Reality vs. “Reality”

Reality television has to be the worst genre of television out there and is the main reason why I refuse to watch free to air television these days. Shows like Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, The Voice and American Idol (where music goes to die) are, in my opinion, some of the worst shows to have been produced by television producers ever. However, you can’t argue with the facts that the majority of today’s population watches this “entertainment.” (I use quotation marks because I would rather shove forks in my eyes than call these shows entertainment) But why are these shows watched so much? In my opinion it’s because of the issues that are raised in the shows and how they can be classified as ‘genuine’.

All these types of shows are pure AIDS. However, there is one show that really grinds my gears. That show is Big Brother. Unfortunately for me, for this blog post it has good examples of how it generated debate in the public sphere. We all remember the 2004 Incident with Merlin. Once evicted from the house, instead of doing the post eviction interview with Gretel Kileen, he taped his mouth shut and held a sign up that said “free the refugees”.

One little message on a sign and the debate on the Australian government policy to have mandatory detention of all asylum seekers was rehashed into the media. This incident gets talked about a lot in the debate, however, I do find it funny that no one mentions the next night when Merlin came on the nomination show and talked and apologised to Gretel for putting her on the spot and his views on the policy he was protesting. This segment alone got the highest ratings for the show as it peaked here and slowly declined.

The other thing big brother brings into the public sphere debate is that all the contestants on the show are there to be ‘themselves’, even though we all know most of them act a bit differently to how they would in private, and the ones who are genuinely themselves get booted in about the first 3 weeks. A good example here is in 2007 when Michael Crafter entered the house and was evicted 2 weeks later because his personality didn’t mesh with the other housemates.

This is all well good but controversy always will kick in independent of the housemates’ choices to act genuinely or not thanks to the clever editing on the show which often creates controversial situations. The example I have for this is the example of the Michael and David kiss back in 2005. This obviously never happened but the editors of the show saw it and cut it so it looked like they had. Michael was able to use this, even if it was unintentional to bring up the argument of is reality TV actually real?

We could see in this video Gretel got really defensive about the whole topic of big brother editing their shows. People should assume that the audience are not stupid; we know how TV shows are put together, through massive amounts of editing.  Gretel is clearly getting voice feed into her ear to argue that to Michael and in doing that comes off as rude because she cuts him off.

So that’s how Big brother enters the debate of the mediated public sphere. Also if you hadn’t noticed I really, REALLY hate Reality TV. I thought in this post I could Kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak. I hope someone out there agrees with my views on how bad the TV of today is. I really miss being able to sit down and watch shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones on TV instead I have to download or buy them on DVD. Thanks Australian TV, you really make it hard to watch you, don’t you.

Reference List:

Image Sourced from : http://criticallycorrectblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/big-brother-watching-obamacartoon.jpg

andi2468 (2009) Merlin’s Eviction Protest-Big Brother Australia, Accessed on 8/04/2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3N83X0gb_c

benisawesome (2008) crafter on big brother-sunday night, Accessed on 8/04/2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPAVelCsl0

Andi2468 (2008) The Gretel Incident-Big Brother Australia, Accessed on 8/04/2013,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H11qJhfPU1Q

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2 Responses to Reality vs. “Reality”

  1. Dean Bonnor says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Reality shows, in particular big brother, make me want to reach into the television screen and strangle everybody on it. And now you’ve got these insane shows like jersey shore that do nothing but stroke the egos of the morons that star in it and people like them. Just one thing, you sad “Unfortunately for me, for this blog post it has good examples of how it generated debate in the public sphere”. Hatred spurs more public debate than anything else in my opinion, so let your rage fly free, for the good of the world!

  2. Big Brother was a great example for this topic, bringing up many debates in it’s time and I completely agree with you. It was a ridiculous show and has wrecked Australian TV. The amount of rubbish “reality” shows that are broadcast to us are almost entirely made to create debate and are not really made for any entertainment value. When Merlin was evicted was one of the greatest moment, in my opinion, of Big Brother. Why did it have to come back?

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