Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Big Brother: Not All Formats Are Created Equal

You may be thinking to yourself: why does it matter what causes a TV show’s success?  That is an excellent question-glad you asked!  For countries that share the same values and norms as the program’s country of origin, it actually may not be that important.  They can most likely assume that what draws the foreign audience will also attract their domestic audience.  But what about countries that reject what Western viewers enjoy? What if the aspects of Big Brother that attract Western audiences are the very aspects that will repel their domestic viewers?  This is exactly the issue that Bahrain experienced when they attempted to air an Arabic version of Big Brother.

Television programs provide viewers with a picture of a society’s culture, values, and ideals.  With the ability to stream TV shows online, the Internet has allowed people from all over the world to catch a glimpse into the lives of people abroad without even having to leave their couch (not to mention save a ton on a overseas plane ticket).  However, creating these programs requires access to a variety of resources and funds; access that is not equal across the globe. 

It’s no secret that the United States and European countries have dominated the media industry.  The access these countries have to the necessary resources and funds is seemingly endless.  Due to this unfair reality, countries abroad sometimes observe which programs are popular in the Western countries and purchase the program’s format to adapt for their country.  While this solution sometimes helps less fortunate countries economically, it also presents an issue: if the format goes against a country’s central values, how likely is it to succeed?  In order to further examine this question, let’s take a look at the show Big Brother ‘s journey around the globe, and focus on its short-lived air in the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain.

Big Brother, originating in the Netherlands, is a reality television show in which a group of men and women live together in a house (some of you probably know where this is going).  They are not allowed to leave and are under constant surveillance through the use of in-house cameras (terrifying thought for most).  The name of the show comes from the group of producers who monitor the contestants and assign them housework and tasks, as well as games and challenges.  Throughout the season, contestants are “evicted” from the house until there is one remaining houseguest who wins a large amount of prize money.  Despite many, probably obvious ethical uncertainties (like privacy) the TV show was an enormous hit and the format was sold to many countries across the globe that hoped to experience the same financial success as the countries that aired the show before them.

The reason for the success of the show is widely debated (Hill, 323).  For Western audiences, it’s no surprise that sex is a huge attractor; men and women living in a house together, not allowed to leave…sexual tension seems almost inevitable.  And being stuck in a house with the same people for an extended amount of time can become a bit irritating. The resulting conflict is another attention grabber. Some viewers also tune-in for the challenge of determining what parts of the show are realities, and what parts the producers set up.

All of these factors are an American producer’s dream! Sex?! Conflict?! Shut up and take my money.  And as it turns out, it was a hit in the U.S., along with an outrageous number of other countries. However, when Bahrain attempted to realize the same success, there was a bit of a different reaction.

Being the tiny nation that it is, Bahrain went to Saudi Arabia for “permission” to air the show. Although Saudi Arabia advised against it, they allowed them to air Big Brother with the conditions that it will not be shot in Saudi Arabia and the cast members must be separate at all times besides a main room. Although there was much anticipation for this controversial program, it only remained on air for only 11 days.

Though there are different opinions on why the show was not successful, one that cannot be denied is the fact that the show itself went against everything the citizens and government value. The sexual tension and conflict are not attractive qualities for a reality show in the Arabic region.  Not only can they not relate to the show, many of the viewers were outraged. The show prompted riots by citizens who were upset about the content that was being presented to the public.

In a growing global environment, it’s easy to assume what is successful in your country will be successful in ot  But one must consider all of the things that make each country individual: religions, languages, values, beliefs, etc. If these do not align, it is likely a program will be resisted.  Formatting offers a great alternative for countries that may not have the funds to create domestic programming.  And for countries that have already realized economic success from programming, selling the format is just an added bonus.  However, as the case of Big Brother has illustrated, if the domestic country wants to sell their format, they need to be sure that it can be altered enough to appeal to the foreign population. And on the same token, foreign countries need to be conscious of the tastes and preferences of their people and make sure that those align with what they are purchasing.

Vulgarity: A “Boy’s Club” Style of Comedy

When asked if she was annoyed by comments that audiences were surprised by the success of the film Bridesmaids due to the all female cast, Maya Rudolph responded “It is a little lame to me, yeah, because I’ve been doing comedy for a long time and I never thought it was vaginal comedy” (E! Entertainment, 2011). Famous men such as William Congreve, John Belushi, Jerry Lewis and many more have made definitive statements that women simply aren’t funny (Delingpole, 2014).  Their reasoning behind this argument varies, but the reason may not be what is most important. 

