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Reality TV taken to new heights

Celebrity Splash – the name says it all really. It’s the newest reality show to hit Aussie small screens, and by god does it look intelligent and well thought out. The clip below gives a preview of the 14 celebrities who have been hand picked to showcase their diving skills on Channel Seven for your viewing pleasure – get keen, kids, it premieres tomorrow!

Lol jks, it pretty much looks like the most pointless show Australian television has seen in a while. The celebs range from the fairly well-known, like Josh ThomasLeisel Jones and Brynne Edelstein, to the um, not-so-well-known, including Miss Universe Australia Renae Ayais (how can you be Miss Universe Australia?), ‘radio star’ Adam Richard and model Nick Bracks. All are tested on their ability to ‘Dive Live’, which basically translates to viewers at home getting to watch lots of people in swimsuits belly flop spectacularly. In fact, that’s pretty much what the promo advertises – come watch some famous faces hit the water painfully from metres above.  Oh, and Kylie and Larry from Channel Nine’s Morning Show are hosting. Bringing out the big guns, Seven.

We all know the reality franchise Dancing with the Stars – not that it was particularly riveting viewing either – but it seems like the personalities who appeared actually had a chance of learning the skill, even if not particularly well. They also had the support of a professional dancer as a safety net in case they were really awful. The Celebrity Splash team do get coaching from pro divers, but there’s a lot more risk as they have to take to the board solo. Brynne Edelstein told The Daily Telegraph:

When I first started I thought, ‘it’s only water’. But it hurts and it hurts a lot when you fall wrong. That happens every day. The second you have fear, or think about something too much, that’s when it goes horribly wrong. If you tense up or try to protect yourself, it ends up worse. I have bruises up and down my spine.

In the US version of the show, two contestants have had to pull out with an injured leg and broken heel bone, and three are soldiering on with a ruptured eardrum and various bruised organs. And maybe people will tune in – it does seem that audiences are genuinely entertained by people hurting themselves. Think Fear Factor or Wipeout – both of these attracted viewers, not by our hopes that they would succeed or conquer their fears, but really so we could see them eat pig brain milkshakes or fall into the mud after being knocked over by a giant boxing glove (and hopefully cry).  We love a bit of schadenfreude, according to Scott Ellis of The Sydney Morning Herald, as it serves to remind us these celebs are just ordinary people.

wipeout1

Although there are obviously shows that go global (the Idol franchise, Masterchef and of course, Big Brother), each nation seems to have it’s own particular way of testing the limits of its citizens while broadcasting them to the rest of the nation. The Japanese have their crazy stunt shows, the British love their talent TV and the good folks of the US of A love matching-making family fly-on-the-wall stuff a la Keeping Up With The Kardashians or The Hills, and anything to do with being a teenager and bad behaviour (Teen MomsMy Super Sweet 16 etc.).

Much like the Yanks, Australians seem to like a bit of everything, but stations seem to be continually going to new lengths to try and rope in viewers with their ‘unique’ concepts – Celebrity Splash is the perfect example, and granted we have never actually seen anything like it before. Actually, Celebrity Splash is a concept that has versions in Holland, Spain, Britain and the US but its focus on slapstick with a touch of voyeurism feels like it will speak to many Australians.

Speaking of attempts at new ideas, let’s quickly examine Masterchef Australia. In Australia, the cooking show, which also has siblings abroad, has run through all the spin-offs their marketing team could possibly think of, in hopes to attract just a few more viewers: Masterchef Professionals,Masterchef KidsCelebrity Masterchef. All age groups and talent levels have been thoroughly exploited.  So now we’ve gone back to basics, with the introduction of the Sexist  Boys vs. GirlsMasterchef for 2013. Basically, males and females have been separated into opposing teams. Sounds pretty black and white (or should we say blue and pink), no? And while the concept is not in itself offensive, the campaign (video below) has whipped up a rather impressive frenzy, especially among female commentators.

“Men are more experimental,” chorus the boys in blue. “Women can multi-task,” says a woman with a rolling pin (really pushing the boundaries here, guys). ‘The Dude’ juggles scones, as a trio of women dance around with shopping trolleys. But my favourite is the woman labelled as ‘Daddy’s Little Princess’, who while carrying a tray of perfectly iced cupcakes, coos down the camera: “Women are better at presentation – we’re used to grooming ourselves.” And while sexism is nothing really new in the reality TV world, focusing on gender instead of cooking talent just to spice up the show (pardon the pun) seems a step too far.

masterchef

Source: Huffington Post

Granted, there have been a number of reality shows that are interesting and thoroughly entertaining – there’s HoardersSurvivor (early seasons) or The Amazing Race – but it seems like stations are really scraping the bottom of the barrel with their offerings for 2013; it’s not only unrewarding for the viewer, but borderline insulting to their intelligence.

But to finish, a list (and video evidence) of some the most ridiculous, offensive or generally bizarre reality shows to ever be dreamed up by floundering TV stations:

Britney and Kevin Chaotic. Again, the title is a pretty good summation.

Amish in the City.

Bridalplasty.

Britain’s Missing Top Model. Also check this great perspective on the show.

MTV’s Buckwild.

Extreme Couponing. No, I don’t know why either.

Published at LUNA Digital.
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