A Fake Reality


Reality television is a colossal waste of time, energy, and money within the cable arts and is playing a part in damaging the reputation of America around the globe.


During a recent conversation with my Iranian born/U.S. naturalized friend, the subject of television programming weaved its way into our lively conversation. At one point in the conversation, I asked him, “What do you think of reality television? You know, show like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kate Plus Eight, or Project Runway?” He replied, “You know I hate them and it gives the wrong image.” I asked him how and his reply was sobering:

“Many people in other countries see these globally reaching shows as absolute truth; a mirror of reality in America. I should know. I have extended family in Iran and they’ve asked me about these shows we call reality television. Those that have never been to America and only know if from books, the Internet, and conversation among their friends see these shows and often believe that it’s a true reflection of United States’ culture. We both know that is far from the truth but those that watch these “reality” shows think there is no acting involved; that the camera is rolling and just capturing the unadulterated truth of everyday America.”


Has the everyday, common American television viewer ever stop to think that America’s television programming is more than just entertainment? Could it also be the vehicle of perception across the globe especially considering the ease of media exchange via the Internet? Could America, with its overall declining value of quality programming, be misinforming millions upon millions of viewers and promoting the absolute wrong message to other cultures? Should Americans even be promoting reality television by entertaining its existence? What does that say about our society and its accompanying values in which Nielsen ratings are shattered, year-in, year-out, by shows which infuse fiction by the guise of “reality?”

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