FENOMENO DEI REALITY SHOW: TESINA IN INGLESE
It isn't a completely new idea. I remember loving a programme called 'Candid Camera' when I was a child. Normal members of the public (who had no idea that they were being filmed) were tricked into doing ridiculous things and it was sometimes very funny. And now we have those 'Funniest Home Videos' programmes instead.
Then things changed. European television had the idea of taking ordinary people and turning them into 'stars' by putting them in unusual situations. 'Big Brother' (created in Holland) was one of the first. A group of people were locked in a small house with cameras running 24 hours a day. It was called a 'watch and dial' show because viewers vote by telephone to decide who should leave or stay. Or 'Survivor' where a group of people are put in a hostile environment, like a jungle or a desert island. They are filmed while they try to find food and shelter and every week some of them are voted out.
OPINIONI SUI REALITY SHOW
The new reality shows
'Big Brother' was probably the first of the new reality shows but the genre has developed. Now we have 'Masterplan' where participants are given assignments by 'The Master'. Or 'The Bar' where contestants live together and work in a bar in the evenings. Or music-based shows. In 'Popstars' young people compete for a place in a band. 'Pop Idol' is slightly different because there is an individual winner. The winning bands or solo artists then make records and are usually very successful. British 'Pop Idol' winner Will Young's first record became the country's fastest-selling single ever. Gareth Gates, the show's runner-up, also had a No. 1 hit. 'Fame Academy' is the latest in this genre. A group of young people live together in a luxury house with 24-hour-a-day cameras (like 'Big Brother'), while they practice singing and dancing (like 'Pop Idol'). And (like 'Survivor'), participants have to suffer too. Smoking is banned, alcohol is limited, and they have to get up at 6.30 in the morning. The winner gets huge prizes and the chance to make a record. Or 'The Fear Factor'. Participants have to face the thing that they are most afraid of. Being covered with scorpions for example, or climbing out of a window twenty floors up in the air.
REALITY SHOW: PRO E CONTRO
So what's the attraction? Critics say these programmes are degrading, exploitative and basically, bad television, but people watch them. So why are there so many of them? For the viewer it's an opportunity to 'people watch'. It's natural to like watching other people. They're interesting. We can imagine what we would do in that situation. We get to know the characters and see them grow and develop week after week. And of course, television is the perfect place to watch people. Like the theatre or cinema we can look at other people and they can't look back. But with television, we can watch in the privacy of our own homes. We watch, but we don't have to admit it to anyone.