Saturday, March 21, 2009

Indian reality TV - a series of 'beeps'

I have been watching MTV Hero Honda Roadies on and off for the last two years. When the Roadies started out it promised to be the mother of all biking shows on Indian television. 

A brat pack on bikes, hitting the road, fighting to survive challenges and internal politics while a camera crew clocked their every single waking moment. 

I tried following the show just for the pleasure of watching the biking across barren terrain and the challenges that must be overcome if a Roadie wants to show the stuff he/she is made of.
Sadly, it hasn't happened. 

What HAS happened is a desperate attempt to mix mature content with the sensational spice that Indian audiences really want. Grit, physical fitness, tolerance and endurance are ultimately not necessary qualities to tough it out. 

You will survive just fine if you are loud mouthed, bitchy and a bully. Why did I hope to see action on reality TV when sensational content merely means a series of "beeps" to mask cursing. 

What drives our TRP is calculated juvenile swear words, a bikini scene or two, a very suitable and a tad forced love element between contestants and bingo! You have your reality television.

For those following MTV Roadies like one possessed, the cat fights and fist fights between women contestants were the beginning of the ultimate downhill journey. 

I was beginning to sit up when the show went to the Australian outback thinking at last I will get to see some real action instead of hours and hours of inane conversation between contestants. 

That brings me to another MTV show - Splitsvilla. Last season a bunch of girls who look like they have all the time in the world to kill, fight out for the "affection" of two guys through a series of tasks.    

If I had been a feminist I would immediately write to the National Commission for Women at the sexist nature of the show. But I'm lazy by nature so that did not happen. But the protests did happen and this season it's an even number of men vs women.

I sometimes wonder if auditioning for reality TV can be etched out as a career. The CV for candidates would read - 

Former Experience: Reached the interview stage of Roadies and got rejected. Have reached the penultimate round of Nach Baliye. 

Strengths: Great at plotting. Can swear in eight languages. Can dare to lift women's skirts to seek the land of no return. Have the right amount of clueless look to reassure fellow contestants but also the right amount of cunning to back stab them at vote-outs.   

Weaknesses: Can't spell long words. No general knowledge. Continuous exposure can be hazardous.

I wonder if straight out performance based shows like Nach Baliye or Laughter Challenge are better. There's really no way to cheat on jokes or two-steps, is there? You can come in a two-piece bikini to LC, but it won't get you laughs. 

Which brings me to the end of this tome - who are we kidding with our reality TV? Unless we get meaner, spicier and more intelligent content I'm not buying this reality nonsense.

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1 comment:

What's In A Name ? said...

The "rude is good" generation is what I call this. The popularity of Roadies shows we are heading towards a increasingly intolerant society...and that's sad.

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