Kim Kardashian, left, and her mother, Kris Jenner, are stars of the reality TV series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." (Evan Agostini / Associated Press)
La Cañada High School

Opinion: Reality TV is damaging our social interactions

The Kardashians, the single family that has hundreds of millions of dollars in combined net worth, but nobody can quite say why they are famous and wealthy.

Some speculate that their businesses or distinctive appearances brought them to fame while others say it is because of their enticing lifestyles. The Kardashian are a household name in America and are typically the center of popular culture.

Their initial step into the spotlight was with their reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” in epoch of reality TV. While other shows like “Jersey Shore” have ended, the Kardashian program still remains, and is now joined with shows like “Love Island,” and MTV’s “Tana Turns 21.”

The themes and stars of popular shows have changed over the years, but America’s obsession with reality TV have remained the same.

With celebrities like the Kardashians dominating culture and the lives of the youth, it is hard to dismiss the influence pop culture and reality TV have on society. Americans are obsessed with celebrities and their lives.

You can’t escape it — scandals on the cover of tabloids at the checkout aisle, billboards on the side of freeways, ads on cell phone apps. Some celebrities attempt to keep their personal lives private, while others use their daily drama to their advantage.

This is where reality TV comes into play. Studios make shows that appear to reveal celebrity secrets and to follow the conflict of the stars, all for the public’s entertainment. Producers market these shows as an exclusive glimpse into the glamorous life of the elite. They pry on the desire of the American people to be wealthy and famous by selling them the “secret” aspects of celebrities’ lives.

The popular show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” is heading into its 17th season this year and is currently one of the most well-known reality shows. Kylie Jenner, a main personnel on the show, was recently named by Forbes as the youngest self-made billionaire. Her and her sisters are on the list of the most followed accounts on Instagram.

With the success of multiple businesses and their show the Kardashians are no doubt present in many peoples’ lives. Their large following represents the vast extent of the influence this single family has over popular culture. The Kardashian reality TV show prides itself on revealing the glorious aspects and drama of the family. The main premise of each episode, while varied, primarily follows a conflict, combined with gossip, and confrontations.

The storyline typically remain unresolved for multiple episodes, leaving a sense of angst and boiling animosity in not only the stars, but to a lesser extent in the viewer. Reality TV unlike traditionally scripted shows are potentially promoting poor life skills and negative character traits with their structure and focus.

They highlight petty conflicts and glamorize the poor resolution tactics the stars use to create a captivating show. Whether it is unconscious or not viewers are likely to associate temperamental fights and outbursts with the luxurious lives of celebrities, and attempt to imitate them. By showcasing these fights and problematic character traits, reality TV is promoting and glorifying them by associating them with wealth and success.

Some may argue that the events depicted in TV shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Tana Turns 21,” and “Love Island reflect real life and are not far stretches from the truth. This brings up the question of the authenticity of reality TV shows.

In order to come to a conclusion one must take into account the fact that reality TV is there to make money for the producers and to keep audiences entertained, not to portray the realistic daily occurrences of the stars.

This is because normal activities like going to meetings and doing errands doesn’t sell and doesn’t maintain the fascinating life Hollywood portrays celebrities to have. It is also widely speculated that these types of shows are partially scripted and re-filmed.

It is rumored that Kim Kardashian disliked her reaction to Kris Humphries’ wedding proposal on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and as a result they reenacted it a second time for the presentation of the show.

If TV show producers are willing to falsify significant moments in people’s lives, like wedding proposals, who is to say that they wouldn’t go further in distorting reality. If major events are altered, then it is reasonable to conclude that small events or conflicts also have the chance of being guided or scripted. With questionable authenticity and validity, it is hard to say that reality TV reflects real life.

If we don’t want to be troubled with a society obsessed with perpetuating conflict and one that promotes irritable and self centered personality traits, then something must change. Restricting reality TV to mitigate these negative consequences is not the appropriate action to be taken as it can be used for enjoyment or an easy laugh.

The best solution to this problem is to bring awareness about the ingenuities of reality TV and its exaggerated nature, because when people are aware that what they are watching holds little truth, they are less likely to follow or admire it. The problem of reality TV is that it holds little truth and is far from reality.

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