Friday, November 20, 2009

The cruelty factor

I watched some of I'm a celebrity - Get me out of here and was nonplussed by it.
They do it to themselves, it's true, and that's what really hurts.

You know how Tarrant's audiences gasp with shock when they're shown some types of Japanese gameshows and you can feel the pleasurable frisson & whispers of 'ooh those Japanese people they're so weird and not like us' palpably running through them? I bet they're the same people watching the jungle and I've news for them: they're exactly like 'that'.

On the whole, I prefer sleb versions of reality tv generally because at least the people involved know the industry and very likely have agents and advisors who will help them to make the best money & get most mileage out of it.

Britain's Got Talent
and X-Factor make me uneasy, on a number of counts, particularly the early stages where the auditioning public often get thoroughly worked over by the likes of Simon Cowell. I think Matthew Wright used to refer to BGT as 'Laugh at the mentally challenged' or something like that and it does seem to be that way. Sure, once you reach the final stages it's supposedly about talent and performances winning out, but before that there's ritual humiliation for the majority of try-outs.

Of course the winners go on to high-profile careers (or most of them do) so there is that carrot and that hope for them in it. Big Brother doesn't appear to even have that going for it. One of the winners I think used to build for a DIY show and that screechy woman sometimes does talking head appearances for cheapo crappy "best 100 ___ of the year" clip shows. Otherwise they seem to tumble right back into obscurity. Which is no doubt a good thing for tv audiences everywhere, but presumably not what the contestants were looking for.

I suppose there used to be New Faces which was acceptable in the eighties. Iirc they had three judges sitting up in a box (like Statler and Waldorf from the muppets). I wonder if they were as scathing in New Faces as they are on these modern versions, I can't remember.

Reality tv is car-crash tv but this is where Strictly Come Dancing gets a big fat portion of win relatively, if you ask me. The worst humiliation a sleb gets there is if they just don't dance very well. The comments can be a bit cutting but being told (quite rightly) that you dance like my old dad isn't going to send anyone into a loony bin anytime soon.

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