My Hypothetical Reality Show

This assignment for my reality show class involved creating a hypothetical reality show.  We had to then pitch it to the class and write a paper where we analyzed our pitch.  Here is my paper.  The class found mine funny.  Maybe it could be a good satire/parody of Reality TV.

 

The name of my (hypothetical) reality show will be called Englewood.  It is set in one of the most notorious and violent neighborhoods of Chicago.  The goal of the show is depict the “real” stories of the residents of Englewood, seen through the ideas of several young adults.  The cast will be followed as they live their daily lives, to show what it “truly” means to live in the ghetto, while dealing with issues such as crime, faulty relationships, poverty, and so on.

Several characters and archetypes are depicted in Englewood.  One young lady is short in height, but big in attitude.  She likes to wear short dresses, high heels, gigantic hoop earrings, and wears hair extensions that go down to her lower back.  She also had a huge appetite…for men and has had sex with multiple guys, most of whom she picks at clubs, or rather, they pick her up at clubs.

Another character is a wannabe rapper.  He acts in a very cocky manner.  He thinks he’s a pimp, a player, a stud, and the type of man that women adore.  Not only that, he likes to wear clothes with lots of swag, including long chains and sagging pants.  He also has numerous tattoos, and in all, he embodies the gangster appearance.

Next is a young woman who has no drive to do anything other than to live on welfare.  She is lazy and irresponsible.  She has four children all by different fathers.  She spends most of her child support and welfare money.

Next is a young man who is a gender-flipped version of the previous character.  He considers himself a player and as such has 30 children with 12 different women.  He has only a minimum wage job and the mothers of his children often get far less child support than they are owed.  He does make an honest attempt to be in hid kids’ lives, but it’s hard when he has so many kids.

I would include these characters because they represent what people think of people from the ghetto.  We see these archetypes in hip-hop.  We hear about them on the news.  These character types truly represent negative stereotypes; I would expect to see them in a reality show that focuses on black people, unfortunately.  If such a show were to exist, it may as well be a modern day minstrel show, only with actual black people.

The intended audience of the show is young adults, particularly those in the African-American community who live the hip-hop culture.  The show is also intended to speak to people who live in low-income neighborhoods.  The show does depict certain aspects of black culture, even if they are not necessarily positive.

The characters on the show would be seen wearing clothing and accessories from various urban and hip-hop clothing lines such as Sean John and Roca Wear.  Also, the characters would regularly indulge in alcoholic beverages such as Patron and Courvoisier.

Again, my choices for products are inspired by hip-hop culture.  The clothing lines were created by hip-hop artists, and the alcohol mentioned seems popular to talk about in hip-hop songs.   This is playing into stereotypes, of course.

The types of commercials I would recommend would be fore clothing brands, entertainment, and the like that appeals to “urban” American young adults.  I would also recommend commercials for general needs such as food, hygiene products, and so on, that all young adults would need.

Once again, the running theme is this show is about people in the ghetto and lots of them are interested in hip-hop music and the entire culture that goes along with that.  The commercials, therefore, have to fit with what the characters are like, and what the people watching would want to buy.

In conclusion, this is my pitch and the analysis thereof.  I have explained the premise, characters, intended audience, product tie-ins, and recommended commercial.  I have also explained why I chose the elements I did.  Reality TV could be positive, but sadly, people don’t want to watch things like that.  Therefore, I have made sure that I created something with all of the aspects that people love to watch in reality shows: drama, broad personalities, and stereotypes.

 

 

 

 

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Twisted Reality Shows Show Analysis 2: The Taste

The Taste is a cooking competition reality show series.  It airs on ABC, and it is hosted and judged by Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey.  The format involves the hosts holding blind auditions for candidates of each of their own teams.  The candidates make a dish.  The dish is then brought out to the hosts, who each try it.  They then decide if they want the chef behind the dish to be on their team.  If more than one host picks a candidate for their team, then the candidate picks which team to be on.  If the candidate is picked by none of the hosts, then they are sent home.

After each of the hosts picks four members each for their teams, the real competition begins.  There is also a similar format of blind competition.  The hosts will be given food prepared by their teams and people who are in their fellow hosts teams.  The competition is blind, and therefore, there is a huge risk of the judges potentially sending home a member of their own teams.

