Monday, October 22, 2007

Reality TV

Consider the recent popularity of “reality TV shows.” Describe a few reality shows that you have either watched or heard about. Why do you think modern audiences are so fascinated by these shows? To what extent are they “real”? To what extent are they fictionalized? Describe how the media in Fahrenheit 451 fictionalizes the ending of Montag’s chase (pg. 148). Why doesn’t the news tell the truth? Do you think our news is ever fictionalized?

21 comments:

CatherineD said...

Some reality tv shows that I have watched are Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance.I know I like them because of the fine arts aspects (the dances and the pictures). There are real because the winner do get a contract with a modeling agency or a dance thing. The producers make them somewhat fictional by portraying the people as different by the way they cut the film.The media fictionalized the chase by using propaganda that makes him seem so much worse than he is. The news lies because if they make Montag seem less bad more people curious about books. I think our news is sometimes fictionalized by having a biast opinion. Also. with the war on terror they most likly don't give us both sides and they sugar-coat it.

Tasha P said...

I'm really sorry, but this is REALLY REALLY long!
I haven't heard about a lot of reality TV shows but I've seen a couple on MTV and I don't really like them. They seem like they're real, but I don't think that they're entirely real, like I've seen What Not to Wear and Parent Trap (I think that's one) and I don't believe that some of the things they did are real (I don't remember exactly what they were but they didn't seem real). I think that since people classify these types of shows as "realilty TV", it's easier for them to believe that it actually is "reality TV". The situations seem like they're real, and maybe they are, but since they're set up to be realistic and not fictional like movies, people think of them to be "reality TV". I think the situation is real, but some of the details are false, just to make it more interesting; like all the drama in them I think is partially made up to attract more watchers. Most drama in those shows I think are real, but some of it is probably false just for the entertainment. In Montag's chase, the media is using propaganda to an extent to make Montag seem like the worst crimminal ever and that he's such a dangerous threat, kind of like Harrison Bergeon in that story we read (what's his name?) Of course, since the people in Montag's society believe almost everything they're told, and since the content of the propaganda is so intense, they are sure to believe it. The media sets it up to eliminate the side of the story that could say "Montag is innocent", so the only message sent is: "Montag is a crimminal, a threat to this society, etc...". The news doesn't tell the truth because they want you to believe one thing and only one thing, so they only give you one side of the story. I think our news (television) today gives us most of one side of the story because that is all they have access to, but they may or may not try to give the other side of the story. However, I don't think they try to arrange and present the news so that it's bias or unfair to the other side. Most of the time I think the television news does a good job of presenting the news but I think the newspapers are completely bias and one-sided, so I don't read the newspaper.

Caryn S said...

One show that has been recently publicized a lot is Kid Nation. It’s about kids having to survive on an island with no adults-a bit like Lord of the Flies (I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s about-someone correct me if I’m wrong). The only reality in it is the possibility that kids could somehow be stranded on an island. Other than that, it’s a bit ridiculous to me. Behind the camera, there are adults helping the kids and orchestrating the show, so the idea that the kids are “alone” is complete fiction.
In the book, Montag’s chase is made out to be an amazing, action packed, and thrilling story with the government ending in a triumphant victory. In actuality, the chase is just that- a simple chase with a quick, concise ending. The news is giving people what they want-a juicy, interesting story. If they told the truth all of the time, it wouldn’t be very juicy gossip (for the most part). The same thing happens today-the media “spices up” current events. The news is contorted into subjects people want to talk about, particularly celebrity news. The general public seems to be interested in who is dating who, what so-and-so wore to last night’s party, the cost of that thing that they bought. Sometimes the other stories are just minimized to create room for exaggeration of the celebrity stories, or sometimes they are intertwined and connected with the celebrity stories. Either way, the goal of the media is to keep the public interested.

OliviaO said...

Well the reality tv shows I love to watch are Americas next top model and American idol. Can you blame me? They are fun shows and people like them because of the competition and they usually have someone they want to win that they support and have fun rooting for them. Its like the rockies only funner. They are real in some way but no one who watches them really cares whether or not they are realistic. They made montag seem badder than he was during the chase which was unrealistic. Our news sucks these days becasue all they care about is whether or not britney spears get custody of her kids. Its brainless. Sometimes they dont tell the truth because they were misinformed or dont know the truth.

rrapp said...

