I remember as a kid there was a reality TV show that I loved. In fact, I never missed an episode. I don’t recall the name, but it was about some dysfunctional family (in Australia, I think, but that’s by the by).
What I do know is that the Dad was a sexist, chain-smoking, big drinking, so-and-so; the wife was a bit loud and mouthy; there was a teenage boy and a slightly younger girl (going through all the angst teenagers generally do); a pooping, crying baby; semi-senile grandma; rabid dog; bible-bashing neighbours. All the ingredients for fab telly. It was great stuff and made for riveting watching. I loved it.
Of course, it wasn’t called reality TV then, more likely it was simply billed as a documentary. Fast forward 30 years and I simply don’t watch shows in the ‘reality genre’. With there being so many, quite frankly, the ‘rarity’ factor is sadly missing. I’m also struggling with a great deal of the content… or the ‘situation’ the show is built around (seemingly the more absurd or titillating the better).
I couldn’t really care less what a group of strangers are doing trying to live in the jungle together… or build a house… lose weight… find something that’s been hidden… cook a three-course meal from a carrot and a half a potato… or impress Donald Trump.
So, there it is. No reality telly.
But, and here’s the thing, occasionally, it could be fun to dip back in. The thing that would swing it would be the content. Could I be persuaded to watch? Sure. What we need is less trees and tantrums… and more technology and tantrums. Like…
It strikes me that the tech world has plenty to bring to the reality side of life. Just think about the last IT-related crisis you faced. Watching someone trying to fix the printer can provide an entire morning’s entertainment. I remember a few years back the newsroom I was working in had new computers installed. It took the weekend to sort and shuffle, and eventually we got there… except for one rogue cable. The guy supervising the whole thing got quite animated and even more so when he realised it was the cable for the jug!
Simply giving people equipment to set up could be good for a laugh, especially if you add or remove a piece. Then there’s fixing things, deciphering user manuals, trying to get online, dealing with helpdesks (who’ve been instructed to be unhelpful… more than usual). The list goes on.
Yep, reality IT TV would get my vote.