The appeal of reality tv shows

During my drink evenings, I prefer Netflix movies for entertainment. Accidental discovery of exploring books turned into TV series/movies proved to be a delightful surprise. Docudramas or documentaries were occasional distractions which provided a unique perspective on contemporary affairs or latest trends in society. Curiosity influenced me to view reality TV shows, and contrary to my belief, that these shows would not sustain my interest any longer than ten minutes, I continued to watch the shows with interest. I studied the varied persuasive techniques employed by the directors and producers to broadcast these shows during prime time. Each reality TV show be it Indian, American or British origin, the business strategy, though aimed at a specific target audience, used were drama, incentives such as prize money or reward of some sort such as career advancements, commissions or suitable partners, etc. If the focus is not entirely on the drama vs reality, then the emphasis is usually on the success of events like weddings, trips, etc.

I realised that I had specific reasons for continuing to watch each show once I selected these. Selling Sunset had lots of drama, conflicting situations arising due to the presence of strong-willed personalities in the show, dominated mostly by women and millions of dollars’ worth modern, spacious, and spectacular properties with impressive stylish décor which only the insanely rich could afford. Celebratory dinners or parties for boosting the company’s sales figures, the planning for weddings, and eventually the ceremonies followed, but not without confrontations and confessions which added excitement to the show.  

Too hot to handle has several bold and beautiful participants in the show and although I cannot pinpoint why I started watching this show, I could not help noticing the similarities between the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the partnered participants in the show. Like Adam and Eve were forbidden from eating some fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the beautiful men and women though sexually attracted towards each other were required to abstain from sex. If they violated the rule in any way, they were asking for deductions from the prize money.

What the love? an Indian reality TV show, identified men and women who had failed relationships earlier which not only caused trust issues but prevented them from jumping on the horse again. The show equipped the participants with survival skills, renewed confidence, and transformed them externally with a make over and helped with the healing of their internal scars. In other words, the show succeeded in making the participants love ready. The Big Day provided viewers with a glimpse into the planning, consultation, preparations, last minute changes, etc. which made the wedding an intensely personal experience for the couple with personal or local touches added to the event to make it memorable.

Another Indian reality show that piqued my curiosity was the Fabulous lives of Bollywood wives. I think I missed the gossip columns in magazines – Stardust, Filmfare- which I used to read as a teenager. To think that at 46+, being the pragmatic person, I would still be curious about what went on in the lives of celebrities is surprising. This family centred show revolved around successful women who were popular in the younger days but now are contented to lead the lives of wives, mothers and businesswomen juggling all the roles to the best of their abilities. It was not without drama as sparks flew now and then between the warring personalities but were contained just in time before explosions by manipulative, experienced older women in the group. Travel to exotic places coupled with fun and frolic provided a balance to the drama that unfolded before the viewers with debutante ball, children setting foot in the Bollywood film industry and a party thrown at the end of the show by the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Princess Gauri Khan.

If one were to spend a few seconds reflecting on the usefulness and relevance of these increasingly popular reality TV shows, the conclusion one would arrive at would not be disappointing for none can deny their informativeness. These shows hint changes in society in subtle ways and realistically portray the friction between participants caused by betrayals and their reactions sans editing which add variety to the entertainment industry without doubt.

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