Is reality TV getting too hot to handle? (Image source: Digiday)
By Chelsea Shepherd | @Chelsea15183902
Reality television is trendy, fun, comforting and very addictive, but how much reality TV drama is too much and is it causing us more harm than good?
There’s nothing better than getting the family together and tuning in to an episode of your favourite reality television show.
For my family, MasterChef, My Kitchen Rules (MKR) and Dancing with the Stars have always been favourites.
I will be the first to admit that I am a reality TV tragic. I use to think the trashier the better, but the older I get the more this has changed.
I love cracking open the popcorn and video chatting the girls while we place bets on who will be the next to be eliminated from The Bachelor or who will cheat on their spouse on Married at First Sight.
I guess that it was the drama that was (fortunately) missing from my own life that had me hooked and enticed to watch more.
But I’m getting to an age now where I’ve realised that this forced drama and manipulation of contestants on reality TV is toxic and not a good example to set.
According to the Australian Government, reality television is one of the most popular types of programming on Australian free-to-air television.
But, why do we love reality television so much?
Unlike regular broadcasting, it gives us a way to look into the lives of people we can relate to as they’re tasked with an abnormal task that challenges their strength and character.
Producers have become more creative with the types of reality television they are bringing to consumers and it seems as if they are not without their fair share of drama.
MasterChef Australia is a prime example of positive reality television.
I didn’t know how much I was missing uplifting reality television in my life until this season.
It’s refreshing in times like these to watch a show with real people who constantly support each other despite them being the competition.
Not only that but they are also teaching us how to cook and in isolation, most of us have now the time to learn a new recipe or two.
The chief casting officer at Network 10, Beverly McGarvey spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about the latest season of MasterChef.
“Food is a universal theme, particularly in times like these, and our show has always been about the food,” she said.
The success of MasterChef and the positive culture it presentsis shown in the ratings.
Season 12’s pilot episode of MasterChef ‘Back to Win’ was watched by an average of 1.23 million viewers, making it the highest rating reality television premier of 2020.
Despite fears that ratings would decrease due to the exit of the original three judges, the show succeeded by welcoming back past contestants for this season’s ‘back to win’ theme.
Compared to other Australian reality shows such as Married at First Sight launched with 1.16 million viewers, I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! with 954,000 and House Rules with 666,000, MasterChef’s positive culture may be the cause of their success.
Not to mention the postponing of reality televisions series such as The Bachelor, Australia’s got Talent and The Voice that may have added to the MasterChef’s viewership.
When news broadcasting often features many negative stories from COVID-19, uplifting programming such as MasterChef that is a break from the drama and uncertainty in our own lives.
While these television shows show how reality TV can be a nuanced part of our culture, there is many problems with how these shows operate.
Whether it be the staging and manipulation of contestants on shows such as The Bachelor and MKR or the cheating scandals on MAFS, these scenarios present toxic traits that shouldn’t be glorified.
As a result, viewing this toxic television may send the wrong message to Australia’s youth, that this bitchy and bratty behaviour we see on TV is acceptable.
Understandably, some people don’t want to witness another person be embarrassed or belittled on national tv.
So, when you sit down to watch your regular scheduled programming, what sort of reality television do you want to be watching?