Monday, August 21, 2006

(un)reality tv

So, Big Brother is over, to the usual cries of "Fix!" from the audience. And most probably it was but then, what do you expect? It's reality TV Jim, but not as we know it. If you're so naive as to believe that what you see is un-edited, raw footage, then you are mistaken my friend. As LA Boy's blog shows, the footage that we see is moulded, shaped and edited to within an inch of it's life to create something vaguely interesting for the viewing public to obsess about or condemn.

Many moons ago, during my A-levels, I was wiling away time better spent revising watching what was probably Big Brother 2's live feed at some God awful hour of the morning where for the most part, you end up watching other people doing what you should be, sleeping.

I watched as two housemates, Spencer and Kate -remember them? He disappeared to an oblivion of 'aren't you that bloke?' and she went on to make a fitness video, shag some footballers and appear in Heat's worst dressed section- had a race in which they had to complete a series of obstacles whilst hideously pissed on cheap plonk. One of the tasks involved crawling into a tube and exchanging clothes while still in the tube. On the live feed, it all appeared a harmless drunken game, a little flirting inside the tube. The next night, watching the same footage again, it was spun far more provocatively, innuendo heaped on. That was the moment that I realised that reality tv is not television portraying reality. No better than some soap with a cast of amateur actors, the more beautiful and weird, the better.

And every soap has it's star - this year, that star is Pete and fair play, I say. I didn't want any of the others to win it any more than him, nor any less. He had as much to gain as any of them and on top of his £100,000 prize, he has two labels vying for his band's attention and will no doubt be on the cover next week. And yes, perhaps he is deserving because he has overcome so many obstacles but during the final week, I couldn't help feeling that he had an awareness of his popularity beyond the house and played to it.

Meh, what do I care? I may have watched the show from start to finish but I never wasted any money voting contestants in or out of the house. I have not contributed to the coffers of the mad house, bar my dedication to it. For although they may not have been the most normal of housemates, I cannot help but have grown fond of the BB7 bunch - after 13 weeks, it's hard not to.

I'm sure I'll be sick of them all within a fortnight, when my local newsagent's resembles a motley (yet glossy) lineup of housemates as their respective magazine covers jostle for prime position. As for the gaping TV hole in my life, I'm sure I'll fill it with enough X factor to numb the pain of loss.


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