Understanding Reality Television

By Zrzavy, Phyllis Scrocco | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), March 2006 | Go to article overview

Understanding Reality Television


Zrzavy, Phyllis Scrocco, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Understanding Reality Television Su Holmes and Deborah Jermyn, Editors. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Scholarly analyses of reality television, like the entertainment genre itself, have become a prolific industry of late. Given the plethora of contemporary writing on the subject, it is refreshing to find a text that is timely and remarkable in its scope and depth. Understanding Reality Television contains 13 international perspectives on the reality TV phenomenon and reflects a diversity of theoretical viewpoints and methodological approaches.

The first two chapters offer historical examinations. Bradley Clissold traces the origins of reality television to Alien Funt's Candid Microphone and Candid Camera shows and contextualizes these precursors of Schadenfreude television within the context of Cold War America. Jennifer Gillan traces the genesis and development of the reality star sitcom from Ozzie Nelson to Ozzy Osbourne. Both Clissold and Gillan dent the popular misperception of reality TV as an innovative concept of the modern entertainment industry.

Several semiotic chapters appraise the structural dimensions and narrative conventions of reality TV shows. Su Holmes's analysis of the construction of celebrity in Big Brother notes that the genre's emphasis on the "ordinary" person further accelerates the trend that makes media exposure eo ipso, not accomplishment or talent, the litmus test for televisual fame and celebrity status. The construction of gay identity in reality TV shows is at the heart of Christopher Pullen's chapter. He concludes that gay participants in reality TV programs are welcome as long as they adhere to recognized dramatic traits associated with gay performance, such as effeminacy, sensitivity, artistic sensibility, and isolation. Therefore, while reality TV shows like The Real World arguably offer diversity, reliance on stereotypical queer performance tends to reinscribe, and reaffirm, the hegemonic heterosexual discourse of these programs. The chapter by Rebecca Stephens examines the representations of class, race, and gender in A Wedding Story and A Baby Story. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Understanding Reality Television
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.