Nadia Padayachi

Reality TV is 'so passé'

2005-01-28 12:37

Reality TV is soooooo passé! Someone hand me a fresh idea please. What happened to the good old-fashioned sitcom with a good wholesome message like The (old) Cosby Show?

My Dad used to record every episode for me - Rudy was my hero! I even had a picture of her stuck to the inside lid of my lunchbox.

The whole concept lies around removing people from their comfort zone and putting them into situations to watch how they react.

In the beginning, the first reality show I started watching was Survivor. Humans and how they react within different dynamics fascinate me. The lying, the cheating, the backstabbing, the conniving, all termed "the strategy" - nice fluffy word isn't it?

Most of the reality shows seen in South Africa are either international shows like The Apprentice, and then there's the type where the concept has been transposed to a South African version like Idols.

The problem lies in the longevity of these programmes. The first series of most of these concepts in each country is hailed as an enormous success! Think Big Brother, Idols, Popstars.

The second run of the show (with different people) turns out to be a flop. Producers change the game by adding more obstacles to the contestants try to rekindle the hype of the first series, but nothing can quite match.

There are two reasons why I think reality shows are a good thing though.

The public factor

The first is the interesting factor of the public who in many of these programmes determine who the winner is.

In today's society, I find it heart-warming to see that people still want good things to happen to those who deserve it.

I know this doesn't always happen, at times it does depend on who the audience are and what their preference is, but most of the time, the 1 million dollar / rand pay cheque goes to the right person. Example locally, Lindiwe from Project Fame (Africa) and beyond borders, the lovable Rupert from Survivor.

There are so many TV shows on the box at any given moment - court room dramas being one type. These shows cast actors and actresses some who stroll down the red carpet (like they the Queen) at the Emmys.

Reality shows have brought about different stars - you and me. Ordinary people, who would like to experience the heat of the spotlight. To me the inspiring part is that, this means that the entertainers of today are real people. The show just provides the opportunity for them to share their unique (but real) lives - no fairytale.

This came to me while watching The Restaurant, a show on MNet about Rocco a celebrated chef in New York and his newly opened restaurant. It follows the staff - chefs, waiter, managers - regular people doing what they have to do earn a living.

It's thoroughly entertaining! But is it unique? No, it's just a restaurant, trying to cope as many restaurants around the world are. But at the same time, this is what people are interested in watching.

Ordinary people do make real heroes, you know?!

  • Nadia Padayachi is a publicist at a Cape Town publicity agency.

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