In the blink of an eye, it seems, reality television has become a certifiable global pop-culture phenomenon. Critics generally dismiss it as a crude form of entertainment that appeals to the lowest common denominator, but reality television's high ratings and ability to create pop culture icons (and its low production costs) are undeniable. While “unscripted” reality television shows have replaced many scripted shows, the genre has been tarnished by accusations of racism and stereotyping. Questions have also been raised about reality television's social value — or lack thereof — and its ability to distort young viewers' perception of life. The genre has also been rocked by real-life scandals that mirror the wild antics the shows encourage to boost viewership. While reality TV has repeatedly been called a superficial cultural fad, it continues to grow, leaving many television writers and cultural commentators worried about its impact on mainstream TV entertainment.