Featuring ordinary people, celebrities, game shows, hidden cameras, everyday situations, and humorous or dramatic situations, reality TV is one of the fastest growing and important popular culture trends of the past decade, with roots reaching back to the days of radio. The Tube Has Spoken provides an analysis of the growing phenomenon of reality TV, its evolution as a genre, and how it has been shaped by cultural history. This collection of essays looks at a wide spectrum of shows airing from the 1950s to the present, addressing some of the most popular programs including Alan Funt's Candid Camera, Big Brother, Wife Swap, Kid Nation, and The Biggest Loser. It offers both a multidisciplinary approach and a cross-cultural perspective, considering Australian, Canadian, British, and American programs. In addition, the book explores how popular culture shapes modern western values; for example, both An American Family and its British counterpart, The Family, showcase the decline of the nuclear family in response to materialistic pressures and the modern ethos of individualism. This collection highlights how reality TV has altered the tastes and values of audiences in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It analyzes how reality TV programs reflect the tensions between the individual and the community, the transformative power of technology, the creation of the celebrity, and the breakdown of public and private spheres.
About the Author
Julie Anne Taddeo is visiting associate professor of history at the University of Maryland and the author of Lytton Strachey and the Search for Modern Sexual Identity. Ken Dvorak is former president of the American Culture Association and an editorial member of the Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of American Culture, and Film & History.