Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Crackdown On Reality

I rarely commend China for anything, outside of the American take on their food. But that country’s latest autocratic crackdown has me intrigued and even envious.

According to one Chinese media official: “There have been too many reality shows on our TV screens. Many are low-quality, low-brow programmes, only catering to the bottom end of the market.” Hence, they are
cracking down on crap TV.

Repeat after me: "What a country!"

I understand that China’s motivations for curtailing reality shows may not match my own, but hey, whatever works.

Reality TV is one of the most onerous forms of entertainment in existence. Every season a glut of new shows with moronic, insulting scenarios – celebrity has-beens literally fighting for our attention, "beautiful" women dating “nerdy” guys, spoiled rich bitches slumming with the regular folk – hits the screen, and a new low.

These shows appeal to one of humanity's worst leanings – the voyeuristic thrill of watching people hurt and humiliate themselves and/or others. There is an aspect of “cheering on” the participants for some viewers, but I think people mainly watch these shows for the same reason they ogle car accidents.

Reality shows are also mischaracterized;
Allen Funt knew decades ago that you don’t get “reality” when your subject is aware of the camera. Further, you don’t get reality when you audition your cast.

Good, bad and average singers perform on American Idol, so let me ask: What is the purpose of those local, non-televised auditions that happen before the ones we see on Fox? If you need to do background checks on your contestants, that’s understandable (and advisable), but wasn’t the point to let America pick its next Mariah Carey clone? Obviously, the producers have specific “types” in mind.


I'm all for freedom of the media, and freedom of expression, as I've stated time and again in this blog. Sure, I don't have to watch reality shows, but I can't seem to escape the endless promos for them during the handful of decent shows I do watch. More significantly, I can't escape the notion that these shows are just making us all more dumber then we already is.

Maybe the reality of the situation is, as a writer, I miss shows that value writing. Or maybe I just want to see an Internet video of Simon Cowell being hanged. Now that's good television!

I need to get cracking on writing my own damn TV show.

16 comments:

Bird said...

ah bogs, does art reflect life, or does life reflect art? in this case "lowbrow" art and lowbrow life? hmmmm and hahahahaha!

i love Feuilherade's use of "surge" in the linked article. hee hee hee. are we witnessing a "surge" in useage of that word?

turn it off, turn it off, turn it off. i think the only "reality" show i've ever got into was an early wife-swapping show - just because it was so .... appalling and because i found it humourous that previously, dave chappelle had done a sketch about that on his show. what a hoot. i watched one episode of the reality show - it was most definitely rubber-necking for me.

perhaps china should film a reality show which features the experiences of citizens going through political rehabilitation. i've heard those programs are still in operation, despite the end of the "cultural revolution."

flap/flap/swoosh!

Pete Bogs said...

bird - I watched Joe Millionaire for a time... I just had to see how those women would react when they found out the guy they were trying to win over was not really a millionaire after all... they all said it "wasn't about the money," but that's just horseshit... pure, unadulterated gold-digging...

Hellpig said...

How about "How Liberal Judges Go Wild"

Aunty Belle said...

"Maybe the reality of the situation is, as a writer, I miss shows that value writing."

Ditto.

Aunty Belle said...

Bird Beauty,
PBS tonight will have a program on China--a reality show of sorts on abuse and misuse of their citizens

Pete Bogs said...

hell - I was going to call it "Activist Judges Gone Wild," but I like your title, too...

aunt b - I am trying to shame people into giving up bad habits... for whatever it's worth...

Hellpig said...

yours works

Anonymous said...

So the ends do justify the means. Are you sure you really mean that, or is it the beginning of your own script?

What's American Idol or is that Idle?

Or how about Conservative Judges Go? Actually, that is a poor joke. The courts do need balance.

ab, here is another place where you and I agree mightily-you cannot replace good writing with schlock in my book. Hear, Hear.

Besides, isn't there some programming out there about girls gone wile?

Thanks for the reminder, Pete.

There is some great reality programming on HGTV and you can even enter a new dream home sweepstakes too

Anonymous said...

what is all this "freedom" of the "media" nonsense. They're going to show what I want them to show or they can go find another audience. Do i look like i care?

heh seriously, bad tv is a disease!

Pete Bogs said...

perhaps the time is overdue for me to provide a little clarity amid the muck that's running on TV...

Anonymous said...

If you want a true reality show it begins here.

Hellpig said...

all judges IMO sould all be non affiliated to any politics just follow the laws dont improvise on them

Pete Bogs said...

hell - non-political judges? there's something you and I can strongly agree upon...

Anonymous said...

hell I will join you and bogs on non-political judges.

Who knows this could be the beginning of a new movement. And since it isn't politics we don't have to worry about strange bedfellows. tee hee, snerx.

Anonymous said...

Hello, great site, I found a lot of useful information here, thanks a lot for Your work!
With the best regards!
David

Anonymous said...

Hello, thanks a lot, You'v done a great job.I can only realize how much time and resources does it take to create such a resource!Great work, I am impressed!