Thursday, 11 June 2009

Animal training.

Have I just been living under some kind of popular-culture rock for the last 6 months, or did reality TV talent shows take a turn for the worst overnight by adding audience participation to the mix? At the risk of sounding terribly old-fashioned, I remember the days when programmes like Popstars were on, and they at least attempted to convince the audience that the aim of the show was to find talent, rather than to exploit freaks for comic potential.

Admittedly, the word 'talent' is a questionable one, especially when the winners of the first series wouldn't look out of place as next year's Albanian entry in Eurovision.

You may recognise the one in the middle. Racking your brains? You'll find her image attached to:

Baby clothes
All classical music
Television test cards

And this is just in the last couple of weeks.

Anyway, I've digressed. Aside from giving people the ability to brand their names and faces onto every commodity they can get their jaded hands on, TV talent shows now seem to be evolving to a point where they fully accept their ability to showcase mentally unstable members of the public.

By the time X Factor arrived, we were pretty used to the idea of watching the audition stages, and turning off by the time they'd weeded out the funny ones. Now, here we are at 'Britain/America/Borstall's Got Talent', and now the audience are included in filming to publicly mock and deride the contestants.

So, as if openly admitting the zoo-like qualities of the television talent show isn't bad enough, it seems we're being coerced into thinking that this is normal and/or acceptable. Should we be worried? I don't really know. It sounds like a pretty dire state of affairs when it's in black and white.

But then again, I think we have to think about who is exploiting who.

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