reality tv, the new viewer favorite

March 27th, 2007

A few years ago there was this well respected genre in filmatography called documentary movies. Documentaries set out to, indeed, document something. A historical event, a person's biography, discuss a social issue by presenting a lot of facts, that kind of thing. They were still movies, made in some period of time and screened later. Of course, no matter how important or interesting your documentary was very few people would watch it, because generally people think they're boring.

Actually, documentaries still exist. No, really, they do. It's just that the idea of showing something as it is has rather rudely shifted focus to the reality show. The show is made for television, so they need a lot more material. Which also means the quality is much lower. The reality show is like a documentary with no message or purpose to it. They're not trying to tell you anything, or educate you, they just hope you stick around and watch it anyway. And to do that, they sensationalize it. They build it up a lot, run those ads on tv. "Temptation Island starting next week, don't miss it!!" Then they add some graphical framework so you have the intro sequence a certain way, a music clip to go along "dramatic" scenes and all kinds of effects to distract your from the fact that the show isn't about anything. As a final piece of the puzzle, they know you like stupid games, so they make it a competition between the people in the show. Without this you would actually figure it out and not watch it, but because you have this sick compulsion to partake in games and gambling (how do you explain those slot machines as the supermarket?), you will actually watch this bs.

It's called a reality show, and the major selling point is that it's omg so real! We're actually seeing what they're doing, it's like a live feed. Which it isn't, because they screen this stuff all through the week and then they show you a summary once a week, so it's just like any other show. But if they want to really maximize on the show, they will find a way to get you involved. They'll make you vote on the people, decide who wins, who loses, make you care about whatever nonsense they're up to. And that's why they can sensationalize every little detail as well, because they know it matters oh so much to you!

"The contestants are in the house, I repeat they are inside the house, this is so exciting."
"Now they've positioned themselves around the table and they appear to be talking, are we getting this?"
"We're not recording, you bimbo, we're broadcasting."

Big Brother, that was just a fantastic show. It was a study in just how insulting you could make a show to the user and still make him follow it. And they did, en masse. It set a number of records in tv ratings, can you believe it? A show about a bunch of nitwits who sat in a house for months without doing anything and people actually watched it. Not only that, they managed to sell satellite, cable and internet subscriptions for the live feeds too. If you think that was bad, people even taped it to see what they had missed.

:: random entries in this category ::

2 Responses to "reality tv, the new viewer favorite"

  1. erik says:

    Taping big brother lol, that should earn you some really embarassing awards.

  2. “Reality” TV...

    Martin Matusiak wrote about Reality TV today, about how people watch it because it shows us the real world and real actions of real people:
    It’s called a reality show, and the major selling point is that it’s omg so real!
    While that is obviously on...