Death and Reality TV: Has Reality Gotten Too Real?

This week, MTV is dealing with the fall-out from the death of one of their reality stars. Shain Gandee, a castmember of the Jersey Shore in Appalachia show Buckwild, and two companions died of accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning while going late-night off-roading—a pastime that Shain was often shown enjoying on the show.
 
The death of the reality star has some questioning the future of the show, which had begun filming its second season. But a larger question could also be asked about the future of reality TV at large: has the line been crossed where the fun antics that once drew young viewers in, have too heavy a consequence to keep them watching? Did everything just get a little too real?
 
Young viewers want reality TV that lifts them up, or makes them feel better about themselves through the magic of schadenfreude. But when the scale tips too far in the side of morose, the fun of watching comes to a screeching halt. Reality TV holds a unique place in entertainment for viewers, who love to see “real” people with over-the-top drama, but are wary of being too reminded of the stresses or sadnesses of their own lives while watching. It’s possible that Gen Y viewers could turn away from the genre of reality as it exists now if it continues to showcase the things in life they’d just rather not see.
 
Reality TV charts new territory when it comes to where the boundaries between public and private lie. Though the shows might have a staff of writers, these are real people being featured, so hiding their flaws and tragedies is not a possibility. This is not the first death of a reality star that has been glaringly played out in the public spotlight. Bravo drew criticism for continuing with the second season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after the death of Russell Armstrong, the…

 
 
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Quote of the Day: “I haven’t had children yet because I prefer to breed with an intelligent female, but none of them are single.” –Male, 30, KY

Instagram is reporting that their first native advertising tests have been a success. According to the network, Taco Bell reached 12.5 million 18-44-year-olds in the U.S. with their campaign, and saw a significant lift in ad recall. Chobani reached 4 million 18-54-year-olds, and was able to shift perceptions away from the idea that their product was only for breakfast. Chobani’s tips for Instagram success include avoiding professional looking shots, and not overbranding. These results echo our prediction that Snapshot Marketing is an essential next step for brands, and that content should fit in with what is already being created by consumers. (Mashable)

Instagram is reporting that their first native advertising tests have been a success. According to the network, Taco Bell reached 12.5 million 18-44-year-olds in the U.S. with their campaign, and saw a significant lift in ad recall. Chobani reached 4 million 18-54-year-olds, and was able to shift perceptions away from the idea that their product was only for breakfast. Chobani’s tips for Instagram success include avoiding professional looking shots, and not overbranding. These results echo our prediction that Snapshot Marketing is an essential next step for brands, and that content should fit in with what is already being created by consumers. (Mashable)

Today’s teens and tweens might be finding much of their entertainment online and in short doses, but in other ways they are being given an entertainment experience that sometimes feels photocopied from older Millennials’ childhoods. Case in point: Sony is producing a reboot of the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise, continuing the trend of ‘90s films and TV being revisited for a new wave of young viewers. (Jezebel)

Millennials drew the short stick when it comes to economic security, but they may be getting their financial bearings. In 2013, the income of young Americans' households actually rose 10.5% from the year before. In previous years, households headed by 15-24-year-olds generally dropped more than other age groups. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the recession's impact on the generation is overcome, it is a hopeful sign that not as much damage was done as was feared. (WSJ)

We’re in the midst of a fashion speed tug of war, with some brands leaning into fast fashion and others extolling a less is more attitude. But those brands who feel they need to keep up with the Forever 21s of the world should take note: Patagonia’s “anti-fast fashion” message is paying off. The clothing company has been encouraging customers to buy less, famously running ads that say “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” and their profits have tripled since 2008. (Business Insider)

Teen drug use, binge drinking, and smoking are all on the decline, according to a new federal report. The study found that substance dependence or abuse problems among 12-17-year-olds dropped from 8.9% to 5.2% from 2002 and 2013, and rates of drug abuse went from close to 12% to under 9%. However, the reasons behind these drops is somewhat of a mystery, as the percentage of teens who have seen prevention messages during the same time period has actually declined. (CBSNewsweek)

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