Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How Low Can So-called Reality TV Go?

I just saw a commercial for a new tv show that's going to start in January, if I'm not mistaken. It's called Secret Millionaire. The premise is sick.

According to the commercials, exceedingly rich people pretend to be exceedingly poor people and do jobs, live amongst, and hang out with poor people for a certain (probably short) period of time. At the end of that time they identify a poor person they deem "worthy", reveal their true identity to that person, and give them a big fat check--with cameras rolling, for everyone to see.

I find most so-called reality shows to be insipid at best, but this? This is nothing more than using poor people for one's own personal satisfaction. Seriously, judging if someone is worthy or not? What kind of person would you have to be to participate in something like this? It's bad enough if someone does this, but bad is taken to a whole new level when it's all filmed and we're supposed to come away with the view that the rich person has actually done something good and righteous. What kind of person lies to others to determine if they're "worthy", and then shows and celebrates this deception on television? And what kind of people determine that this is something that should be on television?

If you want to do something nice for someone, even give them large sums of money, there must be a better way of doing it than by using them and making a fool of them on television--and making yourself out to be some kind of hero in the process.

This is truly sick. I'd ask how much further we could go but I'm afraid I wouldn't like the answer.


Donalbain said...

Thats another show you have bought from us in the UK! And, much as the concept does sound horrible, it is actually quite an uplifting show.

Basically, it is an interesting way for the work of charity organisations that normally fly under the radar to be shown on TV.

So, for instance; the Secret Millionaire will visit Glasgow and find and investigate maybe a local boxing club that helps keeps kids off the street, or a housing rights organisation that can provide advice to tenants in conflict with landlords, or so on and so forth. In the course of finding out more about those charities, the show then makes the rest of the public aware of their existence and the existence of others like them. Plus the charity gets a few thousand quid at the end.

Nobody is made a fool of, at least in the UK version, and indeed, everyone seems to come out of the experience better off.

Mrs. C said...

I don't know... not as sick as some of the things I've heard happen on other reality shows.

Well, there's another one I won't watch!

Ellen K said...

My Mom talks about a show that was like that back in the fifties. But I think it was fictional. Frankly, I don't watch reality programming. Networks love it because they don't have to have writers and such. It all brings us down to the most common and trashy denominator of life. The worst has to be "Cheaters" which sadly is filmed entirely in Dallas because they can find enough stories here to do that. But even the dancing and singing shows have become far more soap opera. What happened to a good old comedy show that relied on writing over bathroom jokes. I can't even watch TV with my college aged kids because some of it has become so raunchy.

Darren said...

Donalbain, what you describe certainly isn't as bad as what the tv commercials here indicate, but it's still pretty bad.

KauaiMark said...

Remember "Queen for a Day"? Desperate women competing for the title "my life is crappier than yours" for the promise of a fridge or a toaster live on TV.

gbradley said...

Kinda reminds me of "Trading Places" with Eddie Murphy.
Maybe the producers will get theirs?

Donalbain said...

I really dont think it is bad (as executed on UK TV).

Charities win by getting money
Charities win by getting exposure
Millionaire wins by learning something.
Viewers win by learning.

All in all, I have to say it is a good show.

rightwingprof said...

Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, and Ultimate Fighter are the only reality shows I watch.