Saturday, 28 May 2011

Amateur dramatics.

Maybe I'm taking this blogging thing too seriously. I'm regularly reminded of this whenever I'm sat watching trash for the purposes of 'research'. Why? So I can be smug and superior knowing that ultimately something more will come out of it than mindless entertainment?

God, I hate myself.

I watched Made in Chelsea tonight and it's created a melancholy in me that has irreparably changed the way I view a lot of things. In fact, I underestimated it. I was foolish. I'd read the synopsis about spoiled brats galloping around Knightsbridge, as they do; I anticipated a predictable annoyance towards it in the same way that one might be infuriated by seeing the privileged. Those mixed feelings of jealousy and anger at their obnoxious ignorance are just a part of life. Well, for me anyway.

That's not what disturbed me. In the few months I've shyed away from TV in its most traditional sense, there's been a wave for a type of programme that I'm yet to understand. I was unfortunate enough to catch an episode of Pineapple Dance Studios a year or so ago, and found it difficult to fathom how and why they blurred the line between fiction and reality in such an audacious way. Ridiculous as it sounds, it felt dishonest to me to switch between scripted nonsense and engineered 'reality' without so much as a clue as to which is which.

Not that the viewers care, obviously, because in the meantime, along comes The Only Way is Essex and suddenly 'reality soap' is an established genre that people want in quantity. ITV2 and E4 have never had it so good.

But why do they want it? What purpose does this bastard chimera fulfil? It's scripted 'reality', which from what I have seen, is a drama with uncompromisingly appalling acting. It doesn't bring anything to the table, the performers don't have the ability to entertain, but there's nothing to learn because there's nothing real about it, except a faint reference to it MAYBE having some reality element to it. But if there is, none of us have any fucking idea where and how much, and trying to guess is pointless.

I've risked coming across as extremely naive. I'm painfully aware of how unreal any form of reality TV is. However, the audacity of the producers in willfully admitting the half-arsed nature of the show as part of its innovative appeal antagonises me. Is this what 'clever' TV is now? Compounding words together and creating shows based on how catchy it sounds? Dramality? Realisoap? Where will it end?
I'm no closer to conclusion now than when I started writing this. I was hoping this would act as a form of catharsis, that organising my thoughts would help me to understand the subject I'm grappling with here. But no, I'm still feeling utterly confused. I can't understand the appeal of this show, to anyone. I feel ambivalent and simultaneously embarrassed by the whole thing. The only saving grace is that I genuinely do not know what I watched during those ill-fated 15 minutes, which I think is clear by the lack of coherency within this article.

Maybe I should take that as a compliment.

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