Real Reality TV

Although clearly parodies, the twitter accounts of some soap stars has recently got me thinking. Why do we watch soaps? Are the characters even acting anymore after playing the same role day-in, day-out? Do they make us feel better about our lives? I’ve just watched the Eastenders omnibus and all I’ve concluded is that Cat is still, excuse my language, a slut, but that’s fine with Alfie because Alfie’s always played the nice one,  pregnancy and marriage are once again depressing, and Ben is still there – why? As the audience do we mind that the same themes are recycled again and again, or do we push it to the back of our minds because, well, what else would we do in that half an hour every day? It’s not just themes now though, Hollyoak’s got desperate apparently and Jacqui Dixon from Brookside is now their Diane O’Connor. Although seemingly ironic as that so blatantly underlines the artifice of the show, is this real reality TV?

We firmly believe that Jeremy Kyle is a bad reflection of our nation, but Eastender’s have consciously chosen to portray these  character’s lives that really are no better.

If this is our ‘reality’ it sure is depressing, I don’t know why so many people are hooked. I mean, I’m only watching Eastender’s to see Ian Beale come back looking like this…


ITV’s The Exclusives, although seemingly a show for aspiring journalists, is actually Big Brother  but there is a requirement for the contestants – a degree. (But if you’re a glamour model or a hot tattooed  male, an A level will do).

I am not saying I don’t count down the days until the next episode and I’m not saying I spent a good 20 minutes trying to find Stuart on twitter, (link below). But where is the ‘exclusivity’ in hearing about Keith Lemon’s piles, knowing the truth about Chantelle’s awful dress or watching Hayley fake tan?  We have seen the gang interview big names and party with smaller ones. We’ve seen the harsh reality (or what has been portrayed as the ‘harsh’ reality) behind getting the exclusive. Why then, every time after watching an episode would I still give my arm to be a journalist?

What it comes down to, is the hyper-glamourised prize contract promised with Bauer Media, the people behind Kerrang! Closer, More, Heat and FHM.  Before we think too hard about what we’ve been watching, brainwashed by the celeb doing or saying it, what is portrayed is a glamorous job that doesn’t really involve much work. The biggest contradiction, not Sunny’s name har har, is that six episodes on and we are yet to see any of the hopefuls writing. I’m not suggesting they read each’s article out to push up the ratings, but in the latest episode the extent of any ‘writing’ brought up was due to a mentor laughing at the words  pseudo and dystopia asking what it meant.

So although we shout at the TV that we wouldn’t, as Felix does, accidentally imply Chloe Green has a lesbian tenancy and hope we wouldn’t be anything like Christopher, we have no chance of getting the job even if we could get Kerry Katona’s favourite sex position out of her or from a video on the internet. We have no chance of getting that job as it is implied as fake as Hayley’s eyelashes. Without being a grumpy pessimist, the chosen six are there because they make good tv, whether one will make a good journalist or whether journalism is anything like it is being shown is a different story.

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