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View Full Version : The Age of Voyuerism: Why we like/hate these shows



dgiharris
06-23-2009, 08:36 PM
I've noticed an increasing trend in 'Reality TV'. At the start, it seemed it was contest focused like the Bachelor, Survivor, etc. and then it seemed to trend towards 'cool' jobs, experiences, encounters like Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs, but another part of the Reality TV pie has always been Voyuerism like Big Brother, the Osmunds, etc.

But now we are moving into some serious Voyeurism with a barrage of shows.

THe Real Housewives of Orange County, New Jersey, Atlanta, New York is dominating Bravo.

Then you have Hammer Time, Gene Simmons Family Jewels,

And now, I'm seeing promos for shows called NYC Prep (following the lives of 17 yr old trust fund babies) and Miami Social (following the lives of the social elite in Miami).

So, I ask the questions.

Why is this sort of TV gaining in popularity?

Is the Voyuer trait stronger and more prevalent than we give it credit for?

Do you have a favorite show?

Why do you like or hate these types of shows?

What does this mean for us writers?

Any other comments or opinions

ChunkyC
06-23-2009, 08:51 PM
No idea.

Yes.

Simmons Family Jewels.

Gene Simmons makes me laugh.

Somebody must be scripting these things.

Not at the moment.

CaroGirl
06-23-2009, 09:01 PM
My name is CaroGirl and I'm a hardcore voyeur.

There I admitted it. I like "reality" shows, even though I know a lot of it is a bit less than "real." I like seeing people react to a variety of situations. I love Intervention (even though it makes me squirm), Jon and Kate Plus 8 (even though lately it makes me feel icky and sad), Survivor, and so on. The voyeur in me takes it all in and squirrels it away for my own story ideas, just like when I people watch on the bus or in the mall. It's fodder. It's anthropological. It's people.

BTW, I think Gene Simmons is totally scripted and planned. In no way is it an off-the-cuff, documentary style reality show. But it can be damn funny.

Calla Lily
06-23-2009, 10:00 PM
Hate 'em. Esp. American Idol and its ilk. I've been through a lot of auditions where the director ripped me to shreds. Not my kind of entertainment. If people want their 15 minutes being humiliated on national television, have fun. I'll read a book.

archerjoe
06-23-2009, 11:14 PM
Reality TV saved my WIP. No, really. That and the never-ending commercial advertisements caused me to swear off TV and write instead.

scarletpeaches
06-23-2009, 11:18 PM
Hate, hate, hate.

'Reality' my arse. They're scripted, rehearsed and fixed.

Because of the proliferation of 'reality' TV I rely on DVDs for viewing pleasuretainment.

Hello, box set of The Tudors Season Two.

Izz
06-24-2009, 12:33 AM
I hate reality TV shows. Detest, despise, and other suitably strong words.

Even if they're not scripted (and i tend to agree with others above who say they are) they're always geared for maximum pointless conflict, from the situations presented to the people picked to 'star' in them.

As a writer, i tentatively say they may have some value. People watch them, and the reason people watch them (i'm about to make a generalization, so apologies in advance) is for the conflict and personality clashes, etc. So if a writer doesn't already know that books are usually more interesting with plenty of conflict and diverse (and often outrageous) characters, then they might learn something.

bettielee
06-24-2009, 01:36 AM
What does this mean for us writers?

Do you realise this was at the cruz of the writer's strike last year? The writers really have the "reality show" stick in their craw. Can't say I blame them. They still use writers but they use non-union writers. (or so I read when all that business was going on)

dgiharris
06-24-2009, 09:05 AM
Back in the late 90s when Reality TV (at least in the US) was just coming about, I predicted that it was just a 'phase' that wouldn't last more than 10 yrs.

Now, about a decade later I've got egg on my face, not only is it not a phase ,it is becoming a significant block of the entertainment pie. I don't have the stats, but i'm guessing that reality TV probably accounts for 20% of the time slots/viewership with no end in sight.

To me, the problem with Reality TV is that it is soooo forgetable. I mean, I love Deadliest Catch, but after watching a few episodes, they are completely interchangeable. They throw the pod in, catch the crab, bring it up, depending on the result they either cheer or sulk, sort the crab, then throw the pod back in, rinse and repeat ad naseum...

A similar thing with the 'watch how the rich people live' reality TV. After watching a show I never feel the urge to call someone and say, "Did you see what happened on the Real Housewives of Orange County last night?"

But apparently, despite being forgetable(IMHO), they have a solid fan base and the ratings don't lie.

Perhaps, these shows make it easier for the viewer to pretend that it is their life? Or on some primal level we are more drawn to the show since it is 'real' life.

I dunno. But i'm at a point where for the most part, I can't watch Reality TV.

But to each their own. I mean, I do love Top Chef, but I consider that more like a game show than the typical reality tv. Or am I being a hypocrit. Bashing reality tv while I watch Top Chef??? :)

Mel....

som1luvsmi
06-24-2009, 09:24 AM
Somebody must be scripting these things.



My name is CaroGirl and I'm a hardcore voyeur.

