Reality TV and American Culture Analytical Essay by Nicky

Reality TV and American Culture
This paper looks at what reality TV demonstrates about culture, focusing on the U.S. viewing audience.
# 146905 | 1,041 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2010 | US

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In this article, the writer discusses that in many respects, reality television reveals as much about the culture in which it is developed and aired as it does about the individuals. The writer discusses that although the phenomenon of reality television is relatively new to American society, this genre of television entertainment is merely another manifestation of a general theme that has dominated American culture for generations: obsession with fame and celebrity. The writer maintains that long before the first successful reality television series hit the air, American advertisers had begun heavily exploiting the power of recognizability by hiring famous athletes and Hollywood entertainers to feature in product advertisements. The writer concludes that together with the fascination with fame just for fame's sake, reality television also exemplifies the discrepancy between appearance and reality apparent throughout other elements of American culture in general.

Reality Series and Fame
Fifteen Minutes of Fame

From the Paper:

"In its present form, reality television has existed in the United States since approximately 2000, when the first nationally-broadcast network series Survivor and Big Brother brought the concept to this country from European television, where the genre has existed much longer. Big Brother, for example, was first televised in England with
great success before being developed for the U.S. entertainment market.
"Almost a full decade earlier, the MTV series Real World actually pioneered the entire genre because, with the exception of a few experimental projects in the 1970s, and the long-running series COPS, it was the first time that a nationally-televised production
followed the lives of ordinary individuals for the benefit of a voyeuristic audience."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Dovey, Jon. "Big Brother." In The television genre book, edited by Glen Creeber. London: British Film Institute, 2001.
  • Jagodzinski, Jan. "The Perversity of (Real)ity TV: A Symptom of Our Times." JPCS: Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 320-29, Fall 2003.
  • Saye, Neal. "No 'Survivors,' No 'American Idol,' No 'Road Rules' in the 'The Real World' of Big Brother: Consumer/Reality, Hyper/reality, and Post/reality in 'Reality' TV." Studies in American Culture, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 9-15, Fall 2004.
  • Sujata, Moorti. and Ross Karen. "Reality television." Feminist Media Studies 4.2 (July 2004): 203(29).
  • Thompson, Robert. "Reality and the future of television." Television Quarterly 31.4 (Winter 2001): 20(6).

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Reality TV and American Culture (2011, January 22) Retrieved November 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Reality TV and American Culture" 22 January 2011. Web. 28 November. 2023. <>