Reality Rules (or does it?)

Reality rules in a world of fake, AI and so-called reality TV.

Most people would say the last time they watched any kind of reality TV where the content was actually true ‘Fly on the Wall’ stuff was decades ago. Reality TV and documentaries now exist as contrived pieces of visual content designed to shock and keep the viewers watching. Despite accepting this, we still manage to consume more than 600 different reality shows (according to Not only that, but many have managed to produce multiple seasons.

So why the need for so much fakeness which let’s be honest is extremely difficult to attain in everyday life. From the very first hair product advert which showed the silkiest, most incredible style (as long as you didn’t step outside like ever), we accept these because we know deep down they are over-egged. Even those adverts which actually have the nerve to say at the bottom – ‘for demonstration purposes only’ or this does not represent the real product’ have us fooled enough into buying them on a visual level.

This makes me wonder how Dating sites fare in this day and age? It’s no good photoshopping the hell out of your profile pic, only for the poor recipient to not be able to recognise you when you meet. Many of these dating sites have now of course produced apps also for use on your mobile device, which makes the urge to ‘tidy up’ your profile picture even more pronounced. Before you’ve realised what you’ve done, your profile picture looks more like your fave celebrity, than you! Anyone on Bumble or Tinder knows how fast you can swipe left or right and so that all important profile picture needs to hit the spot right away. Therefore the temptation to indulge in these improvements is overwhelming.

Interestingly, we’re not seeing too many AI programmes designed to help you when you meet your all-important date looking nothing like your profile pic!

So, what next for the world of AI and Reality shows? Perhaps we’ll go full circle and come back to the likes of ‘Candid Camera’, ‘The American Sportsman’ or the infamous ‘An American Family’. ‘An American Family’ is actually widely credited for being the absolute first of the reality TV genre that we all know and love. Its launch in 1973 was heralded as a first and the producer Craig Gilbert Producer Craig Gilbert "set out to capture the living patterns and mentality of a fairly typical middle-America household but instead recorded the drama of a family in the process of coming apart." Surely for anyone who likes to see the guts of any individual shared on national (or international) TV, they won’t mind either way.

However, there is a group of people who are looking to redress the balance and make the world of advertising and entertainment real again. For anyone who watched the sitcom ‘The Royale Family’ you’ll know and understand exactly how humdrum everyday life really is. Despite its hilarity and amazing cast members, it could have been mistaken for a revised take on Andy Warhol’s 1965 film called ‘Empire’. This 8 hour and 5 minute film showed slow motion footage of New Yorks ‘Empire State Building’. No characters, no plot twist just the straightforward passage of time that goes on all around us, always, which is generally pretty ordinary and boring!

Sometimes it really is best to stand back and examine what is in front of you. Take time to decide for yourself whether it is real or not. It doesn’t mean you can’t spend an evening entertaining yourself with the latest and greatest ‘reality show’ but you really do need to understand and accept that it’s not actually REAL!


Written by Michelle Marriott

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