Do we care if reality isn't actually real?

2012-01-16 07:37

I get the feeling that the more realistic reality television shows become, the more unrealistic they will be.

With absolutely no doubt now that all our sport and entertainment is marketing and money-driven, will we care that events that used to be real become more and more contrived in order to ensure continued support by viewers and spectators?

Professional wrestling has been honest about it with no pretence about trying to suggest that it isn't all staged and very carefully rehearsed.  A lot of reality TV shows are going the same route – finding it a lot more convenient and economical to contrive rather than to let nature take its course.

The same applies to so-called adventure programmes where we see some guy in really dangerous situations up mountains, battling crocodile infested rivers, stranded on icebergs. Very exciting sure,  but no-one seems to give any thought to the poor bloody cameraman who is not only having to do all those dangerous things too but he has lug a camera around as well?

And what about sport? I can't tell you how many people I know who, despite assurances from administrators, just can't be bothered to watch cricket anymore. And even in rugby and soccer we're beginning to see more and more publicity generating controversy on and off the field.

Referees and line judges playing prima donna to the cameras not to mention intrigue and power play by administrators along with staged tiffs, tackles and grandstanding by players vying for the limelight. How long will it be, I wonder, before commentators catch on and start arguing with each other on air and maybe indulging in some minor fisticuffs in order to boost the ratings?

But, the big question, I guess, is whether the majority of viewers and spectators are purists or simply prone to blood lust? After all, don't the bulk of people who go to the motor races do so hoping for a spectacular accident?

That's the problem with marketing and money you see – it's all a question of pandering to the masses.

And if the world's easily bored couch potatoes want contrived Jerry Springer shows, carefully rehearsed wrestling, blood and guts on the football pitches and rigged reality shows, then that's what they're going to get.

Think about it – just how much of the information highway is already just a figment of the imagination.

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  • Citizen - 2012-01-16 08:18

    Couldnt agree more Chris, the shows are becoming more outlandish and stupid..'Dating in the dark' what on earth possesses people besides their 5 mins of fame...wait thats it...a total turnoff

  • Twain - 2012-01-16 09:51

    Part of the appeal of Big Brother when it first aired was that it wasn't rehearsed. What you saw was what you got - (99% boredom and 1% naked shower time in my opinion, but that's probably just me). However, the contestants have since learned that it pays off to be controversial. So they start acting like idiots and go out of their way to be "entertaining" all the while claiming that they're just being who they are. Yeah. Right. Reality TV sucks and all those shows taking inspiration from them can't help but suck as well.

  • Willem - 2012-01-16 11:07

    It's now 12 years that I don't owe a television anymore. What little useful information one may find on it is totally drowned by the time wasting, sheer mindless muck most of it is. To think your average child spends about 5 hrs a day passively in front of a TV, consuming this junk. The accumulating negative effect is mind-boggling.

      jeremy002 - 2012-01-16 13:23

      You have done well, and missed very little. One of the worst aspects of TV these days is the adverts. Adverts have almost always been brain-numbing lies, (being economical with the truth, one might say)save for the odd one that is clever and well thought out. Since you stopped watching adverts have degenerated into almost total hogwash, with useless people dancing around to loud brain-dead rap "music".

      Willem - 2012-01-16 20:39

      Jeremy, the article touches on it; television only exists for one reason: advertising, right into the privacy of every family's sitting room. And as much as possible before you and me switch off the TV. There is just enough 'content' in-between to keep us watching. And that 'content' is not designed to inform us, or improve our lives, but only to keep us watching as long as possible, and tomorrow again. Advertising is, as you say, all lies. Why pay, and spend your free time, and rob your children of all-important real contact and interaction with a real live person, every night, just to be told "buy this soap, and you'll have a happy family!"

      jeremy002 - 2012-01-17 15:25

      Willem, decades ago, satirical rocker Frank Zappa wrote a song which he named "The Slime". Here are the words, as relevant today as when they were written, and more so: I am gross and perverted, I'm obsessed and deranged I have existed for years, but very little has changed I'm the tool of the Government and industry too For I am destined to rule and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, but you can't look away I make you think I'm delicious, with the stuff that I say I'm the best you can get, have you guessed me yet? I'm the slime oozing out, from your TV set. You will obey me while I lead you And eat the garbage that I feed you Until the day that we don't need you Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you Your mind is totally controlled It has been stuffed into my mould And you will do as you are told Until the rights to you are sold. That's right, folks………don't touch that dial. Well, I am the slime from your video Oozing along on your living room floor. I am the slime from your video Can't stop the slime, people look at me go. FZ

  • jeremy002 - 2012-01-16 13:04

    People with more than two intact brain cells, cells that actually work together, do not watch any of these scripted "reality" shows. Same goes for the idiotic soap operas. Oops, I may have offended the majotity of the population there.....dear me!

      Kara - 2012-01-19 15:16

      A bit of a generalisation I think? I can assure you I am a very intelligent girl and I watch Jersey Shore most week nights. It's not like I think it's real, it's just entertaining.

  • Kara - 2012-01-19 15:12

    No one wants to watch a reality show that is not a bit unrealistic, because let's face it, people's ordinary lives are generally not that entertaining. We watch TV for a bit of psychological relief and honestly, if that hour of b/s every night keeps us sane, who can blame us? Sometimes it's nice to pretend that life is a little different than it really is, however sad that is. Watching reality shows doesn't make you stupid. It's when you can't separate them from real life that your IQ seems to take a dip.

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