All Reality TV is Not the Same: The Impact of HGTV and American Pickers

While Big Brother, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, or any Survival island anywhere, have human interactive elements of created drama, these shows can carry a feeling of detachment on the part of the audience: It might be possible to have some vicarious pleasure in watching these shows, but they can still be seen as shows where the viewers do not have the possibility of participation. The various reality shows on HGTV (Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Good Bones, for example) or American Pickers (on the History Channel) create a feeling that the audience can be more closely involved. Imagine hitting the road and seeing a site that looks like an odd junkyard, knocking on the door, and asking to rummage through someone’s property or warehouses? Imagine inviting The Property Brothers or Chip and Joanna Gaines to be involved in picking out a house to buy, having them knock down a wall, remodel a kitchen and turn the place into your dream home? These types of momentary thoughts can seem all too feasible. If you watch HGTV enough or American Pickers, it can be easy to imagine passing a place that looks interesting and wonder if it is possible to be like Mike and Frank. We all hope to buy a house that has potential and have Joanna do her magic and turn it into the white picket fence home of our dreams.
Are all reality shows the same or do some create a greater sense of expectation than others? Do these shows have an impact on the real world of remodeling or buying junk (which might not be junk to everyone)?

  • Reality TV is biased towards consumption. While it is true that there are differences between what is being advertised on a game-show type program, in which there is obvious competition, and a home renovation show, there can be no doubt that a product or lifestyle is always being sold. – Aedon 6 years ago

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