Vanessa Ramos 0217865
15 October 2013
Reality T.V. Is A Dream
Is your dream to be on reality TV? As we flip through the channels there is always a reality TV show on. Reality shows have taken over the new generation of television. From being a star chef, to showing off your fashion skills, to even finding love, reality television will influence you in a way that you picture yourself on the show. Not only catering to teenagers watching their favorite celebrities live their lives on television but to adults living their dream of finding love or even being a professional cook. When we watch the show the contestants are treated like stars and they are living a dream come true. This is what makes us want to be on the TV. But are they really living a dream? The producers do a good job to trick us in to thinking it is a great life. The truth is we do not know exactly what the contestants go through. When we find out the reality about reality television our dreams are changed.
Edward Wyatt writes an article about how producers treat the contestants. “TV Contestants: Tired, Tipsy and Pushed to Brink” gives a completely different outlook on reality TV. The producers do what they need to do in order to get viewings and to make money. When writing the article the contestants were described as “convicts on a jailbreak” (Wyatt). The producers confiscate the contestants’ books, CDs, phone, and all personal belongings. The contestants face long workdays. They are not covered under the Hollywood workplace rules. This means that they are not technically qualified for meal breaks, minimum time off between scenes or even minimum wage. Some of them receive little to no pay at all. When signing up for the show the contestants have to sign a disclosure that will enforce the protection of the producers. The contestants cannot reveal what happened on set. Some of the disclosures expire after three years. This allows the contestants that were interviewed their safety. In order for the programs to “encourage wild behavior” they use “isolation, sleeplessness, and alcohol” (Wyatt). When combining alcohol, no sleep, and no food it will make people act crazy. When filming reality TV none of it should be scripted. Diana Eng was on “Project Runway” said that she was so exhausted after a 18-hour day, “One morning they scared me so bad I jumped and screamed,” she said. “They said that wasn’t good, so I had to pretend to wake up again” (Wyatt). This demonstrates that some parts of the program are scripted. Producers state that the contestants know what they sign up for; their contracts specify what happens. The reason that the contestants are kept isolated is “to ensure fairness and prevent cheating” (Wyatt). But even after the contestants go through hell and back they are still thankful for the experience that they got to have. Some of the experiences have landed the contestants amazing jobs. Some of them have their dream job. They may not have lived their dreams on reality TV but after the reality they now live their dreams.
According to Michelle Tsai she wonders “Are Reality-TV Actors Professional?” She begins the article with talking about the show, Kid Nation. These children work 14-hour day, which would not be allowed if they were professional actors. This goes against labor laws as well. The only way that a person is considered a professional is if they are using their talent to entertain the audience. An example is if you go on American Idol you are not considered a professional. If you get kicked off American Idol then asked to come back and entertain, you will then be considered a professional. According, to, “The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists decides who fits into which categories” (Tsai). The treatment of an individual on television is all decided on whether they are professionals or not. Reality TV treats their contestants like game show hosts. They receive a confidential agreement that...
Cited: Tsai, Michelle. "Do the contestants on a reality show count as professional actors?." Politics, Business, Technology, and the Arts. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. .
WYATT, EDWARD. "For TV Contestants, a Harsh Reality - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. .
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