There are so many different reality TV shows on right now, I’m beginning to wonder if my section of reality isn’t really reality at all, because my life is just too darn boring to be broadcasted on national television for the better part of an hour – or even two hours, if you are lucky enough and are really into it.
There’s weight reality TV, build-a-house reality TV, cooking reality TV that seems to contradict the weight reality TV, and real life reality TV like never before.
I don’t doubt that some of these shows are entertaining and provide a measure of relief for some of their viewers. Hey…if it’s happening to the poor sap on the screen, it’s not happening to them, right?
Some people are glued to these shows, episode after glorious episode, hanging onto every word, every mouthful, every lost kilo, every mistake, fart, swearword, and faux pas that we could possibly imagine in our ‘real life’ reality show.
The trouble with most of these, dare I say it, is that they aren’t really reality at all. They are con jobs.
There. It’s out of the bag. Some of us know it, some of us won’t admit it, and some of us just don’t give a toss.
Let’s be real here. If a television crew descended on my humble abode hell-bent (if they must) on creating my life as it is in all it’s glory for the viewing public, it would be as boring as our local sermon on a Sunday morning (no offence to the Catholics, but inescapably true). I would imagine that they would need to add a bit of magic ‘bulldust’ to enhance my life a little and make my island paradise the perfect plot for a return of Melrose Place.
I know it’s not for me and I generally don’t watch the stuff, but that doesn’t mean that I am not aware of its existence. Sadly, it is everywhere, and nobody is really immune. Society itself is affected in one way or another, whether we know it or not. When reality TV first began here with Big Brother, a house, and the lives of complete strangers living in it, being scrutinized by hundreds of thousands of viewers, it set the precedent for the beginning of what can only be described as acceptable voyeuristic behaviour en masse. We enjoyed watching these so-called natural interactions and experienced the type of surrealism that can only come from something new before we are eventually desensitised to it.
Make no mistake. We have definitely become desensitised to it. But it’s not real and it’s not normal. It’s just another way for people to get their ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ and a network to make megabucks from an ever-increasing fan-base looking for the elusive next big thing.
Just how do these ‘unreality’ TV shows affect us as a society? Visual presentation becomes more important than context, and the context may be completely different to what is being perceived visually. The book is basically being judged by its cover and nothing else. Nobody has a chance, or even wants, to see what lies beneath anymore. The connotations are enormous.
I for one am happy with my little slice of reality, but it has taken many years to realise this as I’m constantly being bombarded with idealistic views of how much better, exciting, passionate, or just plain different my life could actually be.
It’s about time the world got back in touch with their own reality and be happy in knowing the difference.