Today's Reality Shows: Boon or Bane?
It was way back in the year 2007 when Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody had a heated argument on a popular reality show of Britain and it took a sudden rage of racism and community biases to create a new furor internationally and people came out of their closet to support Shilpa Shetty, most of them were the Indian diaspora. The television reality show not only boosted its popularity but it also sent out a very strong message of a united nation, a nation that thrives on its cultural diversity. A scripted set up, all celebrity contestants and some weird concept of showing either the talent, bravery or the art. Be it a dance show or a thriller or a music contest the popularity in any form is more than the fictitious soap opera. Although these shows were initially carved out for creating a definite segment of the entertainment and the end goal was to make business out of them, however with the increasing number of such shows and the wider range of audience who can watch them without any censored content, that, they have become a paradigm. The quizzes and the talent shows are most popular of the bandwagon. These reality shows are all about common man, his relationship with the stars whom he adores and worship and his relationship with another common man who go ahead and become a star. The participants gain publicity both positive and negative, which largely is the work of their display of their own character. The stand-up comedians are household names now, as they somehow pulls the viewers from their monotonous lives and soak the audience in their mirth and jokes. People like to be tickled and enjoy the happiness flowing in their living rooms at just a click of a button.
The viewers not only feel connected with a particular performer or participant, because he/she had risen from amongst them, but they start associating themselves with that person and gradually that larger than life image of a common man rule the hearts. The audience love and loathe a participant with all sincerity of their emotions. The digital media thrives on this and they create and destroys the image of the person or a show. Sometimes, the emotions exhibited by the contestants are fake, scripted and totally to gain TVTs for the show. The pretentious sentiments are like a bait to get more viewership and to gain a soft corner in the audience’s heart, with all the tears and frenzied debates. The audience are bound to take sides and vote them and stand up by them, albeit they are unaware about the trap they were thrown into. Sometimes it is not only the audience but the organizers of these shows who find themselves in the deep down controversies which may take an international shape at times when the governments have to intervene to protect the rights of their citizens on the show. The entire game to attain popularity by the show and by the contestant takes a bad turn when either or both of them try to manipulate the situations and capitalize on them leading to a bad image. Reality shows are about realistic attributes like courage, determination and poise in extreme circumstances, sometimes a participant wins the heart of the audience by losing the game and rises to fame manifold whereas the winner fails to create an impact. The reality T.V. shows have made it a possibility for a common man to become a star and enjoy stardom with his/her talent. The phenomenon of becoming a star has changed altogether with the advent of reality shows. It has given the short lived and fake stars to us as well as talented and versatile stars which could have been lost in the crowd otherwise. The entertainment industry is going through a transition from soap opera and fictitious plots to hardcore reality. The reality is prevailing and so are the people who are the outcome of this set up. This concept has yielded a lot and has taken a lot too with its ugly side being so devastating for the sentimental audience. TV reality shows have gained a substantial segment in the industry as they are the shows that are run by the common man from the audience.