How Much of Reality Television is Real?

Reality television is not really reality, by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t think of a reality show that is 100 percent real.

There is a reason that reality television has producers and directors. Nobody is going to turn on a camera and turn it off after 22 minutes of filming and show it on national television.

Duck Dynasty may seem to be a normal day in the life of its stars, but someone has to plan out what situations they will put the cast in during the filming that day.

When the shows are on break between filming new shows someone is almost certainly deciding  what situations will be on during the upcoming season.

The producers of shows like Duck Dynasty or The Duggars: 21 and Counting are not going to leave to chance what happens on their shows.

In reality there is no such thing as reality television, because all reality shows only simulate reality and try to make the scenes look like they are happening naturally.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the humor on Duck Dynasty is not always spontaneous, since the characters may even be told what to say at certain points in the show. The cutaways showing a member of the cast making comments about what is happening at the moment surely must be planned in advance.

I am a huge fan of Duck Dynasty, but accept the fact that the shows have been well thought out and presented in a way for the cast to provide fans like me laughs throughout the show.

Some shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians are not even close to reality, since so many of the situations seem contrived to create the most drama possible. Can you imagine this show with the cameras just following the cast members around hoping they would say or do something that would be worth filming? It definitely would not be must see TV.

Another example is the Big Brother reality show on CBS. How long would viewers watch the show if the show just listened on the house guests discussing the weather? There have been reports of producers telling the house guests what to do, which goes against everything reality television is supposed to represent.

Creating drama is a major goal of reality television. They don’t want a house full of house guests that all get along and only want to play chess or play games in the backyard.

Big Brother After Dark is a prime example of how boring so-called reality television can be. The house guests can be seen and heard talking about old movies and television shows and what kind of music they like. They can be seen lifting weights or stuffing themselves in the kitchen, since they are trying to stay awake until the filming ends, so they can go to bed for the night.

95 percent of that show is pure boredom for viewers. Even worse the best parts of the behind scenes action are usually saved for the filmed shows shown on CBS.

TLC is a channel devoted almost exclusively to reality television and has some of the better reality shows on television like Cake Boss, Little Couple and Little People, Big World.

Little Couple may be one of the more realistic reality shows out there, since it follows Bill and Jen Klein as they struggle to get by in a big people’s world. The storyline about them trying to have a baby on their own and eventually having to adopt was one of the most heartwarming stories ever shown on television in any form. Meeting their adopted son Will for the first time in China was one of the most special moments ever shown on television. Then when they took their son, who has dwarfism to the park their son learned firsthand what it was like to be small in a big people’s world, when he was not tall enough to ride one of the rides.

They are ideal parents for Will in that they know what it is like to be smaller, than almost everyone they see during a day.

We as television viewers can either accept that reality television is 100 percent real or enjoy the shows knowing that they are not anywhere close to being real. It is each viewer’s choice to make that decision.

Reality television may not have scripts like most television shows, but there is someone running each reality show that is deciding what will be happening on a show and in what order the events will be shown in a show.

In answer to the question at the top of this article….None of reality television is 100 percent rule, as much as we might like to think of it as being real. The reason I like reality television is that it is more real, than what a scriptwriter writes for scripted television.

There will always be a division between television viewers that like to watch scripted television more than those of us who like reality television, while knowing it is only partially real, since each show has a show runner making decisions on what will happen on any particular reality show.

Reality TV News At A Glance…..Duck Dynasty fans are anxiously awaiting the fourth season to be shown later this year. Meanwhile the cast has been doing everything except making duck calls with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and Katie. I particularly liked their appearance on Katie, in which we learned about the beardless brother Alan Robertson, who will be appearing on the fourth season episodes. His appearance should add a new dynamic to the show and will be interesting to see how he is used in the show.

Big Brother 15 starts two weeks early this year, with the first show being shown on June 26. This is the countdown till the show for those fans eager to see the first show: 8 days, 6 hours, 16 minutes and 42 seconds. Look for announcement this week of who the 2013 house guests will be at

Cake Boss should be interesting and hopefully we will learn how Buddy Velastro’s mom Mary has been doing, since she has Lou Gehrig’s disease and it was very emotional for Buddy to see his mother deteriorating.

Rock My RV with Bret Michaels has rocked the world of reality television, as he remodels broken down motor homes and makes them look new again with the latest innovations in the world of motor homes today

Reality TV Poll


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

4 thoughts on “How Much of Reality Television is Real?”

  1. I don’t know any of the shows you mentioned. I try watching “Newlyweds” and “Betsy Johnson” but they’re so boring I do a lot of fast forwarding. Currently there’s nothing on television I like so I watch a lot of news or if one of the bio stations has something good like an Elvis or Queen documentary.

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