Reality TV: Is it Pulp Fiction?

Are we using our brains, anymore? Take a minute and think over it, are we efficiently using this organ, are you developing it or has the process slid into reverse gear, already? Interesting question with an equally arresting answer, though the context holds uttermost importance. Let’s rephrase it and introduce precision to the discussion, are we optimally utilising our brain on an everyday basis, challenging it to go beyond banal discussions and actually work. The point being, are the activities that we indulge in everyday, minute and hour creating the right environment for our dearest brains to stir out of the auto mode?

I take the safer side and assume that half the respondents would have given an affirmative nod, claiming to have slightly better raw material than the average human. Well the truth is that even if we want to, we dare not develop our brains anymore, because sadly we are surrounded by buffoonery of the highest order, namely the television. An average Indian spends a considerable amount of time watching television, glued and finding reality, somewhere. I agree that it is a way to unwind and de-stress but I don’t exactly remember when that translated to being brain dead.

Sit and watch. That is all you are expected to do, and should be most vehemently advised. So you wish to disagree? Of course there is loads of useful stuff like Discovery channel, Travel and Living along with Fox History and entertainment to say the least. The problem arises when we gladly pick some Star, Sony or Zee shows over the former. This choice made due to various constraints such as language, availability, understanding and most prominently interest. The average Indian housewife would gladly relate with the trials and tribulations, however impossible or baseless they may be, being played out on these Hindi channels than the reign of Adolf Hitler being showcased somewhere else.

Ah, all this reeks of sweeping generalizations? My brain cogs are moving backward trying to dig out the basis for my assertions and accusations and voila, they resurface again. Roadies, Bigg Boss (with the double “gg” to make it bigger), Splitsvilla– where love is war (terrific), Pati, Patni aur Who, Lux Perfect Bride, Rakhi ka swayamwar and if that wasn’t enough we now have swayamvar part 2, much to our delight, with Rahul Mahajan playing the coveted groom and so on. Who needs a brain to understand all this!

To give a few examples, I don’t want the reader to be forced into believing what I say, in Roadies I see people going absolutely berserk to give auditions and getting humiliated for no rhyme or reason at the hands of a man who is a highly probable split personality patient. He screams and questions if the contestant even knows the meaning of being a Roadie. Now really, what is a true Roadie? All that I can see is a bunch of spoilt brats who are well versed with all possible cuss words, scheming and plotting, to reach some weird level. If, even remotely, this according to the show creators is a reflection of real life, then they seem to missing out on just one bit- integrity and character. All that this show can teach you is that in order to do some meager physical tasks one needs to stoop down to the lowest possible level and forget words such as civility, compassion and character. And no, this is not a reflection of human nature either.

Splitsvilla was no better but the only thing that truly leaves me wondering is if the parents of these contestants are made to sign a contract which stops them from watching any possible footage. Do these people never want to meet their parents again? Moving on, in the new fresh Bigg Boss, with a double g, is an international platform to show the contestants eating, sleeping, sitting, yawning, farting and all such natural urges. It couldn’t get better. Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, speechless, Rahul ka swayamwar, fainted. Perfect Bride and other such shows do not even deserve a write up.

Let’s rewind and go back to the basics. Television was not created for all this, surely it must have had a higher purpose . I blame not the inventor but the ones’ using it as a medium to create havoc in our lives. I feel that the biggest reason why these shows are such a hit is because of lack of choice, there simply isn’t anything better. Then comes the eternal fascination with glitz and glamour; and who can forget the corny double meanings. What more can a teenager watch? Perhaps if there was a reality show or something otherwise which showcases true talent, one might even be interested, e.g, a talent hunt for innovative cleaning processes or supporting the go green revolution. Something like this would finally bring together innovativeness along with something worth emulating.

And for those who are the worst hit, the gullible house wives, who find glamour in the heaviest ugly sarees worn on television. I don’t blame them either, they weren’t the ones who told Rakhi to get married on National TV. Everybody wants their fifteen minutes of fame and this is just one of the ways to imagine being a part of it. But how can we dodge it even, the news channels and papers single handedly take it upon themselves to inform us each day, per second I say, about what the contestants are feeling. Due to this bombardment a cock-eyed idea of fame creeps into the minds of people and hence they start believing in it. It’s a vicious circle of one bad creation leading to another.

At some level it becomes uncomfortable sitting with parents and watching comedy shows, after all the genius of those comedians seems to have been exhausted only to be replaced with sexually explicit jokes. Somewhere down the line humour on tv lost its charm and became a soft porn. The content needs to be present, somewhere. We cannot simply survive on glamour and guffawing judges. Wake up and create a better coffee. As citizens we demand it.

So are all these shows fictional? From what I have seen, and I might have judged wrong, they are as scripted as anything can be under the sun. Too many incidents that happen on these shows are hard to be left on chance; coincidence is not the same as life. Well if this is the reality then the least these script writers can do is to create something that urges us to wake up our brains. I won’t be surprised if this turns out to be some under ground mission targeted at lowering the IQ level in India, undertaken by some not so brilliant country. With the way things are moving, we need to reconsider the information being putting out there for the impressionable minds to learn from. It surely is a pitiable state, and especially so because this not even the reality.

Roshni Bandesha

[Image courtesy:]