Think about it though. Those nobodies who choose to participate in a Reality TV show have the opportunity to enjoy a moment of fame, win a fortune or launch themselves onto the road to stardom. Similarly, those somebodies who take part have a chance to revive a flagging career, promote or a new project.
The potential benefits clearly outweigh the potential for ruin or humiliation. If they didn’t, nobody would be interested.
But is it the humiliation that the public wants to see?
Sadly I think that for the majority of people the answer is yes. There seems to be an intrinsic human desire to see people suffering, whether it’s celebs gagging on bugs in the jungle, wannabe popstars making fools of themselves at X Factor auditions, cooped up housemates arguing with each other on Big Brother, or in days of yore, convicted criminals facing the gallows at public hangings.
And it’s this voyeurism that lies at the heart of the movie Live! A dark comic spoof of the Reality TV genre, it stars Eva Mendes as a TV exec desperate to boost her ratings. ‘Let’s do a Russian roulette-style reality show,’ she suggests and, once her team have got over their disbelief and horror they realise that what I’ve said above is true, they jump through a few legal loopholes, get the green light, and launch their twisted gameshow where six contestants risk their lives for the chance of a massive monetary prize.
It’s funny, provocative, deeply disturbing and real food for thought if you get your TV kicks from watching the misfortunes of others.
Personally, I’ve no time for the human suffering side of Reality TV. It stresses me out. I’m much happier with the final few weeks of X Factor/American Idol or a Big Brother packed with amusing and interesting housemates (yes, guess who’s looking forward to the Celebrity Big Brother Final tonight!).
Live! shows on Sky Movies Premiere tonight (29th Jan) at 11.45pm, and at various times throughout the week.
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