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Is The Dramatisation of Reality TV Necessary?

Geordie Shore, Made In Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex, Too Hot To Handle, Below Deck, Love Is Blind… As much as some of us would hate to admit it, reality TV in all of its forms can be a guilty pleasure which many love to indulge in. But is reality tv actually ‘reality’ nowadays?

From a very young age (I blame my older sister for making me watch it when she was babysitting me) I remember watching reality shows and being amazed that some people lived the life that was portrayed on screen. But fast forward to when I was older and the final episode of ‘The Hills’ *SPOILER* revealed that the finale (and probably the entire show) was all a setup, it made me question why reality TV needs to be so dramatised?

Now I am still to this day an avid watcher of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’, but the fictionalisation of their lives as their daily activities are turned into contrived plotlines becomes more and more obvious with every rewatch. And with stars of ‘The Hills’ also admitting that a lot of plotlines including dramatic love triangles were in fact scripted, can we really trust everything we watch?

Although reality TV can just be seen as a bit of fun to watch, the wider impacts of its portrayals of certain lifestyles, especially upon any impressionable young viewers, needs to be brought to attention. If someone starts idealising and comparing themselves to a life that doesn’t even exist, it is extremely unfair and can be damaging. Reality shows such as ‘Love Island’ have also been linked to an increase in body image issues amongst viewers, so it may be time to reconsider how reality shows portray their content.

On a similar note, documentary-style reality shows are becoming increasingly under fire for dramatising events massively.

The latest one is Netflix’s ‘Drive To Survive’, a show about the world of Formula One. However, even the drivers itself have criticised the portrayal of themselves and accused Netflix of creating fake rivalries just to make the series more entertaining. Current world champion Max Verstappen even refused to be a part of the latest season after he felt that the way he came across was villainised; even as a fan of the show myself, I have to admit that it is massively overdramatised.

If the people who the shows are about don’t agree with the premise of overdramatisation and inaccurate portrayals, is reality tv reaching its end?

As much as I understand that there are issues with it, I’m sure that myself along with many others won’t actively avoid reality TV. But is drama necessary for entertainment? If anything is clear, it is that producers need to work harder to maintain the ‘reality’ in reality TV.

I am currently a third year English and History student at the University of Nottingham. I am the Head of Reviews for Impact Magazine as well as the Live Editor for The Mic. In my spare time, I also chat about Formula One on a podcast for URN! My Twitter is @_amritvirdi and my Instagrams are @thevinylwriter and @amritvirdi._ - I also share my published works on these accounts.
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