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Thread: Are you sick of Reality TV

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    Senior Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    Smile Are you sick of Reality TV

    I thought this was going to be a fad: Survivor, (...) Idol, then MTV's litany of teen-oriented reality shows (Jersey Shore anybody?) and the Real Housewives of (name your uppity suburb)...

    It is inescapable, and I think this is the one, single genre of non-news TV that is turning me off the medium - I am sad to say. That and the slow disappearance of all thoise great Dick Wolf dramas (Do I ever miss Bobby Goren).

    In Canada, we also have had our fair share of either "canadianized" reality shows (Cue: So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Canadian Idol, Canada's Got Talent...) but we also have had some "original" ones (Making the Cut, Battle of the Blades, ...) and one of the few I actually can stand occasionally, Dragon's Den where the common man pitches ideas to venture capitalists. One of those panelists is Kevin O'Leary, who has come to be the "Simon Cowell" of venture capitalists, and here is an article pimping his new reality series Redemption, Inc.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2291230/

    I can sense this idea will get "Americanized" and will undoubtedly get spun up on, I don't know, Court TV or some other True Crime Specialty Cable Channel...

    Feel free to give the Reality TV topic as a whole the old TC vent-o-rama treatment!

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    I absolutely agree with you. I detest reality TV with a passion. I don't understand why people enjoy it, but it's like a drug (I speak from family experience because my parents and siblings love this stuff). I saw an interesting TED(?) video a while ago about the social reasons for the rise of reality TV and other genres - I'll have a look for it and see if I can post it here...

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I don't know about social reasons, but I'm sure profit is the number one motivator. Fortunately I'm not sick of "reality" TV because I've never watched any. I don't expect much from commercial networks, so I don't go there.

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    I'm afraid I can't find the video because searching for "TED TV", which is all the context I can remember, throws up far too many results, even on the TED website.

    All I can remember is that the speaker went through TV history from the 50s to the present day describing how political events and social change during the periods led to a reflection in TV programming, and that with the rise of reality television there coincided some fundamental social shift that I can't remember.

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    Senior Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    I have to go with starthrower on tis one: the production and talent (sic) costs associated with the standard scripted TV series has to make (unscripted) reality TV attractive to network execs. I think that some of the salary demands of reality TV "stars" (Snooki, anyone?) kind of trumps that concept however...

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Snooki? Is this who fascinates the current generation? Mindless!

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    Quote Originally Posted by itywltmt View Post
    I have to go with starthrower on tis one: the production and talent (sic) costs associated with the standard scripted TV series has to make (unscripted) reality TV attractive to network execs. I think that some of the salary demands of reality TV "stars" (Snooki, anyone?) kind of trumps that concept however...
    I think it is perhaps less the investment necessary, seeing as we generally undervalue writers anyway, and more the potential profit from the end product. I don't know the numbers, but I imagine a million people phone-voting every week rakes up a considerably larger amount of cash.

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    I'm amazed how everyday people will let strangers in an editing room scramble events in their lives for the viewing of other strangers. It's like they're checking themselves into a human zoo.

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    Going back to the demise of television as an entertainment medium, I think that Reality TV is but a symptom of the same incurable disease that has not only been eating away at the small screen, but at the big screen as well.

    I guess "quality" entertainment is apparently "too hard" to put out there. If it's not the money, then it''s finding the artisans, or it's finding the next great show. It seems that every year (in North America, anyway) there are dozens upon dozens of new shows, the vast majority of which do not garner viewership and get canned. Sometimes, as was the case with say Arrested Develpment, it wasn'r due to lack of quality and charm but rather ratings and demographics that saw the program leave the air.

    Dick Wolf aside, there are now, what, three CSI's, two NCIS', and even Reality TV is doing "franchises" (Storage Wars - which I actually kind of like in small doses, and Storage Wars Texas).

    As for Hollywood, isn't it sad that they seem to be obsessed with "remakes", sometimes of pretty forgettable movies in the first place (The Longest Yard) or - as in the case of the recent Dragon Tattoo release - an americanized version of a pretty good foreign film.

    If the Industry spent money on the product, the artisans and such rather than in merchandising and marketing, maybe there would be a few talented people who'd want to get into making movies and TV shows rather than walking away, disillusioned with the myopia and money-at-all-costs attitudes of the executives!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    I'm amazed how everyday people will let strangers in an editing room scramble events in their lives for the viewing of other strangers. It's like they're checking themselves into a human zoo.
    Even sadder is the veritable cottage industry of "Reality Stars" that has come of this. The Khardashians. Jon and Kate. That couple with the - what is it - 19 or 20 kids (and counting). Even the polygamists and the American Muslims. And it feeds the tabloid trash/E! News industry with more gossip!

    Voyeurism indeed - don't they put people in jail for looking at pictures of 5 and 6 year old girls in full makeup? Then what's the difference between that and Toddlers & Tiaras? (OK, I am reaching...) I remember when TLC stood for "The Learning Channel", dammit!)

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    I saw a saddening statistic the other that said that the top 10(?) biggest grossing films of 2011 were all sequels or remakes. I don't know if that's the first time it's happened, but it represents the downward trend you're talking about itywltmt. I'm all for people watching whatever it is they want to watch, whether or not I think it's stupid or pointless; the thing I have a problem with is when ever-so-slightly higher-brow endeavours are sidelined by the money-making machine, as we saw with the plans to scrap BBC4's original output.

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    Inquiring minds want to know, poley: did the pig eat the Gingerread man?

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    I've also read and seen some things recently about why we are focused on the most mundane types of reality TV and pry into the obscenest recesses of celebrities' private lives.

    One article I read talked about a shift in hero-worshipping. A few decades ago, our heroes were people who were in some way set apart from the rest of us in superior intellect or achievement, who we looked up to in order to witness the best that our species can produce, without feeling insignificant ourselves. Now, however, our heroes must be the same as us - as low as us, as normal, mundane, boring, and dysfunctional as us - so that more of us can entertain the delusion that one day we might be heroes (= celebrities now) ourselves.

    Another thing I saw was a short film inserted in Charlie Brooker's 2011 Screenwipe (if you haven't seen his Screenwipes or Newswipes written for the BBC, you should really watch them - I'll give an example below. They are a refreshing ****-take of everything we are lamenting here). It spoke of Murdoch's idealism in his take over of the media which sought to replace a kind of elitism with populism. However, whoever appears in the news regularly (celebrities) is part of a pseudo-elite simply by being newsworthy. So the solution is to look for the smut and the tragedy to (supposedly) bring them down to our level. In principle, it is an admirable thing to do to bring forms of media to a wider populace, but it is a damning reflection on ourselves when the level we see ourselves at, down to which we seek to bring celebrities, is centred on disgrace.

    Last edited by Polednice; Jan-05-2012 at 19:02.

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    Quote Originally Posted by itywltmt View Post
    Inquiring minds want to know, poley: did the pig eat the Gingerread man?
    He did indeed! AND HE WAS YUMMY!

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    I almost never watch TV. I used to follow the original CSI, the X-Files, and Twin Peaks... but today I rarely watch anything. If I do use the TV it's to watch a movie on DVD.

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