Saturday, November 27, 2010

We still crave authenticity (even in reality tv)

The average show takes members of the public and sends them on a journey. We love to follow that because it's a cracking story which engages our emotion. It's not unlike a soap opera, except that these are real people and you get to vote them out one by one. That simple premise dominates everything from Britain's Got Talent to Big Brother and The Apprentice. What it creates is an extraordinarily powerful story arc where we get involved in the characters. That's why we watch it.

Reality television is a completely constructed premise. None of the people would be in it if we were just showing their normal lives. But what it does do is take human flesh and blood and challenges it in situations that bring out a person's true personality. So what flows from this constructed premise is extremely real. That's why shows work, because the public is after authenticity… They want to support people with talent and for them to win, but they punish pretension and two-facedness. - Peter Bazalgette

1 comment:

  1. 'So what flows from this constructed premise is extremely real.' That's the bit I'm not convinced by. The 'good' behaviour you see is just as likely to be fake as the 'bad' reactions of your Gillian McKeiths. Why else do the programme-makers pile on the pressure with artificial situation after artificial situation? They are trying to break through the facade of knowing, on-camera behaviour. Sorry, these shows tell us nothing about real human nature except the desire of certain people to be on telly. And you can see this desire, writ smaller, in everyday situations where people try to justify their selfish behaviour and various guilt and anxiety complexes by appealing to a wider audience and painting themselves in some more acceptable colours. The first person they have to deceive is, of course, themselves.