It seems that society has only just begun to accept the idea that women can be as funny as men.  Though this may seem like a step towards equality among the sexes, there are still huge strides that need to be made.  Although women comics are now more widely accepted and maybe even encouraged, audiences are still surprised when a female doesn’t stick to a prim and proper routine.  There seems to be a “boy’s club” of comedy style, and when women present jokes and other forms of comedic entertainment in a similar way, many viewers find it unnatural.  This begs the question: are we truly in a post-feminist society, or is the gender-gap still alive and well?

As someone who truly believes there needs to be equality among the sexes, I was shaken by a recent conversation I had with a professor of mine.  We were discussing one of my favorite shows, Inside Amy Schumer.  I said how much I enjoyed the show, and that I loved how a female comic was being viewed as an equal among the male dominated profession.  I then expressed my curiosity of whether Amy Schumer’s show would be as successful if she didn’t employ such a “male-type” style of humor.  My professor stopped me there and asked me to consider what I had just said: if I truly believe that women and men should be viewed equally, why did I consider Amy Schumer to have a “masculine” style of comedy?  This made me think. 

To give some background and an explanation as to why I, and many others, view Amy Schumer as a “masculine” female comic, I will describe a few scenes and episodes of Inside Amy Schumer:

The first example is a segment in an episode titled Lunch at O’Nutters. This skit is a satirical take of sorts on the restaurant Hooters. At O’Nutters however, instead of tight shirts and push-up bras, the male employees wear tight leotards to emphasize their well-endowed “package”.  The women constantly gawk at the men and the emphasized body-part similar to the way men stare at Hooters waitresses’ accentuated chest.  This skit is clearly a comment on how ridiculous people may view Hooters.  Additionally though, by having the women stare and objectify men, she is taking on a “male” persona.  But even saying that this is a male persona is an issue.  Besides the way this skit pokes fun at the restaurant Hooters, it’s really not that far off when it comes to many women.  Like men, women are human beings with sexual desires.  Is the fact that Amy stares at the waiter’s junk funny because she is a woman and viewers believe this never happens?  Surely women do not ever accidentally look at a man’s package right?! 

Another episode entitled Boner Doctor is a commercial parody that mentions the side effects of male-enhancement drugs.  She offers a service to men with erections lasting longer than four hours stating: “If you have an erection lasting more than four hours-CALL ME!”  

This is also shocking to many viewers.  And this shock factor may be the reason so many find it funny.  However, similar to the O’Nutters skit, we have to remember that some women don’t watch it and laugh because of how outrageous and unlikely it is.  For many women they find it humorous because they can relate to times when they just want to hook up with someone.  (Gasp! Women never want a casual hook-up!)

In addition to the sexually charged skits, Inside Amy Schumer features snippets of Amy’s standup comedy.  In these performances, Amy calls out male audience members (often asking about their penis or how they are in bed) makes vulgar comments about men and women, talks about using the Morning After Pill, and much more controversial content.  While people seem to genuinely enjoy this segment of the show as well as Amy’s tour and are truthfully extremely supportive of her career and all she has accomplished, are they excited for her because of her talent or because she is talented IN SPITE of being a woman?

Now, there is no denying that these examples prove the vulgarity of Inside Amy Schumer; and they also demonstrate just how popular Amy Schumer’s show has become.  However, the issue at hand is not about whether a viewer enjoys vulgar humor or not. The issue is whether vulgar humor is seen as a gendered style. 

It is 2014.  It is time we stop pretending that women don’t burp, fart, or poop.  These are uncontrollable things that happen inside of the HUMAN body.  On that same token, we need to open our eyes and realize that women and men share many of the same experiences.  Not every woman will relate to every man but at the same time not every woman relates to every woman.  There is no doubt in my mind that Amy Schumer is playing a large role in neutralizing the way gender is viewed in comedy. However, until comedy television will be completely gendered we need to change our dialogue.  Amy Schumer is not just funny for a girl. Amy Schumer is a funny human being.

Works Cited

Delingpole, James. "Women Aren't As Funny As Men: But Why Rub It In With Sexist Quota Systems?"
     Breitbart. N.p., 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <

Maya Rudolph | Chelsea Lately. YouTube. N.p., 18 May 2011. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

De-emphasizing Romance: Warehouse 13 and the Important of Other Kinds of Love

Warehouse 13 is a show about FBI secret agents trekking around the world trying to collect and neutralize supernatural artifacts that are, as Artie Nielsen would put it: "trying to ruin the world's day," but this show has so much more to offer its fans than its compelling premise. A unique feature to the show is its lack of a central romantic plot line. The creators and writers of the show chose to focus more on the family and platonic dynamics of the show rather than the romantic relationships. This allows the show to portray to its audience the importance of other types of love and how they can be just as important as romance. Warehouse 13's emphasis on other forms of love and relationships beyond romance displays to its audience how forms of love other than romance can be just as strong, deep, important, and meaningful as romantic and sexual love.

