Reality tv dating affects on teens

Reality stars, unlike their scripted counterparts, outlive their shows, and sometimes find ways to defy them.

For millions of viewers, the story of Lance Loud began in 1973, but it didn’t really end until his death, from hepatitis C and H. V., in 2001, at the dawn of the reality-television era that he helped inspire.

Her contribution, which wasn’t mentioned on the cover, appeared in the back of the magazine, after the listings, tucked between an advertisement for Virginia Slims and a profile of Shelley Winters.

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She is aghast at the cosmetic-surgery makeover show “The Swan,” which she calls “the most sadistic reality series of the decade.” (The second and final season was broadcast in 2004, so Pozner’s superlative arrives too late to be of any use to the show’s publicists.) And she is scarcely kinder to “What Not to Wear,” a nonsurgical makeover show in which, she writes, “an ethnically and economically diverse string of women are ridiculed for failing to conform to a single upper-middle-class, mainstream-to-conservative, traditionally feminine standard of fashion and beauty.” For Pozner, the ridicule is more vivid, and therefore more effective, than whatever rote transformation comes next.

There is an expectedly acerbic analysis of “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” one of the first shots fired in the current reality revolution (it aired on Fox, as a one-time special, in February, 2000), in which the winner of a televised beauty pageant agreed to marry, sight unseen, a “multimillionaire”—who, it later emerged, was possibly a thousandaire, and definitely the target of a restraining order filed by a former girlfriend.

That show was a gleeful train wreck, powered by its female contestants’ desperation to be picked, which is to say, married.

In an era of televised precocity—ambitious HBO dramas, cunningly self-aware sitcoms—reality shows still provide a fat target for anyone seeking symptoms or causes of American idiocy; the popularity of unscripted programming has had the unexpected effect of ennobling its scripted counterpart.

The same people who brag about having seen every episode of “Friday Night Lights” will brag, too, that they have never laid eyes on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Reality television is the television of television.

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