high-interest level, not necessarily because they are grounded in reality.  In shows like Survivor or even MTV's Road Rules or Real Housewives series, are any of those shows reflective of reality?  Sure, they have real people in them.  Sort of. 

This is a great essay topic, and I would be sure frame my thesis around the connection or correlation between the explosive popularity of reality tv, it's longevity thus far and the reasons why so many people are addicted to it. 

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One good approach might be a thesis statement: "What is the relation between cause and effect?" That is, does Reality TV reflect reality ex post facto, or is it prescriptive; that is, does it affect our social behavior rather than refect it?" A subinquiry could be "Why is it "entertaining"? And how far from normative behavior are they?
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