Redeemable Qualities in Reality Television’s Exploitation





Redeemable Qualities in Reality Television’s Exploitation

It is evident that exploitation in reality shows occurs based on the assumption that contestants are villains. Usually, the main basis for misuse involves enhancing the ratings of the program and the network. In truth, normal individuals would not provide exhilarating entertainment. This explains the reason behind the utilization of exploitation in order to provide interesting and alluring amusement to the target audience. However, even though exploitation raises several questions concerning ethical behavior, it is apparent that most people actually enjoy the drama that arises from the humiliation of the actors in the respective programs. Furthermore, exploitation creates a platform for commercializing reality television. This is evident in programs such as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo that exploit the talents of children without considering the effects of public attention and image on their psyche. Based on this, it is certain that redeemable qualities are non-existent in today’s reality television.

One of the reasons for asserting the absence of redeemable qualities comprises the commercialization of exploitation. The drama that arises from the vocational abuse of actors in reality competition programs such as Big Brother and Jersey Shore assists considerably in the creation of entertainment. This is because conflict between the personas attracts the audience significantly. Accordingly, in order for disagreements between the actors to arise, producers typically utilize financial incentives as a means of initiating disputes between the respective persons. Usually, the incentive comprises an exorbitant sum of money, which is usually availed to the winner of the competition at the end of the program. Because of this reward, contestants usually engage in immoral and contradictory actions in order to influence the viewers to vote for them as the winners. Furthermore, the contestants engage in disputes based on their scramble for the reward.

Another basis for surmising the absence of redeemable qualities in reality television involves negligence. Usually, reality television programs neglect the basic and secondary needs and rights of the actors. Indeed, it is simple to provide illustrations that depict the disregard of the participants’ wellbeing. In Big Brother, negligence is present where the show enforces the confinement of contestants to a single house and restricts them from socializing with the outside world. Even though this seems morally wrong, the neglect is resolute for the program’s success. It comprises the design of the show and a facet responsible for formulating chief alluring plots, which largely comprise the conflicts that arise between participants as they live together (Sample 47). Without this basic feature, such reality competition shows would be unable to receive high ratings and instantaneous popularity among the viewers.

Lastly, exploitation in reality television shows occurs in the form of commodification of the actors. In this respect, commodification involves the alteration of participants in the shows into products for the target audience (Sample 57). Usually, the producers and financiers of reality shows produce goods that will be able to gratify audiences. For instance, reality shows such as Jersey Shore provide audiences with pretentious commodities referred to as ‘guidos’ and ‘guidettes’ that allure more people into watching them (McLemee 2). Moreover, such television programs enable the financiers to save costs since the shows do not require additional features such as sophisticated sets, actors seeking union earnings, special effects or to an extent, playwrights. In return, the producers receive a commodity that the audience appreciates. Such extensive appreciation by the audience provides high ratings for the programs, which in turn, translate to the demand for higher advertisement rates for networks.

In conclusion, there are null redeemable qualities in reality television’s exploitation. This is because exploitation only focuses on the aspect of commercialization. In this respect, producers and financiers focus on providing actors as commodities to the audience in order to gain financially. In addition, the evidence of negligence of the participants’ needs and rights and commodification further illustrates the negative feature of exploitation in reality television programs. In spite of these obvious instances, it is still conflicting to understand why more audiences prefer reality shows to other programs regardless of their demeaning nature.















Works Cited

McLemee, Scott. “It’s a Jersey Thing.” Inside Higher ED, 13 Jul. 2011. Web. 6 Sept. 2013. <>

Sample, Ruth J. Exploitation: What It Is and Why It’s Wrong. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. Print.

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