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Vicarious Vices: The Rise of Reality Television

Though it feels like reality television has always been a staple for TV, it is actually a relatively invention. But how did this start? When did we decide that watching people watch television (Gogglebox) or watching women throw wine at each other (Real Housewives) was a form of entertainment. It would also be important to link this to the rise of YouTube, and the obsession with trailer reactions and unboxing videos.

  • You have a really interesting idea, one that I haven't heard much about. I would suggest focusing on traditional reality television first before bringing up the internet. It would be interesting to research the first reality TV show, which I believe was something from the 70's that inspired the cult-classic The Real World, and see how it became what it is today. It would also be interesting to explain the subcategories of reality television like competition or crime shows. Why are we so curious about what someone else is doing? The voyeuristic tendencies of American culture definitely have a unique take on something as simple as television. – Emily 3 years ago
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  • There are several interesting lines of inquiry here. Tackling the rise of reality TV alone is ample for an article. I remember watching the very beginning days of the Jerry Springer show and wondering if it was the beginning of the end of civilized discourse on TV.It was the first time I saw unscripted, uncouth behavior glorified in the spotlight. I look forward to seeing where you follow the thread. – L Squared 3 years ago
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  • MTV's The Real World was hugely popular well over a decade before Real Housewives first aired. I don't think The Real World can be left out of an solid discussion of reality TV. It's be interesting to riff on the claims to reality inherent in the titles and term: The Real World, Real Housewives, reality TV. – JamesBKelley 3 years ago
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