Reality TV shows! But do they really show something real or create us an illusion that it is real. Creating dramatic, abnormal situations and challenging the emotions of the participants, does it really worth what they pay to the winner. With the reality television here to stay, one cannot help but give in to the pangs of the “not so real” charms of it. This essay would provide a sketch on how the emotions of the participants as well as the audience of reality TV shows, are groomed dramatically and finally reach a climax where the natural emotions and reactions are completely under disguise.
Reality TV, popularly known as factual television is a delicate edge between fact and entertainment, drama and documentary. There is a reality based show on everything from health care to wealth making, from people to pets. These shows are also agreed upon by people from all parts of the world that gave it unique strength and high TRP ratings. Though the target audience are more in number, the time spent on viewing the show may not be really worth it. What can be the use for one by watching others’ daily chores under abnormal situations?
The emotions of the participants are kept under a watch. If they want to react on some situation, they would not be able to do it in a natural way. The fear of loosing the game, make them to wear a mask to their heart and respond in unnatural ways. Some participants go mad for the prize money they would win. This makes them to give up the moral values and commit sledging to make the co-participants loose their self-confidence. This is the thing that happened with the Big Brother reality show in which the Indian Bollywood actress received utter ill-treatment from the other participants. But, ultimately this brought the Big Brother show such fame that it got the highest TRP ratings and the actress concerned won the sympathy as well as the game.
To make their reality channel popular, some creative directors even prepare guidelines for the participants to talk and act that would create a sensation. But still the participants if they are non-actors and with no proper script make this kind of improvisation like a jazz piece to occur.
Reality TV in the 21st century, said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, says about reality TV shows as “a new way of telling a story which is half fiction and half real”. Some channels dedicated their complete programs for reality shows instead of having them as a part. Rupert Murdoch, the man who gave us Fox TV and Cops has devoted a special channel altogether for reality based shows and has named it- Reality TV- a sole channel devoted to the genre.
Reality TV is undoubtedly the genre of new age entertainment everybody loves to hate and – even more – loves to watch. The criticisms are many – showcasing the worst in human nature, finding delight in other people’s failure. The term – Reality Television – itself is somewhat misleading. Such shows frequently portray a modified and highly influenced form of reality, with participants put in exotic locations or abnormal situations, sometimes coached to act in certain ways by off-screen handlers, and with events on screen sometimes manipulated through editing and other post-production techniques. This is a reality show manipulating whatever we see and call is “real”.
The tabloid journalism- a means to create sensation is the root cause for these reality TV shows. All shows which are aired are not successful. Some lose their names down the hill but some manage to hold the common interest. Thus, criticizing the genre would be fine only if it is not bombarded with nihilism and negativism. One must also take into account the proper and accurate research and study of the genre’s evolution and its progress down the lane. Watch the show, just for the sake of watching it but let it not hypnotize us taking our emotions into control.
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Article published in Times of India about the Big Brother Show dispute.
Article published in The Hindu about the Big Brother Show.