While watching the “reality” television The Bachelorette on ABC, one of the bachelor gentleman the titular bachelorette was provided introduced himself by tickling her. I wasn’t watching with focus so maybe he had an actually job, personality, or whatever, but I doubt the editors and producers of this show wanted my focus to go any other than the fact that he tickled the poor woman he was coming to court. Throughout most of the first episode, this guy’s “career” consistently read that he was one thing and one thing only.
Jonathan: Tickle Monster
We’ve always said that reality is stranger than fiction, and it is. Well, it is…when we let reality be reality. Film an ecosystem without any interference; that is reality. It is life in its purest form. Many claim that it’s this pure form of reality they seek in their reality television and film projects. The problem is that reality cannot be controlled as pitch perfect as we would like it to be. The drama and narratives just don’t happen at moments we need them to exactly as we need them to be.
So, when making “reality” programs, we try to, as humans always do, force fate’s hand in the direction we need it to be.
Some reality programs do it more obviously than others. Some of these shows simply place or suggest their subjects to go in particular directions or situations and let the drama unfold as naturally as possible having already stacked their decks with people who are more like characters than people you would meet in your every day life. Then, there are the shows that take it a step further by crafting narratives to put their “real people” in. A few of these shows actually hire script writers to create story lines.
Remind me again how this is considered reality television?
Even reality contest shows like Big Brother and Survivor design and develop situations to push contestants who have crafted fictional personas that capture the audiences attention to stay in competition for as long as possible.
Crazy sells. Normal bores.
A competition show where the contestants all get along and follow the rules doesn’t get ratings. A competition show where everyone is stabbing everyone in the back, breaking every possible rule and drunk fighting someone into a pool? It’s the most watched program for the entire week.
We all know it isn’t how things actually are going down or that this is actually how some people live their lives, but no one wants to see the real in reality so we trick ourselves into a false reality we claim is actuality. Hell, our day to day real lives aren’t as natural as they appear. Make up, clothes, and acting in a way that isn’t our nature all serve as our own alteration of real reality.
We’ve stopped accepting things the way they are and try to dress them up to look more like our fantasies while we strip away the magic from fiction to make it more realistic.
Fiction: more real than reality.