The main two agents of the show are Pete and Myka who have a strong platonic, often described by the cast, fans, and writers as brotherly, sisterly love. They lack the normative romantic plot line. In a large portion of television shows airing today the main male and female characters often have either a romantic relationship or heavy sexual undertones that creates the "will they, won't they" feel to the dynamic throughout the series. This is something that Pete and Myka lack. Instead, the show and the actors prefer to emphasize and explore a deep platonic relationship between the characters. In an interview with TV Guide Eddie McClintock, the actor for Pete, states: "Pete and Myka are not together because they don't want to be! It would be like kissing your sister" (Jeffery). Joanne Kelly who plays Myka, is surprised by the suggestions of Pete and Myka becoming romanic. She feels and portrays the relationship as friendship. They don't need romance because their bond is just as strong as any romantic couple's could be. In the episode "Secret Service" Pete tells Myka that she is the most important person in his life. This line points out that romance does not have to be the ultimate in someone's life. A platonic relationship can be the most important relationship for a person. We see this in Pete and Myka's relationship with each other as they banter back and forth, pick on each other, and rely on each other for emotional support. When Myka discovered she had ovarian cancer in season four she did not tell anyone except Pete. When he found out he played the part of concerned brother by urging her to go to the doctor and providing the emotional support she needed during such a scary time. He displayed his love and concern for her in this instance, but it didn't need to be because they were in love that he cared for her. They are friends, and that is why he cares. These two characters are the world to each other, and the show emphasizes the fact that this doesn't mean they have to be romantic. They can have a platonic relationship and still love each other as strongly as a romantic couple would.

Platonic love is one important type of love for the show, but familial love also plays a large role in the show, epecially for the character Claudia who is introduced in her debut episode trying to save the life of her brother. Right off the bat, before the audience knows anything about the character she is portrayed as a young woman who would go to any lengths necessary to save her brother's life even if that included going to prison or losing her own life. She kidnapped Artie in order to get his help in freeing her brother from the alternate dimension he'd been stuck in. At each attempt she would get weaker and weaker, closer to death, but she refused to give up even after Artie's excessive cautioning. She spent ten years trying to figure out how to save her brother. She never gave up on him. Other shows on television today do emphasize how strong family bonds can be, but by spring-boarding Claudia's character off of this strong and unbreakable love for her brother the show explores just what it means to love your family. It offers to the audience the suggestion that you can love your family as deeply as you would your lover. This
instance is not the only time Claudia is willing to risk her life for someone she loves. In season four she takes the risk with a dangerous artifact in order to bring her best friend back to life after he's murdered by one of the warehouse villains. Despite the many warnings and the resistance she faced from many of the other characters Claudia refuses to give up, and brings Jinks back at the danger of her own life. We see through Claudia that love can compel you to do whatever it takes for the people you care about, and they don't have to be romantic interests for you to care strongly enough about them to do anything to help them. Claudia is the character who shows to the audience how deeply familial and platonic love can go. She is the perfect example that you can love your family and your friends so deeply that you would put your own life on the line for them.

