A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends from school and her husband went on a game show which just aired in Australia. When she first told me she was going to be on this show, I was excited for her because it was exactly the kind of thing she loved doing – the fun, excitement, challenge, being in the spotlight and of course, the chance to win some cold, hard, cash. At the time, I told her I didn’t want to know the results – whether they won or lost. I said I wanted to be surprised like everyone else when I watched it. Then as the air date got closer and I started seeing the promotional ads appear on my TV, I started getting anxious. I sent her a text message in the morning that said: “If there’s even a remote possibility I might have a heart attack while watching you on TV tonight I need to know the ending NOW!!!”, to which she replied, “You need to watch. Heart attack guaranteed!”
Then it was showtime! I turned the TV on, sat and waited patiently as the host (not my favourite person on Australian TV) talked through the introductions and explained how the game worked. Then came the categories for the questions. They could have lost the lot in Round 1 which would have made for a very short show indeed but thankfully they didn’t. There were 8 rounds in total and I got increasingly nervous with each round. I was playing along. The worst part about these game shows is the long dramatic pauses. They always annoyed me – the long pause as they made you wait for the big reveal, and then just as you thought they would show you the answer, the host would say dramatically: “we’ll show you the answer when we come back after this break!” I can tell you exactly what I wanted to break at that moment! To cut a long story short, the show did not end in my friends’ favour and I nearly had a coronary from the anxiety (for the record, I would have lost the lot, too). Indeed, I should have taken heed of my friend’s warning: “Heart attack guaranteed!”
Whilst millions of people are addicted to game shows and reality TV, I am not one of them. I won’t deny ever having watched them on the odd occasion but they have never made me want to rush home to watch. Game shows and talent shows can provide some entertainment when you see genuine talent or if you actually know or have some sort of emotional connection with the participants (like I did with my friends). But they have never been able to hold my attention long enough to see them through an entire series…or the next. There have been shows where I may have watched the freshman year out of curiosity, but subsequent series have been harder to get excited about.
To me, reality TV is like a slap in the face of the many talented writers out there. I am a big fan of fiction writers, on screen and on paper. Those of you who have read my previous posts, or have read my fanfiction or are following me on Twitter will know this already. Of course, game shows and talent contests have been around as long as television has existed. But the flood of reality TV has become almost unbearable since the Hollywood Writers’ Strike in 2007-08. I love a well-scripted show, whether it be comedy or drama and this applies equally to the small and big screen. After all, if I am going to invest time and money into something, I would like to know that somewhere someone has put in a lot of effort into thinking about the words and stories that are expressed rather than some opinionated person’s judgments on another person’s talent (or lack thereof), or in the case of reality TV shows, some editor’s manipulation of the truth. Yes, reality TV is not as real as you may be led to believe.
So if you are a fan of game shows and reality TV, or some blurry combination of these (is The Farmer Wants a Wife reality TV or a game show…who wins?), leave me a comment and let me know why and what you love about them. Perhaps I have been missing the point completely? And if there is no point to those shows, then why should I spend time watching them? If you are like me, and don’t watch them or only watch them occasionally, leave a comment and support my case 🙂
I really dislike game shows. Don’t watch them.
Sorry your friend didn’t do well and lost the lot 😦
That would have given me a heart attack too.
But I do like some reality tv shows, but not all. My guilty pleasures are: The Amazing Race, Survivor, Real Housewives, Ice Road Truckers, The Deadliest Catch, Ax Men, American Loggers, Heli-loggers, Storm Chasers, and Billy the Exterminator. Lol
The only game show/ reality show that I ever watched was American Idol and I gave up on that about 3 years ago anyway. I understand the appear for networks because it’s inexpensive TV that attacks audiences.
Your comment about getting attached to characters and such is interesting because that seems to be a clear difference between game shows and reality shows. Game show contestants change weekly. So there is nothing to really get attached to. You would have to enjoy the game itself, instead of the “characters.” Reality shows, on the other hand, give you a chance to get attached to the characters and their lives. Like you said, they are more scripted than not, so there are the characters come out with relatively consistent personalities and there is an arch to the story. In that respect, I see the appear of reality shows more than game shows. However, the idea of scripted reality seems like someone who spends an hour trying to look like they just woke up.
I am a daily watcher of Who want to be a Millionaire (lots on the DVR) but its a competition between me and my family (has been for years) and same for Jeopardy. Sometimes I watch American Idol and The Biggest Loser.
But I totally see your view, Val. 🙂
Hi Val, I agree with you 100%. Making a Game show or a reality is about making a lot of money investing very little. Talent is expensive.
There’s a version of Dancing with the Stars here in Argentina but instead of making it about the talent of the dancers (which they have, no question about it) is about their miseries, it’s so sad to watch. As you said, a rather invest my time in series or movies that reflect the talent of the writers, actors, directors, so many people putting their art into it. Talking about talent, I´m in the mood for some White Collar now 😉
I’m on the fence on this one. Although I am not a huge fan of reality TV/Talent shows, there about 3 that I will watch every year, these include X-Factor, Britains Got Talent and I’m a celebrity get me out of here. X – Factor and Britains Got Talent is fun for us at home as we always have a debate and judge the contestants ourselves (like we have any idea of what we are talking about, but we like to think we do!!!) and then there is I’m a Celebrity get me out of here where celebrities are sent into the Jungle. Watching them do tasks that would make your stomach turn for example eating kangaroo testicles, fish eyes, anus, creepy crawlies, etc all to gain food for the camp, is exciting and gross at the same time, but it keeps me hooked. Mainly though I watch it for the presenters Ant and Dec who are great fun!
What I dislike are people who become famous and make a ton of money for being on a Reality TV Show. They have no discernibile talent, and yet make a fortune, whilst there are people out there with so much talent, who work so hard and who never seem to get a look in! These are the people I feel for!
But whilst people keep watching these shows, I am sure they will keep making them!
Great Post Val
Oh I wish your friends won! I am glad I didn’t watch it though – I would have been a heart attack risk too.
so, i probably shouldn’t tell you i think i’ve seen every episode of the hills, haha!! don’t judge me 😛
game shows annoy me because people are just too greedy for their own good!! and i hate eddie mcguire with a passion, so i agree with you on that one 🙂
but i can’t walk away from competitive cooking shows – masterchef, my kitchen rules, i *love*, haha!!
cheers for another fun post 🙂
Valerie, I must say that I grew up watching endless game shows, The Price is Right, The 10,000 Pyramid, and my personal favorite Family Feud, Double Dare, Hollywood Squares, and recently Deal or NO Deal. I really enjoy game shows because it’s like playing a board game, even though it’s stupid, but I like trying to play along and see if I can guess the right answers, I just think it’s fun, although I will not loose sleep over missing episodes or anything like that, I just watch when I’m in the mood.
And regarding Reality TV, the only Reality TV I like are the competition shows, like Next Food Network Star, Or the next Great Restaurant, Face Off, Cupcake Wars, Throwdown, etc. Most of them are about cooking shows and others of other things, but I like about them is the aspect of competition and the creativity that is expressed in them, like different kinds of cupcakes, or new ideas for restaurant, or even LA Ink, and Miami Ink that show different tattoos every show. I like those things, but I don’t like the ones that are all about the Drama, and cat fights or anything like that, I just like things that are fun and show creativity I can admire and that I can use to get inspired.
Thanks for commenting on my Blog too! Big Hug!
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