Sunday, March 19, 2006

Reality Television

After two posts a couple weeks ago about reality television, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my thoughts on, excuses and reasons for watching the genre. There was a time a few years back when about half the TV I watched outside of news and sports was reality TV. Oh wait, that's still the case except I don't watch as much TV.

It started the second season of Survivor when the Superbowl led into the season premier (Mark Burnett is no idiot). Before that I was like everyone else who said it sounds ridiculous. I am also opposed to jumping on bandwagons, so that was another reason to avoid it. So that first episode hooked us and we have watched every season since. Not that I look at it, my resolve doesn't sound very strong. Anyhow, we have watched every season of the Amazing Race since after most of the way through season two. We have seen the Bachelorette and the following season of the Bachelor in addition to half of the first Joe Millionaire and parts of the second. So what are my reasons/excuses for following these shows. For each show there are different explanations.

Our favorite is the Amazing Race. There are two main reasons. First is that they travel the world and you see the places from an angle other than those on travel programs. Secondly there is the competitive aspect. Teams to cheer for and those to cheer against. On this show it is much more each team competing independantly as opposed to in cooperation with the others like on Survivor. On this show it is about the race and I don't really care for the relationship side of it.

Survivor is also a competition, but it relies much more heavily on the personal relationships. How do people interact with one another? And the biggest question is that in the context of the game if you check your principles and morals at the door does it tarnish your character outside the game? How do the players adapt as the game evolves? Yes there are many seasons where only the leftover people are in the final episodes. And that is why it keeps getting harder and harder to come back.

As for the two dating game shows , Bachlor(ette) and Joe Millionaire, my interest in them started again as a competition, but evolved into another study on people's psyche. At first it was about which guy or girl the contestant in charge would choose and how that matched up to our own tastes. But as you watch these people fall head over heals for the bachelor(ette) it started to get sickening. Yes, we all fall in love, but wake up people this is television. You are living in expensive accomodations going on fancy dates with fairly limited contact with the bachelor(ette). Three or four pseudo-dates do not make a 'marry me' relationship. But at that point I'm watching trying to get into their heads to understand why they are all so suseptable to think this is 'The One'. 'The One' is another concept I really have a problem with. Then there is the issue of this being a degrading modern day harem. Love and competition should not be mixed. Yes, it happens in real life, but to do it for enterainment purposes is just leaves me with a dirty feeling. Lastly the other major problem I had with these shows was the editing. The teasers at every commercial break are ridiculous. There are two or three 'special' moments in each episode that are repeated ad nauseum before and after every commercial break and before and after every show. The whole thing is just so overwrought.

Yes, if you had to sum up this post, Amazing Race = Good, Survivor = OK, Bachelor (ette) = Bad, Joe Millionaire = Really bad. And Temptation Island was one of the most evil things on television.

What is your take on the genre?

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