Friday, June 26

Fake Reality

I was at a party recently and a friend was gushing over the show “Britain's Got talent” and the hope that singer Susan Boyle would win. She was astonished when I told her that of course Boyle was sure to win, it’s already decided. The reason she came in second to a dance group was because she beginning to crack under the public pressure and the producers thought it a good idea to let her off the publicity hook. This was confirmed by the judges sympathetic statement afterwards and desire to manage her career.

I was blunt with my friends naiveté- reality shows are fake. They are dressed up games shows where the outcome is pretty much decided before hand. Why? Because producers want excitement, tension and control of the content. With television there is no such thing as spontaneity. Unless it’s a live news broadcast and a reporter blurts out an expletive when a near by explosion goes off.

Everything is contrived, the people and situations carefully orchestrated for maximum artificial effect. Anyone who thinks the judges were truly surprised when Susan Boyle opened her mouth and sang are suckers. Of course they knew she was talented before, their astonishment was for the benefit of the audience and ratings.

I explained to the crestfallen friend that producers like to manipulate situations to their liking. They cater to our desire for the underdog to win, the down and out to conquer the odds and shamelessly play with our emotions in the process. All to get us to buy more junk.

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