post #41 of 41
I think there are a number of different factors with reality tv depending on the show.

I would call the factors :


Humiliation is a factor present in pretty much all reality shows. At some point the show will be structured in a way that is designed to humiliate the participants.

For example, in the show Biggest Loser, the participants had to strip down to bike shorts (and a sports bra for the ladies) and be weighed on a huge scale. They also had to vote off one person each week, which is one of the situations used to create Drama.

Another example is Wife Swap. When the wives present their new rules, they always say something judgmental about the existing family. I'm sure they are encouraged to do this by the producers because it is so consistent. That's definitely Humiliation.

Drama is, of course, creating situations that encourage temper flare-ups and disagreement which people love to watch.

Voyeurism is a huge component IMO in shows like Wife Swap, SuperNanny, Trading Spouses, etc. We are fascinated by other people and what they do, how they live, what their families are like, etc. One of the articles I link below calls this "reaffirms ideals of conformity and morality".

Then there's competition, which is self-explanatory. We love to watch competitions.

The two components of these shows that really bother me (and I have to admit I watch a few of them) are the Humiliation and Drama factors.

Here are a couple of interesting links I found :

Criminologist says, "Reality TV could damage society"