In the article "Watching TV Makes You Smarter" by Steven Johnson he talks about how TV is not necessarily "dumbing down" our society as some people have been believing. Johnson introduces the concept of the sleeper curve that pop culture is growing in complexity and becoming more sophisticated with each passing year. Good TV stimulates brain activity and forces one to think. The right shows exercises parts of the brain and engages our mind to focus on the plot. Shows today are multi-threaded dramas that increase intellect and teach us how to analyze situations. Past shows like Hill Street and the more recent show The Sopranos are multi threaded dramas that made us think critically and increased our intelligence. Reality TV changes the mental development of the younger generation for the better. It teaches the younger generation how to handle stressful situations and life experiences. Reality TV engages the mind and teaches street smarts with a dose of reality.
In the 1970's shows like All in the Family and the Mary Tyler Moore shows were cookie cutters of shows shown today. They sedated our minds and were purely for entertainment proposes only. Today’s shows engage our mind and take the opposite approach.
In conclusion Johnsons conveyance tis hat the true test is whether a show engages our minds or sedate it. To “determine what really is cognitive junk food and what is generally nourishing”.
Reality TV is becoming more outrageous in order to get more people to watch TV so that the ratings go up. However, it’s becoming more real, complex, exposed and entertaining.
This is one reality TV shows I thought about when I read this article:
Naked and Afraid- a more complex and more realistic of the original series of Survivor.
Diffrences between the shows:
Survivor- Participants are not too exposed, rewarded the winner
Naked and Afraid- Participants are naked, doesn’t reward the winner its just for the experience.
This show teaches us:
1) If someone is stranded in an unknown place what does one need to survive and what to watch for in those unknown places such as the woods, islands…
2) There’s no place like home- never take it for granted..
3) Team work
Reality shows that are less cognitive are:
1) Jersey Shore- teaches us sex, gym, tan and laundry
2) Keeping up with the Kardashians- teaches us how more eyeliner=more power
3)Americas next top model- teaches us to smile with our eyes
Reality shows that are more cognitive are:
1)Extreme home makeover- teaches us to help the community and to help the poor, volunteering..
2)Cake Boss- Creativity, ideas for cake designing, how to make a cake..