Several of the contestants reflect several archetypes.  One woman seems like the “person from a disadvantaged background determined to achieve greatness.” She was raised by a single mother; things were hard for her, but her mother instilled in her a love for cooking.  She considers going through the contest as a way of thanking her mother for all of her sacrifices and love.  Her mother is her inspiration.

Another contestant seemed very quirky.  She met with the judges wearing a tutu that was either pink or red in color (perhaps a combination of pink and red).  She was rejected by all of the judges, though her style of dress was, of course, unrelated; her food simply was not to their liking.

Another woman seemed like a “true artist.”  She says that whenever she cooks she tries to put everything of her being into the dish she is creating.

Within in the episodes that I saw there was no product placement.

The audience seems obvious.  This show is meant for people who have a love for food.  Perhaps they love eating it.  Perhaps they love cooking it.  But I think that it is clear that food lovers may want to at least consider the show.

Based on the episodes that I saw, I think that this is one of those reality shows that actually deserve to be called reality shows.  There is not much drama.  There is nothing that seems hard to believe.  I will give it a 9 out of 10.  If there is anything that is fake, it seems small and perhaps is only used to streamline the show without upsetting its essence.

Syllabus for Twisted Reality Shows Class

Just for laughs I am sharing the syllabus for my Twisted Reality Shows Class.

Enjoy.

