In this modern era where everybody appears to be fascinated with the lives of everybody else, perhaps expectedly, reality television has come out the winner on the day.
With no actors to pay and minimal scripting to be written, from the producers’ point of view reality television is a cheap, easy and presumably quick way to throw together a show: simply find a bunch of good-looking, outspoken idiots who have difficulty controlling their tempers, who thrive on emotional tension and who are prone to meltdown, put them before a camera and give them an array of senseless tasks to carry out, and, cut.
Sounds brilliant, and if that was really how it worked – people watching other people going about silly tasks in their natural capacities – it’d be great, wouldn’t it?
No, it wouldn’t. In fact it would be dead boring – or so television producers seem to think – which is why they feel it necessary to step in and change reality to ‘reality’.
Of course you have your X Factors, your Idol franchises, your Survivors, your Big Brothers, your Bachelors, Bachelorettes and so forth although in fairness, I think we already knew they were staged and scripted, didn’t we?
No, it’s the likes of Ice Road Truckers or, to a lesser extent, Storage Wars/Hunters, where as a viewer, regarding the former you actually do expect to see the hardships of an openly pious middle-aged Canadian cowboy in his big old Western Star towing across the northernmost reaches of the planet a forty foot curtain-side semi-trailer laden with a month’s supply of food for the citizens of Yellowknife or something, or regarding the latter, you might be genuinely excited about seeing a bunch of eccentric Americans vying for ownership at a storage locker auction and revelling in the crap they find therein; yet these so called reality shows have truck drivers doing and saying things that you can be damn sure they would not do or say if they had the choice, we have idiots at an auction acting like petulant dick-wads then after they’re done bitching and moaning about nothing of significance but filling a good ten minutes of air time, those dick-headed producers have them finding things in the lockers that must surely lead a viewer to question the shows authenticity, but for the benefit of the person standing behind the camera, that’s how it has to go.
Cops, Cops Uncut, Road Cops, Gold Coast Cops, Police Ten 7, Police Stop!, Motorway Patrol, and any others I might have missed, I fear are going the same way. From what I’ve witnessed the majority of these shows start off alright if that’s what you’re into – for someone with an interest in heavy vehicles/road transport, Ice Road Truckers used to be a brilliant watch and dare I say even the Storage Wars of days gone by was worth a look – but inevitably, they soon become over-produced, ridiculously conflict-filled and tension-ridden pieces of television-wasteland that no longer even focus on the topic alluded to by the show’s title; instead becoming remarkably akin to every other bloody soap opera drama on TV.
What is reality though? Is it actually what we live, or is it the manner by which we’re instructed to live?
Dude, I don’t even know anymore.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Rail T Shoe
Photography by Scrap Ted Chyte