I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of Here returned to our screens once again on the 17th of November. The long running, reality show has been running since 2002. In that time, we have seen countless D-List celebrities, who no one ever really knows who most of them are, slump it in the Australian jungle for 3 weeks, chowing down on various animal genitalia for our viewing pleasure (I mean at this stage its boardering on the lines of pornography).
However, its not the camel penis we tune in for, it’s the fighting. For whatever reason, we as viewers love to watch ‘real’ people arguing on TV. Tell me that I’m wrong. Every year, people constantly complain that the series is boring because ‘everyone is too nice to each other’. These are the same people that get ‘offended’ if you so much as blink in their direction.
Its not just I’m a Celebrity that has to deal with this. It’s the majority of modern day ‘reality’ shows. I shamefully watched Love Island this summer with my roommates and we could all agree that the show’s most interesting parts are when something ‘dramatic’ happens. i.e. people get into a verbal battle with each other. One look at twitter during these shows’ air times will only back up that point. Viewers love to discuss and analyse a ‘fight’ that went down on whatever show they were watching.
What does this say about us a society though? In the past couple of years, countries across the world have done a significant amount to focus on mental health and promote services in order to help people that may be going through a tough time. While it is extremely admirable and important that society has made positive headway in such a delicate and serious matter, ‘reality’ programmes like Love Island or I’m a Celebrity undo all the hard work done.
These shows take people, most of who are not used to the spotlight shining on them, and displays them to the masses, to have their every move judged and ridiculed by assholes like us sitting at home, discussing them as if we know them and making pre-conceived judgements about their character, despite more than likely never meeting them in our lifetimes.
Each year, a brand-new batch of contestants are rolled out onto our screens. Some are loved. Some are hated. But in due time, all are forgotten. I guarantee you that you can’t name the winner of I’m a Celebrity back in 2009. I guarantee you that you can’t name the first couple to win Love Island. It is dangerous to give these people all this attention, good or bad, and then rip it away from them one year later as they are quite literally ‘old news’. In 2018, two former contestants of Love Island, Sophie Gradon and Michael Thalassitis, took their own lives. It is not sure as to why, however, the television studios that flush them with this sudden success need to take better precautions and provide better services to these people to deal with their sudden change in lifestyle. Especially for when the fame dies down and they must go back to their former reality.
Is reality television good for society? No. Not if you ask me anyway. While I’m trying to remain unbiassed, I can’t help but feel that it brings out the worst in all who watch it. Imagine if we were being ridiculed on a daily basis by millions of people, just by how a tv show (which is heavily edited mind you) portrays us. For the most part, it is completely out of the contestants’ control as to how the masses will react to them.
Major changes need to be made. Television networks need to provide better services for contestants of their shows to cope with the sudden gain and gradual loss of fame. We as viewers, and more importantly members of society, need to stop taking such enjoyment in watching and discussing peoples’ ‘fights’ and ‘drama’ that is presented on screen to us. We can say its fake, but we can’t be certain when we say that. What may come across as fake to us, could be the pain staking truth for the person on screen.