There I admitted it. I like "reality" shows, even though I know a lot of it is a bit less than "real." I like seeing people react to a variety of situations.




'Reality' my arse. They're scripted, rehearsed and fixed.


Hi, CaroGirl! I, too, am a reality show watcher for the same reasons.

And, yes, they are scripted or the producers fix it to how they want the audience to perceive it.

I know this because someone close to me is the "ridiculously good looking" guy from Wipeout. And while he is ridiculously good looking, that's not anywhere close to what he said in the interview the first time. Not only that, but a year later, producers from ABC called him up and asked him to be on a new dating show they were pitching. He said, jokingly, "not unless you can make sure that I'm not the one chosen" to which the producer replied "I can do that".
So, yeah. Not really much "reality" left in reality TV.

Why do I watch again? :D

dgiharris
06-24-2009, 09:58 AM
Hi, CaroGirl! I, too, am a reality show watcher for the same reasons.

And, yes, they are scripted or the producers fix it to how they want the audience to perceive it.

I know this because someone close to me is the "ridiculously good looking" guy from Wipeout. And while he is ridiculously good looking, that's not anywhere close to what he said in the interview the first time. Not only that, but a year later, producers from ABC called him up and asked him to be on a new dating show they were pitching. He said, jokingly, "not unless you can make sure that I'm not the one chosen" to which the producer replied "I can do that".
So, yeah. Not really much "reality" left in reality TV.

Why do I watch again? :D

You know, I saw one of the girls from "The Bachelor" on Millionaire Matchmaker and then she was on VH1's Tough Love...

She got around :D

So what are the odds on that being a coincidence???

Mel...

aquacat
06-24-2009, 10:10 AM
I used to work at FIDM, where Lauren Conrad from The Hills went to college. It was hilarious to watch them filming. The girls would do something, then the director would ask them to stop, go back to the beginning of the action and do it again with changes that were sometimes scripted on the spot. LC has a hard time walking without bumping into things, so they had to edit out a few of her funnier accidents.

The only reality show I ever watch is Project Runway, because I enjoy the creativity and I have a big ol' crush on Tim Gunn.

jodiodi
06-24-2009, 05:59 PM
Let's see. I watch:

Deadliest Catch - we used to live in AK and it gives us a taste of being back there. I don't care if it's scripted or heavily edited. I just love the show.

Dirty Jobs - Mike Rowe is hilarious. I love to see him in these bizarre situations where he's not ashamed to look foolish.

Man vs. Wild - So what if they set up a lot of the situations for him? It doesn't negate the fact he's showing people how to deal with them. Besides, Bear Grylls is HOT!

Clean House - Makes me feel good about our own messy house and gives me ideas for things I can do with my own humble abode.

Iron Chef - Again, gives me ideas for combining flavors.

I don't watch the other crap:
Survivor
American Idol
Jon & Kate (never heard of them until they were all over tabs in the checkout line)
Family Jewels
Real Housewives of Anywhere
Irate, Spoiled Chefs
Bridezillas (someone needs to slap the $&%* out of those bitches)

I'm sure some people enjoy those shows and I am by no way making any judgement about those folks.

The shows, however, are utter crap.

childeroland
06-24-2009, 07:03 PM
Pretty good answer excerpted from Heather Havrilesky's Salon article on NYC Prep

http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/review/2009/06/23/nyc_prep/index.html


"It's kind of disgusting how much money some people have," PC, an 18-year-old with an unfortunate habit of turning his collar up, informs us in the clenched tone of sophistication adopted by someone who's deeply conflicted about the legitimacy of his own swagger. "People want to strive and kind of act like an asshole and flash their money ... Yeah, I feel bad for the people who can't have that." This kid's words might not interest us in the slightest, if he didn't bear such an uncanny resemblance to every fatuous blowhard we've ever had the misfortune of being paid good money to feign respect for. But this is how we have the last laugh: We roll back the tape to when our conceited manager was a fledgling windbag just beginning to strut and puff out his chest, then play it back with a clown music soundtrack. In the age of reality TV, our vengeance is exacted in the darkness of the editing room, sipping lattes and giggling along with editors as spiteful and disempowered as we are.

"NYC Prep" drags out the people we know just well enough to recognize that they're very, very different from us -- that grandstanding thug at work, the chick down the hall in college with the tennis courts in her backyard, the ex-girlfriend's spouse who speaks four languages and summers in Martha's Vineyard -- and shows us why they're so different. We ogle their many advantages and indulgences, then soothe ourselves with how twisted and pitiable they are, swimming in such a toxic, decadent, big-city marinade. We already know that they turned out wrong, but now we know why.

RickN
06-24-2009, 09:04 PM
Back in the late 90s when Reality TV (at least in the US) was just coming about, I predicted that it was just a 'phase' that wouldn't last more than 10 yrs.

90's reality shows: 'Temptation Island' comes to mind. Real trashy stuff.


I don't understand the appeal. I don't watch any reality shows, could care less who wins American Idol, and see no reason to watch Gordon Ramsey act like an ass for an hour(a 30-sec commercial is bad enough).