Media and Society Professors and Students Featured About Reality TV – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Media and Society Professors and Students Featured About Reality TV

Professors Iva Deutchman and Linda Robertson and William Smith students Sara Dacey and JoAnn Waller were quoted in an article from the Feb. 2 Finger Lakes Times titled “Must-see TV: Shows are created, popular because we keep watching.” The article focused on reality shows and why people watch them.

“Yes, Americans are infatuated with reality TV,” said Deutchman, co-director of the Media and Society Program. “We enjoy watching people who are less well-off than we are — it makes us feel better — or we actually learn things and work out issues through watching. I think their appeal is widespread and that people get enjoyment — and perhaps more — from watching.”

Robertson agreed. “There are different kinds of reality shows. Some exploit this fascination at watching or taking pleasure in the pain of others,” said Robertson, the other co-director of the Media and Society Program. “Other kinds of shows are about sex and money. “It serves the purpose of cultural reproduction, that it really does tend to validate doing anything to get sex or doing anything to get money, that no violation of your own privacy and own sense of personal integrity is too great.”

Waller, a senior, finds the shows in a steady decline. “It's interesting because with earlier shows like the 'Real World' it seemed to be more real and then they came out with other ones that just aren't sending good messages,” she said.

Senior Sara Dacey said “The Real World” became part of her regular viewing habits, mainly because she could relate to some of the characters. Her favorite parts of any season include times when a connection is made between any of the seven strangers living in the house and also when she sees people changing for the better as a result of the experience.