MTV first introduced us to Reality TV. "Real World" was the beginning. Its premise was to put strangers together in a house and watch how long it took for them to go from being "polite" to being "real."
After "Real World," CBS brought us "Big Brother." Networks paid attention when the ratings the first summer were promising. Next, came "Survivor." Strangers lived together on an island under extreme circumstances. They voted each other off the island, one by one, and the question became, "What would you be willing to do to win a million dollars?" Would you eat rats, sleep in a tent, or even stab your tribe mates in the back?

After "Survivor," "Fear Factor" joined the pack of Reality TV shows. After a challenge, which involved laying in a tub with rats poured all over you for about 5 minutes, the host on the show asked the contestants, "What would have made the challenge worse?" The contestants answered, "Eating the rats would have been worse." The next season we were treated to the contestants eating a variety of un-tastey things. Once it was worms, sometimes animal intestines, or maybe even blood; each time a little worse and more gruesome all for the almighty dollar.

This season on "Big Brother 5" they have two people who share the same father. The theme is "DNA." The producers told the contestants it meant "Do Not Assume" - anything. However, the viewers know that it's really about the relationships of the people in the house. The producers put a sister and brother in the same house. They had never met before the show, and each was unaware of the other.

I wonder what the producers wanted to happen? Did they hope for romance between the two for the sake of the ratings? During the first week, the brother began to ask questions. He asked each person in the group their last name. Of course, when his half-sister answered, he was familiar with her last name and this brought up many questions. Pretty soon he had figured out that he was related to her. He spent some time agonizing what to do and finally decided to tell the group what he had discovered. It is unclear how this will play out in the game. Who knows if this will put a target on either of their backs? The young woman is up for eviction this week. It could be argued that her name was brought up long before it would have been if she hadnít been related to another player. In other words ratings for CBS could potentially cost these two an honest chance at the million dollars.

It also brings up the question of how far is too far for a TV show to go for ratings? I would argue the networks have gone too far already with some of the shows IĎve mentioned. We are obviously in a Reality TV craze. It's unfortunate that the entertainment industry has settled on this type of media and feels the need to push the envelope each season. I know the arguments that Reality TV is cheap to produce and that it isnít dependent on writers or actors. I also understand that the entertainment industry will only produce what is marketable on TV. However, until we find our remotes, and turn off our sets, I fear Reality TV will become more and more about shocking us, the viewer, and less about "reality."