Why I Hate Reality TV

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It’s Saturday night and I’m being forced to watch an awful TV programme in which a group of Z list ‘celebrities’ are attempting to impersonate famous singers to try and win £10,000 for the charity of their choice. The charity focus is designed to hide the fact that it’s a cheap, tacky re-make of a show that existed in the 1990’s, and they’ve officially run out of new ideas. I wouldn’t mind, as the participants can actually sing, but they sound nothing like the person they are trying to emulate, making the show pointless.

I hate reality TV and talent competitions. Actually, ‘hate’ is quite a loose term. I loathe it. Detest it. Abhor it. I avoid it at all costs.

I never used to feel like this. Years ago, programmes that were based on reality competitions were the highlight of my week. The very first series of ‘Popstars,’ in which the band ‘Hearsay’ was formed from the eventual winners was riveting, and I remember my whole family excitedly waiting for the final line-up to be revealed.

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When ‘Big Brother’ hit the screens in the UK it initially went unnoticed. However, as time passed it became a phenomenon, helped by the exploits of ‘Nasty Nick,’ and his game-playing tactics in the house. The winner of the first series was Craig, a down-to-earth builder who donated all of his £70,000 winnings to Joanne, a girl with Downs Syndrome who needed an operation. He became one of the most recognised faces in the country, and has managed to carve out a decent career in his trade.

Years later, reality TV has taken on a different dimension entirely. There are two main categories: talent-based competitions and documentary formats.

Talent shows bombard our screens – ‘X Factor,’ ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Dancing On Ice,’ ‘I’m A Celebrity,’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ are just a few that have been shown in the last decade. Reality documentaries follow ‘celebrities’ around as they live their privileged lives. ‘Real Housewives,’ ‘The Only Way Is Essex,’ ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘Geordie Shore,’ ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians,’ and ‘The Hills,’ are just a few examples, and aside from ‘Made In Chelsea,’ (which I watch occasionally when there is nothing else on, much to the annoyance of The Bloke) I can honestly say that I haven’t watched any of them with any regularity or interest – I like to have background noise while I’m working.

There are several things that particularly irritate me:

1. Sob stories: Introductory stories of contestants will usually tell the story of a loss that they have faced. They’ll go into the audition and then we see them crying and praying with their Nan when they are successful, accompanied by the instrumental version of Take That’s ‘Rule The World.’

2. Talent and/or integrity is not necessarily a requirement: A weirdo generally stands more of a chance of getting through in a reality competition because they will provide more of an entertaining line-up. Don’t believe me? Check out Wagner and Jedward on the UK X Factor. It is also not required for a reality documentary format – the perfect example being Honey Boo-Boo. She may be a child, but she is a precocious little moron and it annoys me that she gets publicity when there are children her age who genuinely possess an outstanding talent and aren’t afforded the same opportunities because they know how to conduct themselves like a normal human being.

3. The false praise: I’ve lost count of the amount of times where I’ve seen a judge praise an AWFUL, eardrum bending performance just for the sake of the viewer. While I dislike Simon Cowell, I respect him for his occasional honesty when he informs contestants that they are crap.

4. The same formula: regardless of the subject of these competitions, each follows exactly the same format. Compete, fight, bitch, squabble, one person leaves.

5. They just keep going and going: each series of reality TV programmes always become more extreme. Awkward situations and fights are deliberately caused to make more interesting viewing, and the shows are edited to make conflict seem far more intense than they actually are. Participants almost become caricatures of themselves.

6. Documentary formats aren’t ‘reality,’ they’re set up and scripted, and poorly acted with it.

I think I’ll stick with working through my DVD collection – at least I know they’re going to keep me entertained. Or I could just go and pull all my fingernails out one by one.

Image credit: bangsandabun.com

What about you guys? Do you love or loathe reality tv?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

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A Revelation

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I went back to work yesterday.

After feeling so ill for the last few weeks I was surprised at how nervous I felt about it, but I was lucky in that it was a light teaching day and I received lots of support from my colleagues and the students, who surprised me by welcoming me back.

However, being ill doesn’t remove the pressures surrounding the submission of coursework and after only two days I feel absolutely shattered and quite anxious about the looming deadlines. I’m in the middle of packing for the house move in the next few weeks too, which doesn’t help, and this means that I won’t get much of a weekend to myself.

The last few weeks have been quite a revelation as to my goals, ambitions and expectations of what my life should be like, and at 32 years old I have the opportunity to do something about it. I don’t have children and I don’t have a mortgage and aside from student loan repayments I am not in debt, and so the options that are available to me are wider than I initially thought.

I know what it is I want to do, and for the first time in years I feel like I have a direction and something to work towards. While I’m not giving too many details as yet, I’m looking forward to the possibility of making this become a reality. 

What about you guys? Are you happy with the life that you’re living? 

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog