For many, television supplies a blissful escape from reality. It offers us the opportunity to sit back, relax and take the opportunity to engage with someone else’s dilemmas, discoveries, disasters and dreams. But has the divide between pure entertainment and real life begun to blur with reality TV shows?
Choosing what to watch on the box is no longer a simple venture. Not only are we so accustomed to receiving our news and current event headlines via alternate media avenues but our viewing options are a vast vista no longer restricted to a handful of channels as in years gone by. Add in free-to-air digital channels, pay-television channels and online viewing and it would not be difficult to watch something different in the same timeslot every evening. And a new genre has emerged in recent years – reality television shows. But does reality TV reflect reality?
It was these comments on Twitter from @jonesytheteachr that inspired this post.
So what do we get out of these shows? And what have we learnt from some of the more memorable reality TV shows?
- Big Brother – Friday Night Games was always entertaining but being cut off from social media and all contact with the outside world never ends well.
- Bondi Vet – The compassion, love and affection that we foster with our pets are often some the deepest emotions people will experience.
- Find My Family – The profound effect of family on our lives, whether they are prominent or absent from our lives, cannot be underestimated.
- Masterchef – Food can represent culture, childhood memories, significant events and emotions. It can also open our eyes and our minds to new opportunities and experiences.
- Survivor / The Amazing Race – Challenging the mind, body, spirit and relationships all at once will often elicit unexpected outcomes.
- The Biggest Loser – Always filled with huge amount of determination, frustration and perspiration but it never fails to stimulate appreciation for their dedication.
Is it reality?
Provide the opportunity to train eight hours a day and anyone will lose weight. Supply wonderful ingredients, instruction and equipment and anyone can cook an impressive gourmet meal. Create an environment where physical and psychological limits are pushed to the extreme and anyone will perform incredible feats.
Is it reality?
Not really. But inspiration motivates actions. That is reality and that is worth remembering.
If reality television shows inspire others to change their reality for the better, to take on real opportunities and to aim for real heights then a dose of unreality can’t hurt.