I am not a fan of reality shows on television.
Very little exercise of the intellect tells one that they must all be as contrived as wrestling matches, and a little research on the subject tends to confirm this. Even the ones using hidden cameras still have ‘plants’ of valuable items (in these auction-type ones) or other manipulated or scripted drama.
Where the lives of people are documented, such as with following a family like the Osbournes or in Big Brother, nobody can tell me that the knowledge of cameras ever-present does not add an artificiality to everything those being filmed do. No matter how long those cameras are present, the subjects will remain conscious of them and of the implied audience. It is also certain that ‘suggestions’ for conflicts will be planted if they don’t arise spontaneously. (Admittedly, reality can be achieved in this area by careful selection beforehand of mutually abrasive personalities, and there is nothing wrong with that.)
Similarly, on shows like the ones for ‘Undercover Boss’, even if the subjects buy into the excuses for the cameras, their actions are still not going to be true-to-life knowing that they are being filmed all the time. Actually, ‘Undercover Boss’ and the secret millionaire types are great concepts, and if the time and money was used to install banks of hidden cameras without arousing any suspicion, and then being prepared to scrap loads of filming where things simply hadn’t produced any fireworks, they would work. The quality of the filming would suffer, of course, but it would be worth it.
The really ridiculous ones are those dealing with hardship in the wilderness and facing danger from wild tribes or beasts or natural hazards etc. Do you mean to tell me the hidden film crew are unsung heroes undergoing the same hardships? Piffle. Therefore, back-up protection and all the comforts of home are readily available. If you could simply look over your shoulder all illusion would vanish.
The most authentic productions are probably those reflecting the British Royal Family, but that is only because being constantly on show is so much part of their normal lives that they have permanently adapted to it. Anyway, those would be classed as documentaries rather than reality shows.
I also feel that the dancing, skating, talent shows, game shows and quiz types are not true reflections of the reality genre. They have their own identities. Even with those, though, one is conscious of great scope for manipulation – and if alert can see it happening.
So, how do you feel about them? Do you remain aware of the fact that ‘reality shows’ are mostly illusory? If so, do you enjoy them nevertheless?
© January 2013 Colonialist (WordPress)