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Governors State University CAS/LIBA/MCOM College of Arts and Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Media Communications
Fall 2013 Twisted Reality Shows MCOM-4070-03
Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.-1:20 p.m. August 27-December 8, 2013
Catalog Description As reality shows become a larger part of the overall entertainment market share, the question of what is “real” becomes increasingly more important. The nature of entertainment and of celebrity has been forever altered by the prevalence of reality shows on television.
While before, people became famous for doing things (such as actress Grace Kelly, who went on to marry Prince Rainer of Monaco) now they become famous simply for being famous (Kendra Wilkenson, Kate Gosselin, Paris Hilton). This major shift in culture has affected not only what we watch for enjoyment, but how we react to the world around us.
Audience People interested in better understanding the world of television reality shows. People studying or working in media. People interested in cultural changes.
Course Objectives
• Understanding the differences between types of reality shows.
• Interpreting how the new celebrity culture impacts our world views.
• Analyzing reality television shows to determine what is real, and what isn’t.
• Comparing/Contrasting reality shows and documentaries.
• Determining the overall impact reality shows have on the real world.
Expected Student Outcomes
• Discussions are designed to assist students in learning from each other.
• Written projects are designed for students to demonstrate their ability to apply what they learned in this class through a series of papers.
• Videos are presented to provide students with a broader understanding of the topics being presented.
• Thinking is expected of students as they reflect on class materials.
• Excellence is what is expected from students in this class. Excellence is defined as the ability students have to live out of their own best abilities and standards and not those of others. What is the most you can be or do to satisfy and delight yourself? This is excellence. This is different than perfection which only brings guilt and a sense of failure.
• Fun is not always frivolous, but always pleasurable. It makes people feel good. When students are enjoying themselves, generally more learning occurs. Laughter is encouraged.
Instructional Modality This class will primarily be focused on discussion. Watching reality television shows outside of class and providing insightful comments to the class will be required. The creation of a reality show “pitch” will be required.
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Governors State University CAS/LIBA/MCOM College of Arts and Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Media Communications
Fall 2013 Twisted Reality Shows MCOM-4070-03
WEEK DATE TOPIC NOTES/ASSIGNMENTS DUE
• Review of syllabus and class expectations Week 1 8-27-13
• What is reality television? Defining the genres and subcategories.
• Where did reality TV come from? Financial realities
Week 2 9-3-13
and the writers’ strike.
• Realty TV vs. Documentary TV
• The Real World and the birth of reality TV
Week 3 9-10-13
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• Who is watching reality TV? Demographics.
• How much of reality is real?
• Reality show psychology
Week 4 9-17-13
• Reality TV archetypes
• Who’s that? Reality show celebrities
• Show me the money: What does reality TV pay? Week 5 9-24-13 Test on Weeks 1-4 Test on Weeks 1-4 Week 6 10-1-13 Love, Sex and Marriage Week 7 10-8-13 Family Dynamics Week 8 10-15-13 Reality TV and Kids Week 9 10-22-13 Voyeuristic TV
Week 10 10-29-13 Summing up relationship reality TV
Analysis Essay 1 Due Results will be discussed in class Week 11 11-5-13 Competition in Exotic Locales Week 12 11-12-13 Talent Contests/”Reality” Game Shows
Week 13 11-19-13 Summing up competitive reality TV
Analysis Essay 2 Due Results will be discussed in class Week 14 11-26-13 Good/Bad/Neutral: The effects of reality TV
Week 15 12-3-13 Pitch Presentation
Pitch paper and essay due Pitch presentations due
EVALUATION
UNDERGRADUATE SCALE A 90-100 pts (90-100%) B 80-89 pts (80-89%) C 70-79 pts (70-79%) D 60-69 pts (60-69%) F 59 pts or less
GRADUATE SCALE A 92-100 pts (92-100%) B 83-91 pts (83-91%) C 74-82 pts (74-82%) D 65-73 pts (65-73%) F 64 pts or less
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Governors State University CAS/LIBA/MCOM College of Arts and Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Media Communications
Fall 2013 Twisted Reality Shows MCOM-4070-03
ASSIGNMENT DESCRIPTIONS
Test (15 points) September 24 Multiple choice and essay test on information presented in Weeks 1-4
Show Analysis 1 (10 points) Due date: October 29 Watch a minimum of three episodes of a reality show NOT VIEWED IN CLASS from one of the following categories: Love, Sex and Marriage; Family; Kids and Reality TV; Voyeuristic TV and write a 1-2 page analysis of the show. Analysis should include:
• Show category
• Characters/archetypes
• Intended audience
• Product tie-ins
• Your opinion of the level of “reality” on a scale of 1-10 (10 being real, 1 being total fiction) and why
• You must include the episode titles and original air dates in your references
Be prepared to discuss your essay in class.
Show Analysis 2 (10 points) Due date: November 19 Watch a minimum of three episodes of a reality show NOT VIEWED IN CLASS from one of the following categories: Competition in Exotic Locales; Talent Contests; Game Shows and write a 1-2 page analysis of the show. Analysis should include:
• Show category
• Characters/archetypes
• Intended audience
• Product tie-ins
• Your opinion of the level of “reality” on a scale of 1-10 (10 being real, 1 being total fiction) and why
• You must include the episode titles and original air dates in your references
Be prepared to discuss your essay in class.
Reality Show Pitch: Final Project (35 points: 20 points essay; 15 points presentation) Due date: December 3 Write and present a “pitch” for a new reality show.
• Your pitch must detail the title, premise, types of characters/archetypes, intended audience, product tie- ins, recommended commercials, host (if applicable).
• You will “sell” the pitch to your classmates in a 5-7 minute presentation during our final class on November 27. PowerPoint is highly recommended, but is not required. Video is permitted.
• Write a 4-5 page essay to be handed in to the professor analyzing each category of the pitch and explaining your motivation and reasoning.
30 points possible for attendance and participation
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Governors State University CAS/LIBA/MCOM College of Arts and Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Media Communications
Fall 2013 Twisted Reality Shows MCOM-4070-03
POLICIES Attendance Please note that because this class is discussion based, attendance and participation are extremely important. Each class is worth 2 points. If you do not attend, you will receive 0 points for that class session. Attendance without participation will earn you no more than 1 points for that class session. Participation is based on quality, not quantity.
If you are going to miss class or you have missed class, it is your responsibility to contact the professor or another student to find out what was viewed/discussed in class and to find a copy of any items viewed and watch them prior to the following class. It is also your responsibility to hand in any assignments that were due the class you missed (see LATE WORK).
Accepted reasons for excused absences (documentation needed for absence to be excused upon returning to class):
• Illness of student or your dependent (doctor’s note required)
• Death in family (obituary, Mass card or program required)
• Religious observance
• University sponsored absences (such as a field trip for another class or an internship interview)
Because attendance is so important, you are only allowed three (3) excused absences or two (2) unexcused absences before a letter grade reduction will take place. If you miss more than five (5) classes total, you will receive a failing grade for the course.
Tardiness Occasionally, life or work interferes and may cause you to be late to class. This is understandable. However, habitual tardiness is rude to the instructor and to your fellow students. If you have a regular scheduling problem because of your work/child care schedule, please speak to the professor.
Arriving in class later than 11:45 a.m. is unacceptable and you will not be admitted to enter class.
Late Work Late assignments will be penalized 10% of the total possible points per week late, and will not be accepted if they are more than two weeks late. If you are in attendance the day an assignment is due but do not hand in your assignment, the assignment is considered late as of the end of that class period. If you are absent the day an assignment is due, you are responsible for getting your assignment to the professor via email or through the departmental mail no later than 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the next class meeting for the assignment to be counted as handed in on-time. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Cell Phones As a courtesy toward your fellow students and the professor, mute or turn off your cell phone. If you are expecting an emergency call, please inform the professor at the beginning of the class and promptly and quietly leave the classroom when your call comes, then return promptly and quietly.
Laptops Laptops are permitted for taking notes, however, the professor reserves the right to require that laptops be turned off and put away if she perceives they are being used for any other purpose.
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Governors State University CAS/LIBA/MCOM College of Arts and Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Media Communications
Fall 2013 Twisted Reality Shows MCOM-4070-03
Children Students are responsible for finding child care if necessary. Children are not permitted in the classroom except in extreme/unusual circumstances. You must obtain the professor’s permission before bringing your child to class. Some topics, discussions and images in this course may not be suitable for children.
UNIVERSITY POLICIES
Disability Statement Students who have a disability or special needs and require accommodation in order to have equal access to the classroom, must register with the designated staff member in the Academic Resource Center. Please go to Room B1201 or call (708) 534-4090 and ask for the Coordinator of Disability Services. Students will be required to provide documentation of any disability when an accommodation is requested.
Academic Honesty Statement Students are expected to fulfill academic requirements in an ethical and honest manner. This expectation pertains to the following: use and acknowledgment of the ideas and work of others, submission of work to fulfill course requirements, sharing of work with other students, and appropriate behavior during examinations. These ethical considerations are not intended to discourage people from studying together or from engaging in group projects. The university policy on academic honesty appears in the catalog appendix, which can be found on the website at http://www.govst.edu/catalog/appendix.htm.
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Reality Show Analysis

