Reality bites

That time of year is here again.  Reality TV rules.  The X factor auditions have started, Strictly come Dancing will be salsa-ing across the airwaves in a matter of weeks and Big Brother it appears has been resurrected from the dead.  Add to that the advent of “scripted” reality programmes such as Jersey Shore and its British rip-off Geordie Shore, The Hills, The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea and it’s official.  Add to that Gavin Henson’s appearance in the Bachelor on Channel 5 (I could not deal with a man who spent that much time on his hair and fake tan- get a grip!) and it’s official, I’m in hell…

I will confess I love a bit of Strictly.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for a bit of glitter?  Also, as a general rule, there are people I actually know on it.  It’s always fascinating to see what people are capable of and you get to see a different side of them as they get tired and frustrated with the training.

As for X-factor, I don’t have a problem with it when it gets to the finals and the people competing actually have some talent (barring Wagner last year and God only knows what the people voting to keep him in last year were thinking).  As for the auditions stage, I don’t watch them because it feels a little bit too much like the freak show.  There are people who think they can sing when in reality they can’t hold a tune and people find it amusing to see them being told they’re talentless by Louis Walsh et al.  I cannot condone television that laughs at the weaknesses of other people and one had hoped that the freak show was an oddity that died out in Victorian times but it seems to be alive and kicking on prime time television.

The same to a certain degree is true of Big Brother.  I was thrilled when it was finally axed by Channel 4 last summer, thrilled that it would no longer be taking over the schedule for god knows how many weeks in the summer.  I watched the first series as it seemed like quite an interesting sociological experiment.  Put ten people in a smallish house with limited resources and see how they cope.  I was expecting much more of a Lord of the Flies response with a very clear hierarchy developing but whether it was the presence of the cameras, that never happened.  The interesting thing with that series was the people selected were (relatively) normal.  The problem is now they seem to pick the most out-there people possible in order to try to manufacture as much conflict and drama as possible.  They aren’t normal people who you can relate to.  As for Celebrity Big Brother, the new version courtesy of Channel 5, who ARE these people?  I don’t think I’ve heard of most of them, other than Sally Bercow who I know purely in her capacity as wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons (who must be mortified at some of the details of his marriage being exposed).

The result of such programmes as Big Brother and the new “scripted” reality programmes (the virtue of which someone will have to explain to me) is we have this new breed of people: people famous for being famous.  The vast majority of them have no talent (as much as I am very sorry for everything that happened to her, no-one could have accused Jade Goody of being talented at anything other than shameless self-promotion) and are totally pointless.  And yet they are being sponsored to represent this and that, or if the news is to be believed, in the case of the Jersey Shore cast and Abercrombie and Fitch, to NOT wear their products.

Can we go back to drama, documentaries, sport, whatever but the sooner we leave the majority of these tawdry programmes behind, the better.

Are you a reality detester? Or a devotee?  Feel free to leave your comments below…

Average Josephine x

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