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Sunday, January 16, 2005

THE CRITICAL CALL STARRING GLEN THE CRITICAL GUY: When Reality Shows Start To Stink…

Hello, readers! I’m Glen The Critical Guy! Unlike the rest of Glens who are mostly black and white, I am the only one who wears glasses and blue outfits. It’s a pleasure to meet you all!

Well, I used to watch reality shows when it was first introduced some years ago. A time when the first Survivor show premiered in the US soils and later the whole world by storm. Unlike any other shows I had seen before, it was undoubtedly different, refreshingly brilliant in execution: an entire group of castaways who are left stranded on an island (that’s Pulau Tiga, just located on the east side of my country, Sabah. If my memory serves me correctly, one of my uncles also provided some sort of supplies to the crews of Survivor. Another reason I like the show.) There, every castaway must rely on each other to survive by building huts, hammocks and boats while searching for potential foods such as coconuts, fish, crabs and other almost uneatable stuff! Enduring the weathers, winning the major games and casting one of them off the island were also a part of the whole scenario in order to win a great prize. Yes, it was at that time was incredibly original and intriguing! Survivor was not Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune or any game shows that followed formulas of the two mentioned, it was just something else and more. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that was a pivotal moment in the history of entertainment, the birth of a new genre and its immediate rise to popularity. Survivor changes our life forever. For the best, you ask? Not necessary.

After the success of the first Survivor, there was Temptation Island. Never seen it before but I heard it was controversial. Still, it was no Survivor. The second Survivor was shown a year later. Still looking good. Then other strange stuff came along the way. Joe Millionaire, Family Plots, Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire, Big Brother, Fear Factor… Oii! What the heck is going on here?! Why do so many TV companies want to imitate everything Survivor had in the first place? This whole thing just becomes too commercial. People nowadays will do everything to get money and fame, which is not beneficially important to audience all around here. Currently, we have the most predictable (and sometimes outrageously outrageous) reality shows I’ve seen for a long time: The Amazing Race (could have been several years ago), My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé (I don’t like its concept of making a mockery of fat people. Whoever makes this show obviously doesn’t read Beauty and the Beast), The Apprentice (oh, the horror! The Don is horrifying enough for his irritating character to fire everyone. Hey, that’s showbiz. Right, Don?), to name but a few. Anyway, they all begin to stink at a fast pace…

But the worst case is about to come: Malaysian TV broadcasters also have planned to make their very own reality shows that are mostly ripped off from the American format. Let’s check out what we have in store from Malaysia: Explorace (a completely rip-off version of The Amazing Race which also equally sucks in my taste), Akademi Fantasia (the heck? Another rip-off version of American Idol. Why on earth would the producers do that when humans are capable of making something original? What makes me cringe is the show’s popularity in Sabah. They would even sacrifice themselves for such unnecessary occasion. My mum is one of them!), Malaysian Idol (not a rip-off but another ‘authenticated’ version of Idol but most of the singers in the show are below par). Sure, Malaysia is one of the countries that criticize the American and Western policy but why still bother copying things from the ones we hate most? It all doesn’t make any sense even in a logical viewpoint…

Either way, reality shows clearly show their lack of originality: contestants trash talking with each other for their incompetence, too many emotional on-screen moments when the loser was cast off from the show (what’s the point of doing it when they all trash talk in the first place?), over the top tasks just to get more chances of winning the game (which becomes notoriously cruel to attract more audience. Many contestants quit when forced to do atrocious acts such as eating genitals of animals or worse yet, swim in a pool filled with dead animals and toxic waste!), blah blah blah. Basically, they are all the first Survivor with entirely different disguises and it’s all going to wear thin too quickly. But they all gradually become awfully ‘evil’ for their sarcastic environment. People learn to distrust others just for the sake of one thing. That’s right: it’s all about money. And money is for sarcastic, greedy people. That one notion really puts moral classes to shame.

Today, I decide not to watch this sort of genre anymore. It’s repetitive, typical and obnoxiously and ridiculously superficial. Even viewers like you are smarter enough not to get charmed by their fancy format that is definitely going outdated in many years to come. I urge you all, ladies and gentlemen, to stop paying attention to whatever they produce on TV, especially reality shows. They never give you neither knowledge nor greater status. You are just making a fool of yourselves. Watch the classic and family-friendly game shows like Wheel of Fortune instead.

TODAY’S POLL: What is the most common one-liner that you viewers hear on reality shows nowadays? Just send in your comments (e.g. the most common and irritating one-liner I’ve heard on reality shows is ‘I’ll go for it!’) as well as your responses to my reactions to current reality shows! Stay tuned to my next issue of THE CRITICAL CALL, only in The Fantastic Experiences of Glen Bosiwang!

- Glen The Critical Guy

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