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By Courtenay R. Hall

Are reality shows really real?

Does reality TV portray real life? In my opinion, no! I know reality TV is a big craze now. I honestly can't believe it has hung on this long. I remember sitting at home with my dad watching "Survivor." I believe that was my first experience with the reality TV phenomenon. Since those days of being in high school and watching a reality show with my dad on Thursdays nights, I have come to pretty much hate most forms of reality TV. I believe all of it is staged in one way or another, because TV shows don't survive if they have poor ratings. Poor ratings equal a canceled show. Great ratings mean money, and the show must keep going. I think the people in charge of the show produce any kind of drama they can to keep their ratings up. Staging drama is not reality.

For example, MTV has quite a few reality shows, and when I was younger I was sucked into them: "True Life," "Jersey Shore," "The Real World," and "Teen Mom." Okay, I was actually old enough not to fall for "Jersey Shore." All these shows consist of is drinking, fighting, swearing and sex. It keeps up the drama factor that keeps people tuned in to see what crazy thing happens next. There is no way that is how most normal people live their daily lives. I believe some of it, but not near enough to call it a reality show. "Teen Mom," for example, follows the lives of girls who got pregnant at a young age. Yes, this happens, yes, it is hard for these girls, and yes, it puts a strain on relationships. But these shows show nothing about being a mom. They show all the drama that is created for ratings. Not to mention they are dragging their poor children through all of this on TV. These girls' having perfect nails, hair and makeup is not reality for most moms. Getting peed on, not being able to shower for three days, and not being able to run a small errand that's not a huge, tear-filled trip — that is reality.

I think many people are so impressionable that they really believe these types of shows are reality. It makes them think that this is how people should act and feel, when in truth most of the drama is staged to get more ratings and in turn make more money. Some of the worst are the dating shows. Where are these people's pride? Why would you sign up with thirty other men or women just to try to get one person's attention? This isn't the way things should be portrayed. Dating isn't like that. So how can that be reality? A lot of these reality stars are making an impact on young people. They look up to these people and think that is the way life is. It gives them a false sense of relationships, marriage, parenthood, money, and life in general.

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