Survivor is a reality show that I often watch and enjoy because I like to see how the people on the island get along and interact. Sometimes you can see what people will do in desperate times, like "stabbing" the other players in the back to save themselves for getting voted out. For these reasons people are drawn to watch these shows. I think watchers enjoy watching the drama, fights, and controversy that takes place during reality shows. Survivor is "real" to the extend that the players are on an island in the middle of nowhere, and they compete for real money. On the other hand it is fake because they aren't in real jeopardy of not being rescued, tons of production people with cameras are all over the place, everyone has been screened for being mentally and physically healthy. The news probably doesn't tell the truth because they want peace and frankly, most news is not peaceful! I think our news can at times be fictionalized because we watchers don't know if the news people were at the crime site or the event. For all we know they could be fooling us into their story.

AustinD said...

I do not watch much reality T.V. but I do watch Survivor and American Idol. I feel that people like seeing the american dream come true in a strangers life. The thing is that reality T.V. isn't exactly how it happened or would happen. This reminded me a couple seasons back on Survivor how one of the players wanted to go home and she got that wish. That wouldn't how it would be if people were actually stranded.
In the book, Montog got away from the camera's sight and would take time to relocate him. The reason they cut off the chase was if they wasted time finding him, it would give time for the people to think about Montog and began to question the case. Montog challanged the system from running and, if given the time, people would realized they didn't have to follow the rules of sociaty.

KelsieL said...

I will admit I do like to watch some reality TV shows like America's Next Top Model,Laguna Beach, and Life of Ryan. America's Next Top Model is basically about all these girls who think they can model. The host, Tyra Banks, along with a group of judges, judge the girls each week on the week's tasks and one girl gets sent home each week until one girl becomes, America's Next Top Model. Laguna Beach is pretty much about the lives of these teenagers who live in Laguna Beach. It's about all the drama and big things haapening in their lives. Life of Ryan is about the life of professional skateboarder, Ryan Sheckler. Ryan has a lot of drama in his life because his parents are divorced and he has to travel a lot, so even though he is a very attractive guy, he can't keep a girlfriend.
Honestly, when I explain those shows they all sound kindof stupid. I mean they are "reality TV" but the people are on film and they know it, so how "real" can you be when you are standing in front of a cameraman, director and who knows who else. I think the shows appeal to people today so much because of all the drama and they are portrayed to be "real" at least to some extent. They are real people and they play real people, but how they act and what they say might not be real because it's TV. It's media and they want to make money so they will change things or add things to make it more interesting to the viewers so that more people will watch.
The media in Fahrenheit 451 fictionalizes the ending to the chase because they say that Montag is caught when it is really some poor guy just walking down the street. Granger says that the show better hurry up and have a snap ending because they can only keep the audiences attention for so long. They just target some guy walking around and tell everyone that is Montag without ever zooming in on his face. The news doesn't tell the truth because the truth is not interesting enough to the audience and they want to keep the viewers attention. I think it is possible that our news is fictionalized and that stories might be twisted around to some extent, but we wouldn't really have a way of knowing unless we were at a crime scene or something and what they said happened is totally wrong. But when we hear the news we normailly trust it.

AmberG said...

The reality T.V. shows that I focus on are the dance ones. Like Dancing With The Stars or So You Think You Can Dance. For the most part, I think they are real. The part that may not be, are the votes. T.V. producers can do whatever they want, but I think the routines are real and that the contestants only have one chance to perform them. The typical reality show is not real at all though. I feel that news is inflated to get ratings. And what is stopping them, why wouldn't they?

Mikenn@R said...

