Give Us The Truth ‘Reality’ TV



CBS New Show “Big Brother”

UNITED STATES—How real are most of those reality series that we’ve become obsessed with?  Hmm, it’s a good question.  So many of us would like to believe what is being depicted on the small screen is as honest as it can come, but there’s just one problem. That’s not the case.

Most reality series revolve around one single thing: drama.  Even for the singing competitions they find ways to keep the audience on edge, by taking endless commercial breaks before revealing the results to the public. In addition, we receive the back stories of those contestants competing for a prize.

So why is this conversation of concern to me?  There has been a bit of controversy surrounding the newest season of CBS’ “Big Brother.”  The reality competition which locks a group of contestants in a home, cut from the outside world and any social media for 2-3 months has been a fan favorite of the summer, but this year things are taking a nasty turn.  This season has turned out to be an eye-opener.

Anyone familiar with the live feeds are able to see 24-7 everything that takes place in the house unedited. This means any inappropriate language or actions are seen by the public.  There have been quite a few racial slurs and inappropriate comments exposed to the public this past week by contestants in the house.  The big problem is CBS did not air this actual footage.

CBS released the following statement this week about the comments, “Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and seeing every moment of their lives.  At times, the Houseguests reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by several of the Houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive.  Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a Houseguest appearing on Big Brother, either on any live feed from the House or during the broadcast, are those of the individual(s) speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program.”

I’m hoping that the network will address this issue in some sort of facet and not just ignore it.  Why is that?  For those that do not see the live feeds, but only the aired episodes, they are presented with a false image of who they think these contestants truly are.  The American public is not stupid we see through this façade, but for those that do not it’s unfortunate. People may praise a contestant who isn’t ‘who’ we think they are based on what’s presented to the audience.

We are given slices of these characters instead of the entire picture.  No reality show presents the drama in its full glory; the good and the bad.  We tend to get only those things that will keep the viewers tuned in, that other stuff is left on the cutting room floor. How many of us would watch a reality series if we knew the honest truth being presented to us?  Probably 95 percent would not tune in.

Reality TV is not what we think we tell ourselves that it is.  There is no such thing as ‘reality’ television.  If you place a camera in front of someone the behavior will be greatly adjusted.  Yeah, if you believe someone telling you what they stated in a casting video to be true, you’re blind to the truth.  Think about all the things you do in the privacy of your home that may alarm you if others learned about it?

In your home, it’s a guarded place; you have that privacy protected, on reality television that is not the case.  If we know we’re being watched, we will edit the things we say and do to prevent from being captured for the small screen.  In some case, the network protects those secrets, but the people who see all, know the truth.

By Trevor Roberts