We all love to be sucked into our favourite television shows or ‘binge-watch’ Netflix until our eyes are squared. But how can we notice the difference between reality television and scripted television?
Let’s start by taking a look at the infamous TV shows like The Only Way Is Essex, Desperate Scouse Wives or Made in Chelsea. These shows focus on people’s lives and follow them through scandals, relationship break ups, weddings and so on. Yet, are they beneficial to watch?
We all love a good scream-match like we see on Jeremy Kyle where we find out if he really is the father or if she did cheat in her relationship, but are we really getting a good story out of these shows?
The locational shows are very stereotypical. For example, in Desperate Scouse Wives, the women would be walking around in pyjamas or wearing rollers in their hair; Made in Chelsea sees the upper-class eating caviar and wearing suits. Does this really portray these well-known cities in the correct way?
If we compare it to our beloved soaps, Coronation Street, Eastendersor Emmerdale, it appears we have more stories to follow and are hit with controversial topics. This is because writers want you to feel for your favourite characters and make you think about the world around you. For example, March 2018 saw the rape of David Platt in Manchester’s notorious soap, Coronation Street.
Male rape is something that does, unfortunately, happen and a bit of a taboo topic in our society. Corrie fans have seen David Platt grow on our screens and see the young man he has become, so it pulled our heart-strings to see him spiked and raped by new ‘friend’ Josh. Research shows that since the episode aired, the percentage of men reporting rape or sexual assault increased to 1,700%.
It is said that Eastenders will be showing a knife-crime storyline due to the rise of knife crimes in London.
We never see situations like this shown on reality TV, and obviously this is because it would be incredibly inconsiderate for cameras to film situations discussing these topics regarding real people, whereas, scripted television can have this happen to a fictional character to promote awareness. The likes of Netflix are also using their own shows to promote awareness, such as Thirteen Reasons Why.
As a society, we enjoy watching real people enter TV competitions or watch celebs be thrown into the Australian jungle and survive for three weeks, but why should we care? Reality TV is very much for sheer entertainment purposes, which can be enjoyable. Scripted TV can do the exact same with shows like Friends or The Big Bang Theory, but it is easier for writers to pull on our heart strings and have things happen to fictional characters rather than reality.
They can time when things go right or wrong. They can make you fall in love.
They can raise issues that are taboo in society.