WATCH one episode of *any* show from the following subgenres (you do not have to watch the specific shows provided as examples): competition (Survivor, X-Factor), fishbowl (Big Brother), soap opera style (Real Housewives, Love & Hip Hop), subcultures (Gypsy Sisters, Shahs of Sunset, Sister Wives), professional training/activities (Ice Road Truckers, Million Dollar Listing, American Chopper, Deadliest Catch), Self-Improvement (Queer Eye, Hoarders, Intervention), Renovation (Flip or Flop, Love It or List It), Paranormal (Paranormal State, Ghost Hunters).
Do not watch selections from the following genres as they will not work as well with the readings: true crime shows (<link is hidden> Forensic Files), Docuseries (<link is hidden> The Tiger King), or “high brow” science programming (<link is hidden> Cosmos).
PROMPT 1 (Chapter 5): After reading the chapter and watching your show, write roughly one paragraph in response to the prompt below.
Butler & Reality TV: Consider one or more of the following: how television constructs reality, how it depicts the “historical world” or “historical reality,” contestants or participants as “social actors,” how your show bears marks of “hyperreality,” how your show fits into one or more of the specific “forms and modes” Butler presents, and/or how your show fits within (or doesn’t!) existing reality TV genres.
PROMPT 2 (Bignell): After reading Bignell and listening to/watching my voiceover lecture, write roughly one paragraph in response to the prompt below:
Realism and Reality TV Formats: Bignell provides three types of realism to help us parse out what happens to reality on these programs. For this answer, apply Type 2 (representational) and Type 3 (reflexive/analytical) to the episode you watched. The lecture will help you understand these types. Ultimately, your goal is to explain a) how the show manipulates “recognizable and often contemporary experience” and encourages the “analysis of reality.” Bignell provides a brilliant framework for examining not just how reality is modified or manipulated, but also how we’re always aware that what we’re watching is not actual real. Let’s get meta, shall we?