One of the classes I am taking this semester is called Twisted Reality Shows.  I did not know it what it was about until I took the class; I don’t care for reality TV anymore, but I moved forward with the class because there was nothing to replace it.  I know lots of people think that reality TV (if it can be called reality…) is bad and possibly not worthy of academic study, but there is a lot of information that I found interesting, and we have lots of good discussions in class.  The class focuses on the whole phenomena of reality TV including where it came from, various categories, it’s effect on culture and how real or fake it actually is.

This is an assignment for the class we have to take a specific reality show from a certain category (love, sex, and marriage; families; children; voyeuristic;) and analyze them.

These are the instructions from the course syllabus:

Watch a minimum of three episodes of a reality show NOT VIEWED IN CLASS from one of the following categories:
Love, Sex and Marriage; Family; Kids and Reality TV; Voyeuristic TV and write a 1-2 page analysis of the show.
Analysis should include:
 Show category
 Characters/archetypes
 Intended audience
 Product tie-ins
 Your opinion of the level of “reality” on a scale of 1-10 (10 being real, 1 being total fiction) and why
 You must include the episode titles and original air dates in your references

My analysis is below.  Enjoy.  If you don’t like reality TV, don’t worry because soon I will have another blog post that you will probably like better.

For this analysis I will discuss one of my favorite shows from when I was in high school.  It is the MTV series Next.  It is in the category of “Love, sex, and marriage.”

Next has a certain format as follows.  A young adult aged 18-25 is set up on a date with five people also in that age range.  They are the dater and the five people are the candidates so to speak.  If they do not like the person they are dating, whether because of personality, appearance, talent, and so on, then they simply say the word “Next,” and they go on to dating the next person.  The rejected person is sent back to an RV called the “Next Bus,” and they are paid a dollar for each minute the date lasted.  If the subject likes the person they are dating, then they offer them the chance to go on another date or “take the money” they earned from the date “and run.”  If the candidate chooses to take the money, then the dater does not get the chance to date anyone else that they have not already dated.  Sometimes the dater will say “next” to everybody they are set up with, and they end up not having a date.

There are a variety of archetypes present to represent all types of men and woman.  Some men are “alpha males” and very assertive and arrogant.  Others are sensitive nice guys.  Some are nerds or geeks.  One young Asian man seemed to conform to a stereotype of Asian men being   One young man has a very “frat boy” personality and not necessarily the most respectful towards women.   Some women are “high maintenance” and expect any man they date to treat them like queens and to be “real men” who are masculine and conform to traditional male gender roles and stereotypes.  There are also young women who seem naïve and innocent because of their.  Several of them also seem to be “party girls.”  One young woman said that she went on a spring break vacation to Cancun, Mexico and acted rather “crazy.”

