greenbottletree











{12/04/2012}   TV: broadening horizons or humiliation and degradation

There is a US TV show called Cheaters. The premise is that someone who believes their partner is cheating on them employs the services of a private detective agency, Cheaters, specialising in this field of cheating partners. The love rat is then filmed in action (nothing too rude that I’ve seen!) and the edited footage is shown to the distraught cheated partner and a confrontation ensues/is staged (at the love rat’s wedding to the “other woman” in one high drama episode).
I am not sure how I have ended up seeing chunks of this dreadful show more than once, it is horrible, especially seeing people publicly humiliated. I have ranted about reality shows before but now I am questioning the purpose of such shows. Yes, they draw in viewers, they are cheap to make … oh, that’ll be why.
But “thanks” to such shows, I am aware of social practices/beliefs in certain pockets of society about which I previously knew nothing. My horizons have broadened, yet I feel my affinity with my own people, as it were, is diminishing as a result. I don’t feel I fit in to society, or rather perhaps I think more about where/if I fit into it. I wonder why I didn’t used to feel this disconnected but I now think it has something to do with TV programmes like that (maybe a bad example as that show is American, but we have Gypsy Wedding, Made in Chelsea (apparently it’s not scripted) and other real life “documentaries”) which depict society in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable and far removed from any connection to an idyll of life in Britain depicted in, say, The Good Life or Darling Buds of May, even My Family (another issue, another unreality, but probably a much better one to absorb).
I feel that TV is making extremes seem normal. I mean, look at Shameless (it’s scripted but distressingly based on reality), it seems that the kinds of people Shameless was written about then see the programme and draw inspiration from it.
Yes, I do feel more aware of people’s interests, obsessions, lifestyles, etc, but I don’t know that I like this heightened awareness. I worry that young people in particular look to TV for inspiration, for trends, for ways of fitting in. When confronted with shows about warped/niche/controversial ideas of good taste, lifestyles, norms, etc, isn’t that what they draw inspiration from? I don’t want to just sit and watch documentaries and history programmes to be educated, I want to watch well-scripted series that are fairly light but intelligent. I often watch TV for escapism, and yes I have seen some of the dreadful programmes mentioned above, but I find the escapism element lingers and makes me feel disturbed and either out of touch or disconnected. I am pretty sure, in fact from Facebook alone I know, that there are a lot of other people out there who want to see intelligent, humorous dramas, for example. Why isn’t there a show like This Life anymore?

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