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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because everyone will have those and I don't like having what everyone else has.” –Female, 27, FL

The future of the on-demand economy is shaping up, and soon anything you might need or want, from toothpaste to kittens, could be delivered to you in a snap. Grocery delivery app Instacart tapped into this “I want it now” mentality for some smart Halloween marketing: Seattle residents can use the app to order last-minute costumes that arrive in one hour. The startup conceived the campaign after receiving costume requests from many of their customers, and the service will be active until 8pm tonight. (Instacart)

Last week, we wrote that brands could learn some marketing tricks from Taylor Swift, and her social media skills continue to impress. Vulture has a break down of why Swift is the “reigning queen of celebrity social media,” where she acts like her fans’ best friend, interacts with them personally, and uses each platform the way they do. On Monday, she used Twitter to put those fans in the spotlight, reposting pictures of them posing with her new album on her own feed with the hashtag #taylurking, a reference to the fact that she was lurking on her followers’ profiles. (Vulture)

Older Millennials grew up with the internet, which means they remember its humble design beginnings, and how social media got its start—after all, they were at the center of it. The internet has come a long way in a relatively short time, but there is a growing nostalgia for Web 1.0, the good old days when “everything was smaller,” “close-knit,” and “DIY.” This nostalgia is fueling the design of some of the newest apps and networks, which emphasize intimacy, self-expression, and minimalism. (Gizmodo)

Young consumers have a different set of retail experience expectations, and while many till prefer in-store, there is no doubt that mobile and online are a very big part of their shopping behavior. So what are their digital retail tastes and habits? 55% use multiple devices to shop, and 71% of females do their online shopping at home versus the 77% of males who do it on-the-go. Their biggest frustrations include slow load times, slow checkout, lack of interactive features, and small/fuzzy images. Those images are important—55% overall, and 72% of females, say they “couldn’t live without pictures when shopping on mobile devices.” (Inc.)

Richie Rich is being rebooted for a new generation. A live-action Richie Rich show from AwesomenessTV is coming to Netflix in 2015. The story of the self-made child millionaire was first a comic book in the 1950s, then reinvented for ‘90s kids in the movie starring Macaulay Caulkin. In this modernized iteration, Richie is a trillionaire who earned his bucks inventing and selling green technology. (KidscreenMashable)

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