Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lazy Sunday # 248: The Reality Of Reality TV

The openly admitted conceit of drama is that it’s fiction. We all know it’s all made up. The story was hammered out in advance. The actors are pretending. The shots of bourbon are cold tea.

The well hidden truth of reality television is that it’s just as made up. But the writers and performers don’t get paid very much. And while the Jell-o shots might pack a punch, they aren’t really from the brand name bottles in the shot.

This week there was a frisson of “We’ve arrived!” among the makers of Canadian reality shows after American Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, allowed that “Love It Or List It” was her favorite TV show.

Maybe it gave her some ideas for that fixer-upper she’s got in Benghazi.

Actually, what she said was that she found the show “Calming”, perhaps admitting that such programming basically helps put her to sleep.

However, we have to admit it is amazing that after almost two decades of by-the-numbers and repetitive “reality” formats, they continue to dominate the television landscape.

Much of that is because networks keep making more of them, their low cost slowing the need to openly admit that their outmoded business model is in its death spiral.

But part of it is because audiences simply don’t stop to consider that the only way to capture such manufactured realities is by using the very same techniques which capture fiction.

Maybe it’s time somebody pulled back that veil.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

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