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: “YouTube is an ocean of entertainment. No other app can provide as much entertainment as YouTube.” –Male, 18, NY

As Millennials’ spending power begins to outpace Boomers’, what are they buying more than any other generation? The answers might surprise you. A list of ten things that young consumers are buying more often include gas station food and snakes (?!). But the rest of the list is less shocking: they’re also buying more craft beer, piercings and tattoos, same day delivery, and, of course, hot sauce. (Time)

Facebook has been upping their video game as the online content wars have heated up, and it seems to be paying off.  The social network’s recent earnings report shows a significant increase, brought on by their video growth. The report says that “billions” of videos are watched on the platform each day, and that 75% of those are on mobile. Facebook Pages (for celebrities, businesses, etc.) have reportedly been sharing 40% more video since the beginning of this year alone. (Streamdaily)

In a recent New York Times article examining campus suicide, Cornell’s director of counseling cited the pressure to look perfect on social media as an amplifier of the problem, “since students feel compelled to post smiling selfies even when they’re struggling." One female student tells New York Magazine, “When I posted [this photo], I subconsciously hoped that if I could convince others I was happy, then maybe I could believe it myself.” (NYMag)

We know Millennial men want to be hands-on dads, but some might be finding fatherhood a more difficult balance than they had planned. Researchers say that their struggles could be because workplace policies have “not caught up to changing expectations at home,” and Millennials’ more egalitarian views on parenthood. One survey found that 24% of Millennial men who had not had children expected to shoulder most of the child care responsibilities, while only 8% of those with children actually did. (NYTimes)

Though young consumers are certainly shopping from their phones, our list of their top ten favorite apps did not include any from the retail category—hinting at an opportunity for retailers to step up their mobile game. Online-only store Everlane has created an app to “cater to their biggest fans” with suggestions on what to wear based on the daily weather, and early exclusive access to items on the app only. (TechCrunch)

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