Soapbox: Reality TV

 
 

Emer Sugrue cringes at a decade of reality

What the hell has happened to television? How I long for the glory days when everything was scripted and Blue Peter presenters could wantonly murder pets and not have to worry what to tell the kiddies. The Noughties saw the world gripped by the feverish need for honesty in television. Things have to be real, real life, real situations, real people. The schedules are buried under a steaming mass of docu-soaps and Reality TV. You rarely even see an actor these days unless he’s in a jungle eating crocodile anus.

I don’t understand the fascination with ‘real people’. You meet real people every bloody day. They’re the bastard pushing past you on the street or stealing your parking space. The moron sitting next to you in the cinema eating popcorn at 100 decibels and asking “who’s that?” every two seconds. Real people are idiots, but cheap ones. Actors and writers need to be paid; real people do it just to be on the telly.

We are bombarded day and night with these pathetic fools trying to prove themselves and they all have a sob story. Wow, you’ve got a dead mother and you can sing? Why you’re the whole package! Now sing, sing until we grow weary and move on to the next bereaved songstress.

It’s this sort of rubbish that launched the career of frumpy warbler Susan Boyle, shocking everyone with the revelation that it’s possible to have both a unibrow and decent vocal cords. Marginally less ubiquitous are the ‘celebrity’ reality shows like I’m A Celebrity, Hand Me That Testicle. These detestable specimens were once genuinely famous, or at least shagged someone who was and are desperate to get back in the limelight, so desperate that they are willing to sit for weeks in the outback chomping their way through kangaroo sweetbreads.

But the most infuriating thing about reality TV is the reason why there’s so bloody much of it. You. The jerk who watches it.  These programmes are not just cheap to produce, but make a phenomenal amount of money because they get the audience to ring in and vote. In this great democratic age we live in, the public gets to decide everything; who should win the karaoke, who has to leave a house. Who should run the country? Nah, won’t make a difference. Those politicians are only in for themselves you know; now quick turn on ITV, Kerry Katona is in a hedge.

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