Recently a reality show named "ISS JUNGLE SE MUJHE BACHAO" was launched on Sony Entertainment Television. While I was whiling away my time at home this summer, I saw the show's trailers and advertisements on television. Though I am not fond of reality shows, this show captured my attention particularly. Celebrities put in a jungle. The first thing I thought about the show was that the celebrities would have to cross the jungle and reach a certain destination. They would be provided with minimal requirements of survival and hidden cameras will be placed on every possible branches of trees, like in the English film Tropic Thunder. But, as I watched the advertisements of the show I'm a celebrity ...Get me out of here on VH1 channel, the realization dawned upon me that it was another stereotypical Indian version of an English show. And, as I watched the first few episodes of the show, I came to know that, as is the case with all the reality shows running now, the show was far from reality. The never changing location of the so called Malaysian jungle (Thank God, they did not call it African. I would have puked then and there) which they show on it, seems more like a 90's studio set of a jungle rather than a real one. The actors are ordered to perform tasks which, as of my knowledge, are hardly encountered in a jungle. Like, popping your head into a circular bowl, full of insects, mysterious creatures and what not.
Actually, most of Indian reality shows or copies of popular American shows. Not only the concept, but even names are verbatim translations of those of English one's. It all started with Kaun Banega Crorepati(Who wants to be a millionaire) , and continued with Jhalak Dikhla Ja( Dancing with the stars), Paanchvi Paas( Are you smarter than a Fifth Grade), Indian Idol (American Idol) and so on, goes the list. First came the Quiz shows (which are also a category of reality shows) in India. I liked those shows very much. They were filled with knowledge, education and entertainment. They also tested contestant's ability to take decisions in peer pressure. But then they turned towards the wrong road. Singing and dancing reality shows were introduced. But they seemed to have less singing and dancing than the English movies. They were filled with close-up's of baffled faces of contestants and angry faces of judges. Judges were given more money to shout and scold than for their actual purpose. Every angry expression earned a buck more for them, while emotional junta of India watched them eagerly, their faces plastered in front of TV sets. Though for namesake, there was some talent groomed in those shows. But that too is scarcely found in current reality shows. You don't need to have any talent in you to go in a reality show nowadays. You just need to have a pretty face, a wide mouth and an eagerness to earn money and fame. You may be the worst performer in the show but all you need to do is shed a few tears on the screen to make the TRP of the show skyrocketing (Of course, he/she will be given reward for his/her sobbing performance). Camera's seem to be pervasive. They are placed in rooms, corridors, bathrooms and where not. And sometimes, behavior of contestants on the TV seems so animated that I wonder if I am watching reality or drama.
Now the question in front of me was "Why do people watch reality shows?". As is natural I googled about it. I found an interesting article in which a certain Steven Reiss and James Wiltz from Ohio University conducted a scientific research on it. Here is a crumb of that bread.
Now, I didn't understand half of that shit. So I contemplated about it. Yes, of course. They are real people out their on the TV. Not actors in their roles. They are the one's audience can connect to, with themselves. It's supposed to be reality, god damn it. But, is it?Why People Watch Reality TVWe assessed the appeal of reality TV by asking 239 adults to rate themselves on
The Ohio State University
each of 16 basic motives using the Reiss Profile standardized instrument and to
rate how much they watched and enjoyed various reality television shows. The
results suggested that the people who watched reality television had above-average
trait motivation to feel self-important and, to a lesser extent, vindicated,
friendly, free of morality, secure, and romantic, as compared with large normative
samples. The results, which were dose-dependent, showed a new method for
studying media. This method is based on evidence that people have the potential
to experience 16 different joys. People prefer television shows that stimulate the
feelings they intrinsically value the most, which depends on individuality.