Sunday, July 20, 2008

the end of reality tv

Big Brother is on its final days! I am so excited. I am hoping that with the death of this reality television show we will finally see shows develop that encourage new local talent.

When the series first started 8 years ago I was intrigued, along with many others here. In fact, I discovered that I knew one of the participants in the show. But what intrigued me was why people would put their hand up to say they would live with a group of other strangers and have it filmed. I understand that there is the idea of a cash reward and also the promise of lucrative media deals but really..... (The person I know had a few years of being harassed by the general public due to the way she had a hissy fit and then was evicted. Her life has not really changed that much because of the show.)

Then there have been other reality based shows - Survivor (only the American version did well here. We tried our own but our attitude to game playing etc is so far removed from the original it doesn't project well on television. We should have called it "Build a bridge - then get over it!" Just not that catchy); Biggest loser (who knew that a weight loss television show would get such a cult status?); The Amazing Race - how far can you push couples!; and all the game shows where you can win a million dollars if you sing/dance whatever correctly.

Other shows - more like talent quests - have hit the screens:Idol, X-factor, so you think you can dance (um, many can't!) and Australia's got talent (strange show!). My least favourite of all these type of shows has been "Battle of the Choirs" where there has been a singing and dancing spectacular between 4 choirs each week leading to the finals. We just don't have that many choirs here......If I entered my school choir (as suggested by a colleague) I think I would have been lynched, quite rightly, by the kiddies!

The talent shows are ok but it is such a generic, bland look and sound that the judges and audience want that there are MANY performers out there who wont ever get a look in! The goth/emo looking artist would not make it in a million years as they don't have "the" look, as does the hippy or the ultra conservative. To succeed on any of these mainstream shows you have to be trendy - but not outrageously so, sing very main stream songs and be prepared to 'sell' your soul. Maybe I am being too harsh. These shows are aimed at the pre teens (predominantly girls) or mums in the crowd.

I am not denying the contestants on the show have talent, but they have to learn to "play" the game and sometimes deny their own natural talent to really succeed. Unfortunately there is not really any other true outlet for these performers to be noticed. Once they win the show they are judged really harshly.......

But back to Big Brother. This year, after 7 years, the producers changed the formula to try and resurrect the ailing show. They dismissed the original host, who had looked a little bored last year, and employed two radio djs to replace her. One comes across as being a bit of an air head and then there is his off-sider. Together they have done very little for the show itself. Then they had a whole stack of people who were meant to "clash" once inside the house. I have caught a few episodes here and there (often nothing on and I have tv on to block arguments of neighbours) and there has been 'tension' but nothing really exciting. The people in the show know there are cameras everywhere and very rarely let their guard down - so there isn't a great deal of angst......but then again I have no idea what is really happening now.

When they announced the end of the show last week many people thought - "who cares?" - but it is now, when there is less than 72 hours to go, that many people are thinking about what the possibilities might be for other styles of show. I have heard about the demise of BB on many talk radio shows and in a few newspaper articles.

I can only hope that the students I teach have a good opportunity to present their talent without having to sell their identity or soul.


Anonymous said...

I have to confess to watching BB - when it started. The first few years I was a watcher. But not the last few, and most certainly notthis year. I can't be bothered with the chosen hosts - on BB or on air - as I find them both bland and quite talentless. I hope we get more shows like 'enough rope' and Rockwiz. Although I do own up to Amazing Race, and Idol.

I teach small children, and it amazes me that often these wee ones talk to me about the things they see on BB, loser and other shows. Mind you, the content of neighbours and H&A is not really appropriate for small ones either, but don't let me get on that soapbox, please!

Laura Jane said...

I am an occasional watcher/follower of BB from series 3 onwards. I found I had nothing in common with people at uni if I didn't watch it!

As I speak I have just returned from the SYTYCD (So you think you can dance) show tour. Man oh man, let me tell you they CAN INDEED!!!! Pity they had cheesy little mutual intros to do throughout the show. Each sounded like it was scripted for the soundtrack of a Wiggles show or something. It really talked down to them, they sounded REALLY stilted and patronising and the 'actions' they did with each intro were like a pantomime. Yuk.

Off to watch BB final eviction now - I haven't seen much of this series, but my daughter watches it avidly.