Artie is the character who displays many different kinds of love, exposing not only the suggestion that one can love as deeply platonically as one can romantically,
but also that you can have so many different types of love just in one single person. Throughout the show Artie displays platonic, romantic, familial, professional, and even love for one's enemies. The most obvious love in Artie's life is one that is displayed in almost every episode since Claudia's debut, paternal love. Ever since Claudia's character joined the show she and Artie have had a close father/ daughter relationship. He looks out for her, makes sure she is taken care of, and desires her success in everything she does. This portrayal of their character relationship is very intentional between the actors. As it's stated by Saul Rubenik and Allison Scagliotti in this clip the two of them have grown since the beginning of the show into a deep familial love for each other. Artie looks out for Claudia and tries to protect her while she is young, and as she grows up he allows her the freedom to grow and do things on her own. In the episode "Trials," Artie gives Claudia her first real mission as an official agent and allows her to go out into the field alone, meanwhile he sneaks along to watch from the sidelines as she succeeds on her mission. He plays the father to Claudia when she has no one else. Another important relationship in Artie's life is his romantic interest, Vanessa, who is established in the show early in season one. This is the longest running and strongest romantic relationship in the show, but it is not emphasized in Artie's life as the most important. It is just another way in which he is capable of loving someone. Vanessa is important to him, but she is not the only important type of love in his life. One of I think, Artie's most interesting relationships is the one he has with an old partner which is explored in season one of the series. This man, MacPherson, used to be an old colleague of Artie's, but as the time passed he became corrupt and an enemy of the warehouse.  However, despite his status as one of the villains in the show Artie does not hate him. In fact, it is clear as MacPherson lays dying on the floor at the end of season one that Artie
 still cares a great deal for him despite the fact that the two of them are supposed to be enemies. This is an exploration of forbidden love; however, it's not forbidden romantic love. They were once very close partners with the same type of relationship Pete and Myka have now; however, they were forced apart due to choices MacPherson made that Artie disagreed with. The show states through this relationship that we can even love the people that we are supposed to hate, which is a dynamic that not many shows care to explore. These are only a few examples of all the different types of love in Artie's life throughout the show. It does not include the relationships he has with his own father, his boss, or even the people they are trying to protect from artifacts. Artie is a character which shows just how many types of love a person can have within their life.

In the Syfy show Warehouse 13 both the actors and the writers frame the show to emphasize the importance of types of love beyond romantic love through their portrayals of the main characters and the types of relationships they have. In most television shows the main relationship between the lead male and female would be romantic, but in Warehouse 13 the characters of Pete and Myka have a strictly platonic relationship, which both the show and the actors make quite clear. The show displays through these two that you don't have to be in romantic love with each other in order to be the most important person for each other. Through the character of Claudia the show emphasizes just how deeply a person can care about the ones they love even if those people aren't romantic lovers. Claudia is introduced as a character who is willing to put her own life on the line to save her brother which shows how strong family love can be. She does the same thing for her best friend, Jinks. She shows how strong love can be even when it isn't romantic. The character of Artie is an example of how many types of love a single person  can have in their life. Artie not only has the longest running and strongest romantic relationship in the show, but his strongest relationship is the father/daughter relationship he has with Claudia. The show even explores through Artie the love one can have for their enemies. Without making romantic love look less important or inferior to other forms of love Warehouse 13 uses its characters and their dynamics with one another to legitimize the importance and necessity of love beyond just romantic love.

Works Cited

Jeffery, Morgan. "'Warehouse 13' Joanne Kelly Rules out Myka, Pete Romance."Digital SpyTV Guide, 13 July 20111. Web. 03 May 2014.

Mote, Brent. "Secret Services." Warehouse 13. 21 Apr. 2014. Television.

Mote, Brent. "Trials." Warehouse 13. Syfy. 18 July 20111. Television.

Gender Bender

Abbi & Ilana

The comedy Broad City started as a web series, created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson.  In 2014, it was picked up by Comedy Central with executive producer Amy Poehler.  The series tells the story of two best friends, Ilana and Abbi, as they go about their daily lives making ordinary tasks entertaining.  They are in their mid-twenties, living in New York on a low budget income, while still trying to spice up their lives by attending various functions around the City.  Broad City gives a modern representation of females defying gender norms, while illustrating the Millennial generation’s lack of desire to take on responsibility.

Ilana is the carefree, spunky one.  She likes to smoke weed, hang out with her friends, and constantly comes up with creative ways to get out of work.  She has an office job, but she never takes it seriously.  She shows up to work hours late, dressed in crop tops or see-through shirts, and has a routine of sleeping in the bathroom.  She is never actually seen doing any work.  Abbi is the more quite, artistic one.  She likes to draw and hopes to one day make a career out of it.  Until then, to pay the bills, she works at a gym called Soulstice as a cleaner.  She constantly has to do bitch work, like unclog toilets or deal with “pube situations” in the locker rooms.  Even though she is older than Ilana, Abbi hides behind Ilana’s shadow.  She is more reserved and needs some time to break out of her shell.  Ilana and Abbi are very close and comfortable with each other; their friendship resembles that of an intimate relationship.

