What is reality?
It is no secret we have become obsessed with celebrity culture. The more than a decade anniversary of Princess Dianna’s death reminds of this in no uncertain terms.
Ratchet that up a notch? Try reality TV. Where we put “real” people, in front of the camera, to be consumed by the masses. It’s a great profit for broadcast…much lower overhead than scripted tv, etc. But is it dangerous, healthy, or good TV? I think the answer is yes, yes, yes! Sometimes, more of one than the other, but…
And I am not preaching here…I am a huge fan of some of these shows. And am meh, about many others.
My favorites over the years ~ MTV’s pioneer series: The Real World (ha ha!), Rockstar, The Hills, Rock of Love, Project Runway… There have been others…but those are the ones I still watch! (new / old). Arguablly the most popular over the years have been Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother, American Idol. I have watched the latter 3 some, and recognize their success. Remember some of the others: The Bachelor, Joe Millionaire, The Osbournes, The Newlyweds(lmao, didn’t work out so well after, eh!?), Road Rules, etc, etc.
All of these things have created a new kind of celebrity. Talented or not. What it has also born, is a new type of fan. Or maybe it is a new level of fanaticism. Again, not counting myself out here. If anything, being a fan of some of these folks, I think it gives me unique insights…And I am nothing if not critical of myself! Know when thyself is crazy, ya know?
So anyway, to my point…and yes, I do have one!
What has this new “reality” done to us? It seems, in some cases is has let these “real” people right into our living rooms. I think the TV star(scripted) has always inserted itself more deeply into our consciousness than the fabulousness of the movie stars…that seem just out of reach. But, it would seem that these “real” people bring us in, just a bit closer, no?
We learn all about their lives. Their foibles, their fears, their inner demons, their dramaramas… We see what we think is their “true” character, revealed to us on these series. And for the truly enamored, read: somewhat obsessed(again, include me right here!), there is an element that pushes all of this one step further… Cyberspace! So, take the equation: “real” people + edited for entertainment drama only + fans that read and post about your every move…what does that equal?
It equals a hyper “reality” . But is any of this real? Take one of my favorite shows in the aforementioned: Rockstar. I loved that show. It is so accessible in my opinion. Rock music. Hot musicians. Colorful, fast, spectacular. (We won’t lament here that they have not renewed it for a third season–wahh!). But it wasn’t just music. It included, in addition to live performances… a peek into the weekly trials of the competition, “back at the mansion”. Great, great TV. And they had great material. The first season’s winner, featured that too cute bad boy: JD Fortune from Canada. The second season, the skunk hair faux hawked Lukas Rossi, also from the North, eh. Add in the bunch: other would be rockstars, all tattooed, fighting over songs, calling each other out, saying one wanted it more than the others, others thinking they were better singers, and weekly excessive voting by the viewing masses… Freaking good TV.
Anyways, what goes with this, is that we think we know these guys. There are sites all over the internet on all these shows…dissing various people/contestants (on the competitive shows), lamenting their choices, and in many cases, carrying on into the post show. Folks send them gifts, etc. Fans meet these “real” people, and ask them questions about their personal lives. Judgments are made, movements are tracked. What was once saved for stalking the celebrities is now, the obsession, with these “real” people, as if we know them and are friends with them.
It is crazy. Fun crazy sometimes, but crazy nonetheless. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have met, so many fabulous people, being part of a fan community. I have enjoyed live concerts with folks that know how to party like nobody’s business! And yes, I have met some of these “real” people, from the TV! It has been a great ride, I will not diminish that.
But…but, it is so strange! That I know, who someone is dating(or doing, lol) when it is not public knowledge(read not in any tabloids), have corresponded with folks about some would say scandalous goings on behind the scenes. It is weird, when I see live, in front of my very eyes, folks acting as if they are ‘owed’ something from these “real” people, because they have supported them, because they know their birthdays, because they gave them gifts, because they paid alot of money…because they show off their boobies……………………….
When you see folks practically throwing down to scratch and claw their way to look into the eyes of these people that were introduced to them, or reintroduced to them via this medium, of reality tv…it is so strange. When folks use cyberspace to promote their cracked agendas, and their alternate realities about these “reality” tv personalities… It’s as if, we, the people, the fans, forget, these people are REAL.
They are not a “character”. They are simply human beings, that sure, have used TV to further themselves. But, that does not make them my best friend, and it does not make them need to tell you how their mom or dog is. They are not our friends, they are not our family. They are actors, doctors, singers, etc, that came to us, presenting a condensed version of themselves, that was then edited to a “reality” story, that producers wanted to show us. That is not “real” …that is TV.
Blurry, isn’t it? That’s life…that’s, “reality”.
For what more drama these “real” folks can blur themselves into obsession with, read: http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/
The shows, are getting more freaky! And I hate to say it, but maybe, so are we!