The show also has episodes with gay and lesbian situations.  Not surprisingly there are also gay and lesbian stereotypes depicted.  One of the gay men being set up with a contestant named Karl has flamboyant mannerisms and talks in a high-pitched voice sometimes called the “gay lisp.”

All of the episodes of Next that I watched were special spring break episodes.  To that end, it seems as though these episodes and the show in general were targeted towards students in college.  They are possibly also targeted towards the 18-25 age range, since only people aged 18-25 are ever seen in the show.  I think this show has the chance to relevant to young adults because nowadays young adults often date in non-traditional ways.  There is of course the Internet.  Also, many of dates are not necessarily traditional dates, where people watch a movie or go out to a nice restaurant.  Next often features unique activities, usually inspired the subject’s interests or career goals.  One episode featured a donkey ride between the date and her potential candidate.  Another interviewed her prospective dates because she plans to pursue a career as a talk show host; she wanted to see how compatible they are with her.  It seems like most people of this generation are interested finding a way to make romance interesting and are not necessarily into the formal way that past generations sought romantic partners.

An interesting question about reality shows is if they are actually being called by the right name or not.  In the case of Next, there are several scenes which are very suspect, and they seem highly unlikely to me.  At the end of each segment (each episode focuses on two separate segments with two separate individuals being set up on dates with five people), regardless of whether the dater rejects all five potential dates or manages to convince one of their dates to see them a second time, the remaining potential dates make a statement in unison which is often insulting to the dater (and his or her date if applicable).  That is clearly made up and rehearsed; they presumable decide to say something, or they are given something by the producers to say.  Other suspicious problems are that several of the things said sound scripted lines.  I am not necessarily talking the instances where the dater and the potential dates are introducing themselves; that has to be planned ahead of time.  One young woman is rejected because of her small breast.  She makes a pun about her breasts being small chicken cutlets.  I’m not a woman, but I would guess that if a woman were insulted and rejected because of small breasts she would not necessarily make a pun about them.  Or rather, it would not always come out of nowhere and seem clever at the same time.  One other occasion features a young man rejected for being a nerd.  He tells the young woman that she is going to miss out on his big penis.  He tells the other young men who were rejected or had not yet met the young woman that his penis is large and that she is missing out.  They insist he show it to them.  He stands up in front of them and does show them his penis, and they are very impressed; they respond by making  comments such “Get that thing off my foot,” and “You’re gonna tip the bus over .”  Honestly, most straight men would not want to see the penis of another man.  Yes, straight people are often curious about the bodies of people of their own sex; however, that seems to go away mostly after the onset of adulthood.  I doubt that most straight men would ask to see the penis of another man that he has not even known for a whole day; perhaps if they were close friends and had known each other for quite some time, I could see that, but I can’t really buy the situation as presented on the show.  In another episode a young woman and one of her candidates decides race on the beach with donkeys.  She rejects him because he rode the donkey too slowly.  That struck me as ridiculous.  I mean, riding donkeys or horses is not an inborn talent.  One has to learn how to do it.  It just seems so implausible to reject a person for that.  Maybe she just wanted to make an excuse to get rid of him and simply was not attracted to him.  However, plenty of other contestants on the show honestly and bluntly rejected candidates for being physically unattractive.

Because of all of the issues I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I will rate the level of reality as a five.  The basic situations are real.  However, many of the specifics are either scripted or staged.

References

           Karl and Lindsay [Television series episode]. (2007). In Miller, K. (Executive Producer), Next. MTV. Retrieved from http://www.mtv.com/videos/spring-break-next-karl-and-lindsay/1554746/playlist.jhtml

Jessica and Lorenzo [Television series episode]. (2007). In Miller, K. (Executive Producer), Next. MTV. Retrieved from http://www.mtv.com/videos/spring-break-next-jessica-and-lorenzo/1554720/playlist.jhtml

Zack and Tiffanie [Television series episode]. (2007). In Miller, K. (Executive Producer), Next. MTV. Retrieved from http://www.mtv.com/videos/spring-break-next-zack-and-tiffanie/1554738/playlist.jhtml