I don't watch any reality shows religiously like I do for some shows but I most often watch The Hills if I do or America's Next Top Model. The Hills is a spin-off of the MTV show Laguna Beach which is about a selective group of privileged teenagers that are just going through high school with plenty of drama within all of their cliques. Lauren Conrad or LC, one of the first and second season's main characters on the show, has said goodbye to Laguna Beach and heads off to Los Angeles to pursue a career in fashion. She scores a job at Teen Vogue while at the same time is trying to escape all the drama she left behind in Laguna but as always, you can't run from your past. In addition to her past drama, new issues come up that turn best friends against each other and cause nasty rivalry. While the show really has no point other than a girl that is living her life, people always want to see someone go through a situation that causes issues. No matter at what expense, people enjoy watching others' lives unravel slowly. While my own personal reasons for watching the show are different, that is a big reason why the show and many others like it are so popular. With America's Next Top Model, the show is about competition between aspiring models all trying to score a contract with a modeling agency. This type of reality show differs greatly from The Hills because the girls on the show are actually working to win something and it's a competition. I think many people like to watch these types of shows in addition to others because like The Hills, people involved can become nasty and sometimes spiteful situations that as much as we try to deny it, most of us love to watch. It's intriguing and makes people want to continue to watch. I think that with both of these shows and other reality shows, they are either scripted partly or certain outcomes are defintely planned. In reality you are not constantly being followed by cameras while they film your " oh so glamorous" life because we all know that is not what most people have to go through during the day. Also, nobody lives in a house of girls trying to win a modeling contract and can call that a regular part of their life. I do know however that the people that are involved in such shows are real breathing people and that many of the things they do on the shows are real. Like the relationships they form with people, both good and bad, are apart of human nature.
In Fahrenheit 451 during Montag's chase, the media reporting on the event draws out the drama of capturing Montag. But the thing is, the person that they have cornered is not actually Montag, it's just a man who has stepped outside to take a walk but they send the hound after him anyway to make the chase more entertaining and to lure those watching into a false sense of security that Montag has been killed and everything is alright. The news is afraid that if they admitted that they didn't know where Montag was that people would grow fearful and the town would break out in panic, they also want to provide the thrill of the capture. Today in our news, many things are blown out of proportion and we have things like tabloids that will put anything on the cover no matter at whose expense jst to sell magazines so they can make money. And sorry, I know my blog is really long.

HillaryR said...

One of the reality T.V shows I secretly enjoy is an MTV show called "The 'X' Effect." The show is about two exes who are brought together at a hotel with their new significant others and are forced to live together in two different hotel rooms over a weekend (one room has two beds, one room has a single bed). There are a variety of activities they must participate in, each of which is viewed via video camera or tape recorder by their significant others in a seperate hotel. Why ARE people so interested in skanky shows like those MTV produces?? There is no reasonable explanation aside from pure human curiosity. What does happen when you put two used-to-be-dating individuals together? Since there is almost no possible way anyone could figure that out from real-life circumstances, they watch the glamorous "reality" T.V. shows. A show like the X Effect is "reality" to no degree. Even their lines are obviously scripted because these people on these shows have no acting talents whatsoever. Shows on TLC, for example, are probably more real than fictional; which can easily be seen by any viewer (shows such as Little People, Big World). In the book Fahrenheit 451, the chase scene with Montag and the cops ends in a "heroic capture and execution of one of society's greatest dangers." In real life, of course, Montag escapes and an innocent bystander is killed for no other reason than providing a quick, happy ending for the viewers with the attention spans of the most intellectually inferior gerbils. Luckily for the general public, our news has never been this dramatized. There is no denying, however, that in a chase scene like this the media would cut out the tedious parts to keep the audience interested. Hopefully, our generation and the generations after us will not allow the news to be meaningless and bland and school will always encourage students to think, not impair them.

ashleyG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
evand said...

I don't watch very much reality tv, but people are fascinated with these shows because of the drama that is always present. These shows also always involve ridiculous unreal situations that can never be achieved in real life. These shows are never real and are always trying to provoke a reaction in the participants and viewers. The news is fictionalized because they don't want to create worry in the society. About half the news that is aired currently is biassed.

ashleyG said...