The girls on Broad City closely resemble the guys on Workaholics.  They’re both about a group of close friends in their mid-twenties that like to do drugs, get drunk, and mess around.  The guys on Workaholics work in an office, but are never actually seen doing any work.  They like to play games in the office or pull pranks on each other.  Their cubical resembles the opposite of a professional workspace.  This is similar to how Ilana is at her job.  She has mastered the art of sleeping with her eyes open and has a pillow that she stores under her desk so she can sleep in the bathroom.  She consistently finds excuses to leave the office for hours at a time and never takes her boss seriously.  The guys in Workaholics are often shown smoking bowls and drinking in their house, while the Broad City girls are often seen smoking blunts and parading around the City.  Broad City is like the girl version of Workaholics, exemplifying that Abbi and Ilana can be just as carefree and crazy as Blake, Anders, and Adam.

Video chatting during sex
Abbi and Ilana are the best of friends.  They are constantly together and are very open with each other.  The first episode opens with Ilana video chatting Abbi looking at her vibrator with a Post-It note attached to it, saying “Tuesday 7am.”  We soon find out Ilana is in the middle of having sex, with the computer rested on Lincoln’s chest.  Lincoln is the guy Ilana is casually hooking up with.  He has mentioned a few times that he would like to be more than a hook up with Ilana, but she is not really interested.  Broad City shows females in a typical male role.  Normally girls are the ones depicted as the more relationship-oriented ones and are not often shown using vibrators or being the dominant one during sex.  Generally, guys are the ones shown objectifying women, but in the second episode, Ilana and Abbi sit in a park and check out the guys in the surrounding area, stating whether or not they would sleep with that guy.  Most women are taught they need to act like ladies and do “lady-like” things, such as, not sleeping around or not talking about bathroom issues.  In the fifth episode, “Abbi is sick of being Abbi so she kicks open a stall door in the men’s bathroom (after she bypasses the women’s room) and spots a pale, horrified guy doing cocaine, she happily decides to join” (Viruet). Then in the seventh episode, Abbi has people over at her apartment, one of them being her neighbor Jeremy, whom she has a huge crush on.  After she uses the bathroom, she realizes it won’t flush and freaks out.  Ilana says she will take care of it so that no one has to know.  The two girls do not hide anything from each other and are more comfortable with each other than most people would admit.

Ilana and Abbi have a girl version of a bromance.  Ilana has made many comments about how she would hook up with Abbi if it were possible, but the two girls are very affectionate toward each other.  “Ilana and Abbi have a dedicated best friendship that is a constant source of delight and support, a co-dependence that’s sustaining, not undermining.  It’s a relationship that trumps crappy jobs and bad roommate situations and niggling worries, and permits both women to be exactly who they are” (Paskin).  Ilana is constantly encouraging Abbi to step out of her comfort zone and explore new things.  Abbi is not respected at her job, and Ilana disagrees with how much Abbi puts up with.  In the finale the girls go out to a fancy seafood restaurant to celebrate Abbi’s 26th birthday.  They get all dressed up, smoke a blunt, and start ordering the seafood platters Abbi’s dad already paid for.  Midway through dinner Ilana’s face starts to break out and swell because she is allergic to seafood.  When Abbi goes to use Ilana’s EpiPen, she misses and then decides to pick Ilana up and carry her to the hospital.  The scene ends with the two girls cuddling in the hospital bed together.  “Abbi and Ilana are not an odd couple, but perfect partners in crime” (Paskin).  They always have each other’s back and would go above and beyond for one another. 

Broad City like Workaholics shows a group of friends in their mid-twenties that aren’t really ready to take on the responsibilities life throws at them.  Ilana refuses to take her job seriously and is constantly doing anything she can to get out of doing any actual work, similar to how the guys are in Workaholics.  Ilana does not have concrete career goals.  Even though Abbi likes to draw, she never does anything that can help advance her career.  She continuously hints at work that she would like to become a trainer, but she never actually tries to advance on becoming one.  Both the girls live in apartments with random roommates and don’t really care to change anything.  Abbi lives with a girl that we never see but her boyfriend is constantly in their apartment playing video games and eating Abbi’s food rent-free.  “Today’s twentysomethings are taking longer than their predecessors to complete school, leave the nest, become financially independent, and start families” (Williams).  In one episode Ilana decides she is going to try to do her taxes.  After trying for a short period of time, she gives up and mails them to her parents, saying last year they got me like $600.  Abbi says I think they are just sending you money.  The girls are content with how their lives are and don’t really care to take any big steps towards adulthood.

Ilana and Abbi love to party, smoke weed, and mess around.  They are best friends that can always count on each other for support or a good time.  They don’t need a dating relationship when they have each other to fall back on.  They often refer to each other as “dude” or “bitch” but mean it in an endearing way.  They strive to bring out the best in each other, while neglecting to take on any major responsibilities.  The comedy appeals to the Millennial generation that can relate to the desired lack of growing up.  Broad City demonstrates that girls be just as easy going as guys. 

