By Caroline O'Connor
Whether it’s after a long day of school or on a Sunday evening flipping through the DVR, everyone seems to find time to watch those "guilty pleasure" television shows. As much as some people hate to admit it, these shows have a way of pulling them in after just a few episodes. It must be something about being the "fly on the wall" in the lives of other people that keeps viewers tuned in for hours. Their unscripted drama and humorous situations beg the question, "Can they show that on TV?"
The Kardashian-Jenner gang on E’s Keeping Up with Kardashians keeps viewers watching by being America’s favorite family that is famous for being famous. Now in their sixth season, according to chacha.com, the show has 4.1 million viewers supporting them through every episode. These girls are filmed preparing for nude photo shoots and engaging in activities that make even the viewers feel a little uncomfortable. Some might enjoy watching these types of things, but the show definitely pushes the limit of what should be filmed and what should remain the family’s private business.
MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant bring a new level of controversy to television. Following the struggles of four teenage mothers in the first moments of their babies’ lives is not appropriate subject matter for television. It seems as if cameras will travel anywhere, filmiing without limitations. How risky does subject matter need to be for producers to limit their shows?
Perhaps most shockingly of all, Bravo decided to run the latest season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills despite the death of cast member Taylor Armstrong’s husband, Russell Armstrong. On Aug 15, Russell Armstrong was found dead in his apartment in an apparent suicide that was rumored to be a result of the pressures of the show. If his death did not halt the airing of the program, what will? With actions such as these, it is doubtful whether producers consider ethics at all when deciding what to put on air.
The overall mental health and safety of reality stars should not be jeopardized in the interest of pure entertainment. Whenever it begins to appear that reality stars have all the glitz and glam of the perfect lifestyle, it should be acknowledged that trading privacy for fame sometimes has a price.