Reality TV Presentation


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WEEK 2 – Theorizing the “reality” in reality TV
Readings: Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and and Simulations” (1981); Jon Kraszewski, “Country
Hicks and Urban Cliques: Mediating Race, Reality, and Liberalism on
MTV’s The Real World” (2009)
Screenings: The Real World, season 1 episode 1 (1992); “The Montreal Screwjob,” episode of
Radiolab podcast (February 24, 2015)
WEEK 3 – Reality TV history
Readings: Bradley D. Clissold, “Candid Camera and the Origins of Reality TV: Contextualizing
a Historical Precedent” (2004); Lauren Hubbard and Kathryn Mathers,
“Surviving American Empire in Africa: The Anthropology of Reality
Television” (2004)
Screenings: Candid Camera; Survivor (Africa), season 3, episode (2000) alternate Survivor link
WEEK 4 – Reality TV production
Readings: Vicki Mayer, “Cast-aways: The Plights and Pleasures of Reality Casting and
Production Studies” (2014); David Arditi, “The Voice: non-disclosure
agreements and the hidden political economy of reality TV” (2020); Junhow
Wei, “Dealing with Reality: Market demands, artistic integrity, and identity
work in reality television production” (2012); Tanner Mirrlees “Reality TV’s
Low-Wage and No-Wage Work” (2015) – individual students will be
assigned 2 of these 4 readings
Screenings: Unreal, season 1, episode 1 (2015)
WEEK 5 – Celebrity and selfhood – performing identity through reality TV
Readings: Laura Grindstaff and Susan Murray, “Reality Celebrity: Branded Affect and the
Emotion Economy” (2015); Michael Lovelock, “Catching a Catfish:
Constructing the “Good” Social Media User in Reality Television” (2017)
Screenings: The Real Housewives of Orange County, season 1, episode 1 (2006); Catfish: The TV
Show, season 8, episode 34 (2021)
WEEK 6 – Reality TV and gender norms
Readings: Jonathan Gray, “Cinderella Burbs: Gender, Performativity, and the Dating Show”
(2009); Susan Alexander and Katie Woods, “Reality Television and the
Doing of Hyperauthentic Masculinities” (2019)
Screenings: Love Is Blind, season 1, episode 1 (or Love Is Blind Japan or Love Is Blind Brazil if
you have seen the American show); Alone season 7, episode 1
WEEK 7 – Race and ethnicity on reality TV
Readings: Grace Wang, “A Shot at Half-Exposure: Asian Americans in Reality TV Shows”
(2010); Raquel Gates, “Embracing the Ratchet: Reality Television and
Strategic Negativity” (2018)
Screenings: Top Chef, season and episode TBA; Project Runway, season and episode TBA
WEEK 8 – LGBTQ issues in reality TV
Readings: Joshua Gamson, “It’s Been a While Since I’ve Seen, Like, Straight People”: Queer
Visibility in the Age of Postnetwork Reality Television” (2014); Jonathan
Ward, “Serving ‘Reality’ Television ‘Realness’: Reading RuPaul’s Drag
Race and Its Construction of Reality” (2020)
Screenings: RuPaul’s Drag Race, season and episode TBA; Queer Eye (or Queer Eye Germany)
season and episode TBA
WEEK 9 – Politics and reality TV
Readings: Wing Shan How, “Chinese Supermom: Re-Domesticating Women in Reality TV
Shows” (2021); Gregg Elmer and Paula Todd, “Don’t Be a Loser: Or How
Trump Turned the Republican Primaries into an Episode of The Apprentice”
Screenings: Dancing with the stars, season 28, episode 1 (2019); The Masked Singer, season 7,
episode TBA
Here are the topics from others, so do not choose the same from below:
“Worst Roommate Ever” from Netflix and intertwining docuseries and reality theories “Too Hot
to Handle” from Netflix
Surveillance of Love Island and Tiktok
Caso Cerrado
Selling Sunset
Dance Moms
Spoilers in Reality TV (specifically The Bachelor franchise) Single’s Inferno: The Rising
Popularity of Rooting for the Underdog Webcast culture
Vlog Culture
The Kardashians from Hulu
I Am Sophie and family vlogs, youtube in general
YouTube influencers as reality celebrities & drama channels
The Simple Life
A Million Dollar Listing LA

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