Silencing the Reality TV

When the writer’s strike was in effect and our favorite television shows were on constant repeat, reality TV was on the rise. Rather than watch old episodes of the “Office” and “Desperate Housewives”, we had an array of choices to select from. “American Idol”, “Deal or No Deal” and the “Moment of Truth” are just a few of the popular shows.

These shows are considered game shows and they add a key point to my story. With the aforementioned shows as you’re watching, you become so engaged that you’re not paying attention to what’s going on around you.

The drama and prospect of wondering who’s going to be eliminated next is usually the reason why people watch these shows, but I beg to differ. Something that I’ve noticed when watching these shows is the background music.

With the exception of “American Idol”, which is a singing competition, the music that plays during these shows is an integral part of the high viewer ratings. For example, the Moment of Truth (a show that allows people to exploit their lives through questions and winning money for their honestly) uses music to create suspense.

Strings and stretched out “Ba-bums” lace the show with added suspense. This might be common knowledge to most, but I don’t think people really notice how big of a difference there would be without the music.

On more popular shows, such as “Rock of Love”, “Real World” and my personal favorite, “The Hills”, the music is much more dramatic. Think about when Brett Michaels is at the elimination ceremony and there are two girls remaining. The music is cued and the suspense thickens. Now picture the scene without the music and imagine how awkward the show has just become.

Two women standing anxiously and in silence for an answer from Michaels to send one of them home. Michaels picks one of the women and the one going home starts to cry and yell and that’s all you hear. The loser’s voice echoes in the silence as the remaining women cheer to each other and angry footsteps are off in the distance.

To think that music in reality shows really make an impact is a funny thought. “The Hills” have capitalized on the music by labeling the songs used in a box in the upper right hand corner.

When you take the music away you have a completely different show. To have a full understanding of this, I advise you the experiment on your own.


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