Saturday, May 03, 2008

Phoney TV

Don’t ask me what I’d done to deserve it but a couple days ago Sunny was forcing me to watch the finale of ‘Celebrity Fit Club Bootcamp’.

In the half hour before I plucked my eyes out with a spoon and burst my ear drums with a screwdriver I’d seen three emotional outbursts, two tantrums and Screech from ‘Saved by the Bell’ had called his lawyer twice and threatened to have the whole show shut down no less than three times.

This show wasn’t a competition based around weight loss. This show is basically a vehicle for a bunch of Z-List actors and has-beens to jump up and down screaming ‘NOTICE MEEEEEEEEE!!!!”

This is why reality TV is just so fucking awful.

Ten years ago the only ‘reality TV’ was the news, documentaries and those “World’s Most Amazing Police Chase” type shows.

Today, ‘reality TV’ isn’t even ‘reality’ TV. It’s ‘phoney’ TV.

The only reality show I’ve ever watched and enjoyed was the very first season of Big Brother. The reason that Big Brother was good in its first season was because it was actual reality TV.

In England, Big Brother was shown at midnight on Channel 4, a backwater channel. The season was a third over before it even started to get an audience. It was described as a ‘psychological experiment’ and featured a bunch of people who were taking part because they thought it would be interesting and wanted to win the prize money.

By the time the season was half over it was dominating newspapers, TV and radio coverage. What proved to me that the show was worth watching is when it turned out one of the contestants was cheating, one of the other contestants said “Do you think him cheating will be in the papers?” and one of the other contestants sarcastically said: “Pffft! Yeah, right. ‘Contestant cheats on Channel 4 gameshow’. That’s gigantic news.”

Then, the second season started, amid a few hundred copycat shows, and I barely got through the first episode.


Because the first season was a bunch of contestants in it for the experience and the prize money. When the drama got started it was real drama. The second season was nothing but a bunch of pathetic wannabes desperate to get on TV and thought that an appearance on Big Brother would ‘launch their careers’.

So we went from a group of people hanging out trying to deal with the isolation of living in the Big Brother house and dealing with genuine personality conflicts…to people screaming and throwing three hour tantrums because someone used their toothpaste.

We went from ‘real’ to a guy ‘spontaneously’ pulling out his guitar to ‘relax’ and play this song he’s working on. “Hey guys, what do you think? I’m honestly not playing this now because there’s a few million people watching and I might get a recording contract out of it.”

Reality TV was interesting because it showed real people dealing with real things in less than normal situations. Today it’s nothing but soulless, desperate wannabes who are willing to sell their own dignity for a chance to get on TV.


Sunny said...

LOL- The reason I watch fit club is to see how really GOOD I am compared to a few of those idiots. I think the only one who has any class on that show was Tina Yothers, but it's good to know that even on my worst showing my arse day I get nowhere CLOSE to those morons.
It makes me feel better about my crappy luck to watch those faux-drama/reality shows.
Sue me.

Dauragon said...

When I was a wee pup me and my mother watched the first several seasons of the Real World. Well, it was more like my mother would watch while would sit in her lap drooling and wondering why the hell we weren't watching power rangers. Anywho, upon looking back at the humble beginnings of reality TV I could see how it's creation resulted in a massive landslide of overall stupidity and laziness. The first few seasons of the Real World made perfect sense to make. MTV needed more shows but they didn't have the budget to pay a bunch of actors and film crews or animators and such. So they stuck a bunch of people and cameras in a house and hit record. BAM! Perfect formula for a still young channel with not nearly as much money or pull as the older channels. The problem arose when other channels, who can afford full casting and resources needed to created a scripted show, began to make their own versions of "big brother" and "the real world". For them, reality tv is a quick easy buck. They spend maybe 1/4 as much per episode on Beauty and the Geek than they do per episode of CSI or Law and Order, and with half the viewership they will still at least break even in the long run.

So now you have all of these reality shows wanking off at each other trying to create the most "water cooler" moments (omg did you see on Taste of Heart Celebrity Edition when *insert person here* got mad at *insert other person here* and flipped the table?), casting washed up celebrities, making up ridiculous challenges (and now to win half a million dollars you must EAT THIS LIVE TARANTULA USING ONLY YOUR FEET!!), and ultimately coming off as absurd, melodramatic, trite bullshit.

I mean come on. You know the world is fucked up when Soap Operas become the least mind-numbingly stupid guilty pleasure on television.

OzzyC said...

I've hated "reality TV" (quotation marks intentional) since it first aired. I've seen a couple of episodes here and there, but from the beginning I've recognized it for what it is... trash tv.