I am not too into the reality TV show thing; I enjoy the science fiction/possibly real situation shows like NCIS, CSI, Numbers and Criminal Minds. Every once in a while I watch Americas Next Top Model or Americas Most Smartest Model. These shows appeal to audiences because people love drama. When our lives get boring we watch other people’s stress -filled lives making ours so much better, and that’s all these shows are...stress and drama. Sure healthy competition is great, but honestly when is the average person going to go and scream at some girl because she got more attention from the photographer? When was the last time you went and took pictures wearing nothing but a soaking wet jumpsuit standing in front of a gas station? Yes these shows are great opportunities for girls looking for a career in that field, but it amazes me how our society has become so dependant on watching shows like this every week.

In Fahrenheit 451 a perfect example of our news today is displayed. The media shows its audience what they want to see and hear. In the novel they did not capture Montag, but they knew that the viewers wanted to see him captured so they took the life of an innocent bystander. I would hope our reporters today would never take it to that extent to please its audience, but it sure gives a great example of the unrealistic-ness of our news today.

Jacque said...

Like many who have already posted, I do not follow any reality TV shows religiously, but I do sometimes watch such reality TV shows as What not to Wear, Top Chef, Project Runway, and America’s Next Top Model (I laugh through this one every time I see it). Obviously some of these shows are more real than others, America’s Next Top Model probably being the most fictionalized. However, on Project Runway and Top Chef some dramatic events do occur that cause me to question whether they are “real”. For example, on Top Chef one time all the chefs got into an enormous fight and ended up shaving each other’s heads (suspicious huh?). There is an inherent necessity for drama to attract watchers and I think sometimes events such as the former are pre-meditated. Another example of ways TV shows manipulate contestants to create drama is once on Top Model there were only 11 beds in the house the models were staying at even though there were 13 girls. While this isn’t exactly fictionalizing events, they obviously were manipulating the situation to create drama. I think modern audiences are fascinated with these shows because people love to watch other ordinary people rise to greatness or, in the case of What Not to Wear, other people who are worse dressed than them be mocked because both of these make people feel “better about themselves.” The media ends Montag’s chase with the killing of an innocent man because in that society everything must be condensed to the “snap-ending” for the masses, and because they had not yet found Montag, they had to make it appear as if they had. This is probably because the viewers do not have the intellectual capacity and attention span to watch the entire chase. I think today the media does not deceive us with facts that are flat out false, but they use lies of omission and other methods to sway the viewers based on their bias. Many times this is just as harmful because the public perceives only one side of an issue

kennaw said...

There's only one reality TV show that I watch and it is called The Hills. It's just a show about a group of friends in their twenties that go and live on their own in the Hollywood Hills. They change and get new friends, jobs, opportunities, and their life basically comes more challenging and it's interesting to watch and see what happens to them. I think people get so into these shows because they just get wrapped up in either how unrealistic and ridiculous it is or they watch because they're almost intrigued as to what is happening. This show at some points are seaming to be real and other times it doesn't seem real at all. Most of the time it seems to me to be real because what is going on is drama and going to clubs, trips, and more. There are periods of time when people aren't on the show because they're on a trip or certain people go to another state to visit family. I'm sure the directors wouldn't just take them to another state to make it seem real. But on the other hand the drama is so extreme at points it seems unrealistic. Plus if you're being followed around by a camera every waking hour of the day I know I wouldn't act myself because it's going to be seen on national television. I wouldn't want to do anything stupid or that sort of thing but it could be that they're just used to the cameras. It doesn't seem to be too fictionalized because all the events that have happened could take place in somone's life. Other shows Ive watched only a couple times are Newport Harbor and The Real World. Honestly I think those are way too fictionalized. Newport Harbor has soo much drama in it that it's stupid. It's not even stupid funny though it's just stupid. All it's about is who is dating who and who likes who. The Real World is just way inappropriate and all it is, is more drama of living with people you don't know and become friends or enemies. The shows I watched were both drama of not liking each other and doing certain stuff with guys (I'm not trying to be inappropriate). It just was dumb and not needed on TV personally I think. I think the news doesn't always tell the truth because they want you to tune in and watch them so they try to spice it up and make it more interesting. I think our news sometimes exaggerates stories but I don't think they would make up the news that is told every night because some things are very serious.

