Archive for December, 2010

The Tale Of The Reality Show

This Passive Pundit has on multiple times berated Reality Shows and everything about them. Yet the fact remains that reality shows are today’s rage. Moreover now, genres of reality shows are starting to emerge, ranging from sport-adventure, business, cooking, comedy, general knowledge to performing arts. Then there are those which cannot be categorized simply because, well, they just have people doing nothing and millions of people sitting at home spying on them (And no the show isn’t on Voyeur TV). Hordes of competing shows each with similar yet slightly different formats to keep the audiences hooked is commonplace nowadays. Famous shows occasionally go international too with different language versions cropping up. Sure one might argue that these shows, apart from entertaining, also provide opportunities to participants to win and gain recognition in their respective fields (Susan Boyle, Chris Daughtry, Abhijeet Sawant etc. ) and again in some cases, earn the out-of-work celebrity some severely needed television exposure (The Kamal Khan types that is).

One look at all reality shows and a pattern emerges. Implying that there are basic features that govern a reality show. This being common to almost every reality show with slight variations. So here goes:


1. The Judge:

Critical, contemptuous, condescending. Almost perfectly describes your average reality show judge. Though some of them do possess sound knowledge of their field of expertise yet their often rude disposition and disdain for the very nervy participant is amusing indeed. Some real talents do get their well deserved applause . But almost all judges seem to have an agenda (probably script written beforehand) of vilifying the performer, often bringing them down to tears. something completely unnecessary. Apparently all matters of acceptable social behaviour are rendered nullified once the camera starts rolling on these reality shows. Then there’s the antics these “judges” perform themselves. Quitting the show on camera, rushing backstage crying, quarelling amongst themselves; these are the asinine stunts which these geniuses-at-work attempt to pull off and completely mocking public intelligence in the process. As if one couldn’t see through these well-rehearsed, often scripted lies that are meant to add spice to the show and keep the audiences hooked. “More (melo)drama continues after the commercial break”, is what the presenter ought to say.


2. The Contestant

One couldn’t completely discount the participants for making the reality show experience so distasteful either. If the judges are blamed to be too harsh on the participants, it’s often because of certain participants who are moronic beyond belief. These people appear to have joined in a cause to humiliate themselves on national television! Their purpose isn’t to actually register a commendable performance, but to gain some time on tv, just for the heck of it. Luckily these calamities are often eliminated in the early stages before they start wrecking our lives along with theirs. But even the talented ones that do make it through sometimes behave in uncultured ways. Again, more often than not their behaviour is dictated by the ever TRP hungry reality show makers who consider public swearing, and brawling amongst contestants as good agents of developing attention.

3.  The Host

What wonders me the most is what might be the criteria that reality shows use to pick their hosts. Maybe any obsessive, excessively jovial, emotionally inanimate jock that tickles their fancy. But again, out of work celebrities are preferred. As if the show wasn’t irritating itself, these harbingers of all things tedious keep appearing on screen to deliver line after line of repetitive monologues that never seem to serve any useful purpose. And each time they start every part of my body seems to scream, “We don’t need your opinion on how the performance was, you cretin!”. Regulations must dictate that this person spend the least time in front of the camera i.e do their job of introducing the contestant and announcing the result and fade into the backdrop. But alas, if it was for reality tv regulations lives would’ve been so much simpler.


4. The Music + The Voice-over Guy:

The insipid  music and the computer-generated-voice like announcer guy add to the sickening experience of the reality show. Drumrolls, percussionary bangs, loud techno sound effects are commonly used. The kind of music you’d expect in a discotheque in fact.  And on the complete flip side, horror, goosebumps inducing, mortal peril, near death kind of music like the type you would hear in psycho killer movies. The arrangements are designed to be catchy too so as to create a unique identity for the reality show. One note played, and you’d know which reality show’s turn it is now to torture you internally. Then there’s the omnipresent Voice-over guy who seems to be watching everything from up above. From a safe distance in fact, yet he’s got all the inside info. No one’s actually ever sees this guy but still everyone eagerly anticipates his golden words. He’s got a scary and irritating voice too. I mean, who ever talks like that in real life? If they did, they’d be laughed at and mocked to no end! But it’s reality tv, so all sense of reasoning takes a corner seat.


In conclusion, the bitter ride that is a reality show is indeed a series of unnecessary, yet knowingly, built in annoyances that divert the attention from the actual show itself. We may complain, but the fact remains that these mediums of mind boggling absurdities are here to stay.