Toddlers and Tiaras

    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)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
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  1. Ohhhh man. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Toddlers and Tiaras. That show is the most twisted show in the universe, and watching these parents pay so much money just so that their kids can barely reach perfection is so harsh! And nature shows are just as bad… funny post!


  2. adinparadise says:

    Never watch them at all. In fact my TV hasn’t been on for weeks, even for the news. 🙂


  3. I guess an addiction to such reality shows smacks of a low self esteem and the need to see other people “behave and fall down” like us. But if indeed these shows are framed and fluffed up as you suspect, then the viewers would only be chasing illusions much the same way as the movies.

    Great perspective.



  4. Roly says:

    I and my computer have both been receiving care and attention and I am pleased to say I can now read and comment again. Long may it last…….I never watch reality movies or series. btw elementary has started in SA


  5. nrhatch says:

    I don’t watch Reality TV shows . . . for all the reasons you’ve expressed. Fake, phony, narcissistic folks prancing around in front of the cameras . . . ACK!

    My favorite show at the moment is Elementary ~ a modern day Sherlock Holmes in New York City solving crimes with deduction and logic.


  6. I am glad you asked! I have been holding back on publishing a very significant rant on the subject, so I’ll use this opportunity to express myself! In America, we have a proliferation of so-called reality shows that I can almost guarantee have not hit your airwaves. I happen to believe you wouldn’t tolerate them. We have started the slow descent into the abyss with the likes of the “Living with the Kardashians”–you may know that one, sadly, but if you can find a glimpse of “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo” I can guarantee that you’ll be so aghast it will settle the idea forever of whether television has become a wasteland. I’ll stop now…I told you I have been holding back a rant! I may yet post on the subject if I can manage not to get so disgusted I confuse people–I DO call my blog “Breathelighter.” I need to be consistent! 🙂


    • colonialist says:

      That wouldn’t be inconsistent – you’d breathe lighter after getting the rant off your chest!
      It certainly seems that TV is being airmed consistently at the Lowest Common Denominators, intellectually


  7. Ruth2Day says:

    I used to love Survivor, but now not. Still watch Amazing Race as it gives me an idea of countries and cultures to maybe visit one day. I do watch Strictly Come Dancing, but even then if I’m honest I’m losing interest because I don’t know who the celebraties are ( if thay actuallay are that is!). I don’t like the shows where families are followed because that is all fake and the children are so rude and the language is foul a lot of the time. So I suppose I’m a yes and a no fan 🙂


    • colonialist says:

      The kids I’ve seen on them are simply disgusting. I really hope they are not typical. They don’t need psychobabble. All they need is a thorough spanking – even the teenagers when they act like spoilt toddlers.


  8. Colline says:

    The only reality show I really enjoy is Dancing with the Stars – and that is because of the dancing. I get a bit tired of the drama in the talent shows. And Big Brother or Survivor? After one episode I decided to spend my time doing something else. I would rather watch a drama good story, or laugh a bit with Big Bang Theory.


  9. adeeyoyo says:

    Sorry, Col, there is only one exception and that is SPORT – live and happening!


  10. adeeyoyo says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Col. Utter c**p! The powers-that-be are under the impression that they can treat us as kindergarten children who will be contented with anything that moves.


  11. Many people like them for their simplicity. For watching the others’ problems for a change, in stead of focusing on one’s own.

    But I can’t watch them, Col, they irritate the hell out of me. I hardly ever watch TV these days, only some movies.

    The dance and singing contests sometimes show real talent and I can admire that. But the whole spectacle around it makes me avoid them.


  12. optie says:

    I don’t like much of what passes for Reality TV but I must confess a weakness for Come Dine with me, although the characters chosen for the latest SA series did us no favours as a country.
    My favourites in the reality genre are the property shows in the UK like Escape to the Country, Property Ladder, Location Location Location. I love getting to see inside some real homes as well as thoroughly enjoying the country scenery.


  13. I agree with you. Col. As long as people have a camera on them, no matter what the excuse, they will not be being themselves…


  14. 68ghia says:

    I have not had any kind of TV in my house for almost 2 years. And I can’t say I miss it. But even when I had TV, and DSTV, I have ever refused to watch any kind of reality TV. Barry Ronge described Big Brother very well once – “Why would I want to watch trailer trash sleep?” And that about sums it up. They seem to pick stupid people, people I will not associate with, to make these shows.
    I’m sorry – I live in reality. I have really no need to see other people’s issues and have it be called entertainment!
    Give me Warehouse 13 or Supernatural any day of the week – now that’s entertainment!!


  15. Pussycat44 says:

    I am fully aware that programmes like Survivor and Amazing Race (both shown on SABC3) are rather “fake”. I take them with a bag of salt.
    I dislike the Real Housewives of………..programmes. They are the pits and I don’t watch them.
    That said, it doesn’t leave many programmes to watch on Govt. TV.


  16. newsferret says:

    Shows we avoid and as is we are spares TV viewers.


  17. Tokeloshe says:

    Well said!
    I don’t watch them if I can help it.


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