Attack of the Idiot Box July 2, 2008Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Entertainment, india, Mass Media, Media, Personal, Television, Writing.
Tags: reality television, reality television in india, shinjini case, tips for reality show contestants
Shinjini is in hospital. A participant on a regional reality dance competition, she lost movement and talk after an episode in which her performance was criticized by the 3 member judges panel.
Presently she is in a Bangalore hospital recuperating and spoke her first lines in some days. As expected there has been a furor. Did the judges overstep their jurisdiction? Was their criticism justified? Did they in fact critique or did they ridicule the hapless participant to such an extent that they, albeit unwillingly, injured her – emotionally and psychologically?
Noises are being made to draft guidelines for judges, which is welcome. Many a time, producers and directors of such shows cross the line and succumb to the tactic of ridicule and humiliation – the very basis of some reality shows. It is the participant’s unscripted helplessness, humiliation, humbling and eventual triumph that draws audiences to the format.
Schadenfreude – a German word meaning ‘enjoyment taken from the misfortune of someone else’ is the guiding principal. It is common knowledge that ‘reality’ in television reality shows s ‘constructed reality’, mediated by concerns of rising or falling ‘Television Rating Points’ or TRP’s. There have been cases of sexual assault on some reality shows that have been aired just to boost its popularity. Many even suspect whether the said assaults were in fact pre-meditated by the show’s director’s.
India is an evolving market and reality television is here to stay. The epochal 15 minutes of fame will seduce us to sell our soul – the price is, as always, negotiable. There are a few things to be kept in mind –by the contestants, conceivers and last but not the least – the audience.
In the beginning it is you who wants the show. The show doesn’t want you. There are thousands like you who are dying for the opportunity to be on national television. So if you get it, grab it.
If indeed you make it to the show remember that it’s a golden opportunity. Be smart, use all the prior experience of watching reality shows and create a persona that is right for the contest. You will feel schizophrenic – but that’s the general direction in which the entire world is moving. Live with it.
You will be judged, criticized – basically ripped apart. Are you ready for that? Remember that even if you were promised otherwise – you are not the one who is in any position to change the way in which the show is conducted. You have only 1 option – to leave the show – will you? Most probably not.
You have the possibility of becoming a brand. Harp on your dominant trait – even if it is offensive. It will get you noticed. But be smart to realize when it stops paying dividends. Everybody acts a bit on reality television and so must you – a bit that is.
If you in fact indeed have the talent then losing on national television can in some cases be better. You get sympathy and people recognize many a final round loser. So, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it is the beginning of a brand new career. Enjoy.
Know when to stretch the envelope in style and content.
Exploitation and humiliation don’t work all the time. Audience and tastes evolve faster than we think they do. Most Indian reality content being adaptations of foreign formats, there is a time lag and voila things have changed. So should content.
Talent, skill, popularity, drama, controversy – what are your show driver’s and do they work in the local market?
Please – something original.
Take everything with a pinch of salt…and other assorted spices.