AlyssaC said...

I don't really watch 'reality TV'. but i know the shows like laguna beach, and the hills or what ever, aren't really 'real'. They are just ridiculous, and have unreal dumb drama in them. And i think people are interested in seeing other people's lives and just how they 'live', and that's why they watch those shows. I think that the shows are sort of set around the lives, but then are blown up into something unreal. Sometimes some of the news we hear, isn't exactly the 'truth' it often tends to be twisted, and pulled out of context.

helenp said...

Just like with the the pursual of Montag, reality tv is changed and exagerrated to hold the audience's interest. Shows like The Hills gives the impression that young upper class society is all parties and drama. Because these shows are passed off as real, teenagers who watch them religiously are influenced negatively about life after high school.
The news on the chase in Farenheit 451 was changed because people no longer had the attention span or brain power to listen to a chase that lacks a direct threat to society. Modern day news and reality tv shows also spruce up events or exaggerate them to hold the audience's attention. As books are condenced and people overloaded with information, television adapts to the changes. This adds to the already decreasing attention span and patience of our society.

Kalyn K said...

Reality television has taken the world storm. Shows like America’s Next Top Model, Beauty and the Geek, Survivor, and Biggest Loser are only some of many shows that enchant audiences from week to week. But why do they do this? Well I think it’s because people like to see inspiring, thought provoking, or entertaining television. Though these shows intrigue audiences around the world, people must realize that what is shown isn’t completely real. For instance, in the show the Hills on MTV only shows bits and pieces of the “character’s” day and in an interview with on of the main “characters” she stated that behind the cameras a “character” is created, though it is based off who she really is.
In the book the media fictionalizes the Montag’s chase because they were afraid of lower their ratings. They fictionalize the chase by saying Montag has been captured when in reality it was a random man taking a morning walk.
I think the media does fictionalize some stories to a certain degree. I think this about the media because when it is produced some clips are not chosen for the show giving the viewers no other way to view the entire story.

delaney n said...

A couple reality TV shows I have seen lately are The Real World and The Bachelor. These shows are interesting to watch because there is so much drama and "excitement". They are hardly real at all. There is not such a great amount of drama without help from script writers. They leave some room for free speech which is the reason they can honestly call it reality. I believe that Montag's chase is fictionalized in the way that it is greatly exaggerated. They had to put on a show so, like our reality TV, more drama and excitement had to be created. The news lies by accusing Montag so harshly about having books, when that was not at all what he deserved. I think our news is not necessarily fictionalized, but more inflated. They do everything they can to be honest, and they will push the truth as far as they can.

lisal said...

The search for Montag in Fahrenheit 451, drastically demonstrates the fictional aspect of society's media and reality TV shows. Just like the searchers in Fahrenheit 451 faked Montag's capture, modern TV shows like American Idol and even the news play up reality to make it exciting.
When people sit down to watch TV, they want to escape from real life problems. Although it is slightly ironic, many people turn to news and reality TV to take a break from the real world. People want life to appear more dramatic, but they also want to relate and believe in the things that are happening on screen. This is why reality TV and the media play up events, they want to make real life more thrilling, and they always are looking for a happy ending.

marissas said...

I can think of a lot of reality t.v. shows. SOme of these are American Idol, Fear Factor, and Kid Nation. People are very fascinated by these shows because most of them actually believe that they are 'real'. They think that they can relate and idolize some of these people. They are real in the sense that some of these people are just normal people who tried out to be and the show and were lucky enough to get there. Some of the stunts and thigs are real also. In American Idol, the people are really singing. But, they are also fictionalized because a lot of times these things are planned out in advance. Sometimes they present an event as 'real', but it is really planned out and faked. I think ours society today just believes everything they see and hear, which can be a very bad thing sometimes. Everyone thinks of Montag to be acriminal and the people in the book also always believe what they hear. The news in the book just want everything to be happy and it is probably fake. Our news today is also fictionalized. I have recently personally experienced the news saying absolute lies about people. THere was a story in which I knew the people it affected and I now for a fact that almost every station completely lied about everything. It is hard to know who to trust these days.