Reality television is a genre of TV programming that usually presents unscripted humorous or melodramatic situations and features ordinary people sometimes in a contest where a kind of a prize is awarded. Such programs are called reality shows and are produced in the form of television series. Reality television portrays an influenced and modified form of daily life. Its participants may be placed in abnormal situations or exotic locations. Sometimes people are persuaded to act in scripted ways creating an illusion of reality.
Nevertheless, each reality show has its objection, target audience, advertisement and other typical aspects. Let us compare two popular American reality shows The Real World and Jersey Shoreaccording to these aspects and find out what they have in common.
Jersey Shore is a US reality series that follows the lives of eight people, spending their summer in New Jersey. Audience watches them work, love, make friends and have parties. The objective of this show is to display how participants spend their time. The peculiarity is that all of them are Italian-American.
The Real World is almost 20 years old and it is considered to be the longest-running project in the history of MTV. It brings young adults from different parts of the USA and put them together to live for a certain period of time in a certain city or town. The objective is to understand the diversity of the youth that lives in different parts of the country.
Comparing two reality shows, we can say that recent addition to MTV’s realities Jersey Shore resembles pioneering The Real World. In both shows a group of carefully chosen people with interesting characters and personalities are thrown together to live with some obligations. Both of them air on MTV.
In Jersey Show its target audience is men and women between the ages of twelve and thirty four years old. This show uses a lot of targeting techniques to appeal to its audience, including content. It is edited in such a way that it emphasizes some traits of people’s character so that they emulate the Guido (Italian-American) stereotypes. They drink, party and behave in an immature “mook” way. Jersey Shore draws in great amount of its viewers by allowing them to live through the portrayed characters. Such an exaggeration of the cast’s “mook” behavior attracts show’s target audience and helps to see what the audience like and finds the most entertaining.
The Real World is good at attracting its target audience too and does it through many aspects. The way the house decorated, the working environment and the age of the cast are the main reasons for college students to watch this show. Besides, background music and commercial sets are appealing namely to college students.
As to The Real World its motto is “This is a true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped. Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. The Real World…” These words are sounding in the advertisements and characterize the show very fully and exactly.
Promos of Jersey Shore showed a group of Italian-American men and women, who were making ridiculous statements about themselves, going to party without stopping, throwing punches and so on. The advertisements presented the show as set in the “house like one has never seen, full of the craziest Guidos”.
So, we can say that advertisement of The Real World is not as provocative and bold as the one of Jersey Shore. Both of them depict shows’ objectives and main ideas.
Product placement is the form of advertisement when some branded products are places in a context in order to devoid of ads, such as music videos, movies, TV shows or news programs.
Both in The Real World and Jersey Shore it is very obvious when characters push their bottles with beer or other thinks like this into the frame as though handing us their chosen product.
Whenever a cast member on MTV’s The Real World or Jersey Shore opens a refrigerator, be ready to see it full with stuff, each can’s label facing in a way that camera gets a good look.
Of course not all people accept these reality shows as they are and don’t understand their creators’ ideas and aims. As to The Real World it has received criticism for being staged. Some people say that everything is staged in the show, and even the house is unreal. The show was also accused of being characterized by the casts’ sexual and drunken antics, beginning with the Las Vegas season. The reality series were also criticized by the Parents Television Council for its overtly sexual content.
JerseyShore debuted with controversy regarding the usage of words “guido” and “guidette”, which are regarded as a slur when referring to Italian Americans. One promo video stated that Guidos are the most misunderstood species. So, many critics consider this show to be abusive and insulting.
Personally I like these shows and I don’t become absorbed in all those questions that critics do. For me both The Real World and Jersey Shore are the shows for entertainment and I consider both of them to be enjoyable and interesting. It is very interesting to keep an eye on people, thrown on different life situations.