Television viewing has seemingly become repetitive over the years. I often find myself watching television programs containing close to similar story plots, with no sense of reality. Their only difference being the characters that partake in these television series.
Growing up in the 90’s I became accustomed to what I then believed to be fresh and/or original television series that very closely described real life topics. Issues on these sitcoms ranged from family troubles, to life lessons and even learning life morals. Throughout the years it seems that television programming has lost touch with what family or even real happiness means (granted family and happiness can have very different definitions for all.)
With television networks expanding, viewers now are less restricted on what shows even channels they choose to watch. In other words, many more channels have been added to cable and even local television stations that we are now given endless amounts of options to choose from. I argue that if television viewers are privileged enough to have multiple channels to choose from, why then is programming lacking intellectuality and originality compared to what it used to be; to clearly state my opinion on the issue I use a variety of television shows throughout my blog to explain the lack of real life issue integration (intellectuality) along with the loss of originality.
It’s safe to assume that we’ve all watched at least one episode of Boy Meets World. For those who haven’t I am terribly sorry you are missing out on one of the best shows of the 90’s! The short version of BMW begins with a young boy experiencing life at a very young age along with his family (The Matthews), friends (Shawn and Topanga), and their next-door neighbor (Mr. Feeney!) All episodes of the series deal with a lesson being learned at the end of the program (most of the time it is Cory.) The plots of the episodes all deal with variations of cheating, lying, and family problems. Season 2 episode 23, deals with family. The Matthews family takes Shawn (Cory’s best friend) in after his father leaves; upon feeling like he is only in the way he chooses to sneak out. He is then given a lecture about getting his shit together by Mr. Turner whose house he has snuck off to.
LIke BMW, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air dealt with many life lessons.  These lessons included Will moving to Bel-Air to experience a better life, but also discussed issues of pregnancy and other important life things. (You get the picture.)
Between these two television series, family and life elements were very well summarized. Not all families are perfect and the fact that television was presenting that to kids was important growing up. Children were not only learning that families are meant to have disagreements but also that they could resolve their issues. The Matthews were a perfect representation of the ideal working middle class family. Both parents were hard working, while maintaining stable relationships with their children. Morals were well taught growing up and children worked for rewards. Season 2 episode 3 of the FPBA, Will is advised to get a job if he plans on going to the prom.  Items and money were not just handed to children on these shows, rather they were taught to earn things for themselves.

Steven Winzenburg states that TV reality can be described through two types; “experiential or perceived, in which viewers can then choose to relate to the reality or reject the reality by distancing themselves from it.” Winzeburg’s definitions bring up my next point..
The 2000’s really brought in what started the beginning of reality TV programs. Series slowly began to lose touch with good life based qualities that we had grown accustomed to. The idea of perceived reality makes sense with shows such as Laguna Beach, The Osbournes, even The Real Housewives series. Programs as such framed “reality” as glamour 24/7 and viewers chose to relate to that lifestyle, while others assumingly chose to view it as a world not experienced by them but ultimately what was “real life.” Shows such as Teen Mom and Sixteen & Pregnant, show dysfunction within family life.

Over the years television viewing has changed. I can sit here and complain about how ‘terrible’ the shows on the air seem to be, but that will not fix the problems (or what I see as problems.) The reality of the situation is this; programs are lacking the incorporation of real life concepts and most shows have also lost their originality. We are frequently running into what Paul O’Grady refers to as “copycat cookery,” New ideas are not being implemented, which can be part of why shows like BMW and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are no longer being made. Rather when reality television hit the scene, we became hooked to following the lives of people who we thought were interesting. Networks such as Bravo, TLC, and VH1 followed each other after witnessing the success of one another. Leading to believe that this caused the industry to lose the ‘real life’ aspect and of course, the originality.

In conclusion, television series have lost both a sense of reality as well as originality. Viewers are attracted to shows that show dysfunction because we can then see our life as well put together. Viewing television through the years changing, and we adapt.

Winzeburg, Stephen Tv’s Greatest Sitcoms. Publish America, 2004    

Day & Night, Paul O’Grady Complains that TV Shows Have No Originality. Express UK. 2014

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” IMDB N.P, N.D. Web. (Season 2, episode 3)

“Boy Meets World.” IMDB N.P, N.D. Web. (Season 2, episode 23)