Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is not "Reality" TV

Grindstaff's response to how producers can guarantee good, dramatic, television programs when using ordinary people is that production of these shows must cause conflict. She continues to say the just producing these situations can then cause more problems in themselves due to the show becomingg too unruly or contestants quitting. Producers will force contestants or participants on talk shows directly into conflict situations attempting to play off the participants emotions, drawing the audience in. Producers put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances like living on an island and competing for a million dollars. When a million dollars is on the line there is bound to be plenty of conflict and emotion. Grindstaff continues to say that producers put in "emotional work" in order to shape the emotions of the contestants into a direction the producer would prefer. Producers will force a show to be shown with circumstances they think the show should be shown.

After reading this aricle I could not help but relate the circumstances Grindstaff was discussing to a show I watched a lot growing up. So naturally the article made me think of Survivor. Many aspects of the article pointed only to creating conflict, which is what Survivor is all about, there is physical competitions leading to direct physical conflict as well as the mental aspect of the game. Another point the article spoke of was shooting hundreds of hours of footage and then showing only portions the producers deem as good television. This is exactly what survivor does is view every minute of the contestants lives on the island. After all of these things being added together producers get exactly what they are looking for physical and mental conflict created by simply the nature of the game. These conflicts then reveal certain emotions about each of the contestants which then draw in an audience. The show has also ran into problems discussed in the article of contestants quitting due to the stress. This all being said, I completely agree with Grindstaff's response, that producers are able to guarantee good shows by forcing contestants into a particular conflict attempting to draw out certain emotions. I can only compare her analysis with a show I have history with and Grindstaff's analysis seems to be right on cue in describing a show that has been very successful and in its twenty third season.

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