Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The State or Quality of Being Real.

Reality televisions first made an appearance on our screens in 1999/2000 with shows like Big Brother and Survivor. After a decade of various adaptions in this genre, we have now tipped ourselves into making new genres of shows.
 Monday night saw the start of yet another city showing off their most glamorous citizens - Desperate Scousewives. Yes, seriously, that IS what it called.


There was The Only Way Is Essex, Made in Chelsea and Geordie Shore, now Channel 4 has treated us with Desperate Scousewives following a bunch of nobodies girls who are.. I have no idea what they do... One gets a job in a beauty parlour for drawing on the worst eyebrows ever['The Scouse Brow' as she calls it]. Another is a model, who you later find out has a kid and is trying to support her daughter... Why doesn't she get a better job to support or daughter and show her what a real hard working mother is. The model [I think her name is Amanda], you see in a mass of rollers walking the street with some blonde [Claire?] and later sat in pink lingerie, breasts out, still in rollers, doing buggar all. I'm sure that is really setting a brilliant example for her kid, not to mention the young audience who might be watching.
Who really cares about these people? The conversations are so forced. The people are idiots and cannot think logically or understand the consequences of their actions ie. the girl who is  one guys booty call yet she is hung up on him-really? I also saw more cleavage in 45minutes that I have all year, not to mention fake tan, nails and hair extensions. How is this watchable?These people are desperate for two things- attention and money.


Monday morning, I caught a bit of BBC Breakfast where TV critic from the Sunday Mirror, Kevin O'Sullivan, discussed Desperate Scousewives and the genre that it is supporting.
 They are very strange shows. They are called structured reality which is code for it's all fake. So its not reality, and its all set up by the producers. They take this line that are peoples lives and turn it into a soap opera. It is all rather deceptive. It certainly isn't more glamorous than TOWIE.People watch it are just mesmerized by their oddness. Its very deceptive to the young audience.

What is reality TV? How can you compare X-Factor to Desperate Scousewives or Big Brother. These girls are not wives, and they certainly did not seem desperate to become wives.We need to drop the term 'reality'. Kids think Mark Wright is a superstar as he is on tv. It is a strange point we have arrived at. This genre is ultimately deceptive.

Anjula Mutand, psychologist on the first Big Brother series, talked about the same subject with Kevin and her opinions was:
We are addicted to it. Young people look up to them as role models and see it as a fast track to fame. You appear on the show and you suddenly have a career. People on the shows have to pretend to know each other well when they barely know each other at all. It is unscripted drama.

Producers take these relationships and force situations upon them- It is all set up. There is no reality but these are people in a city, but that is as far as it goes. How people can spend their lives watching these shows on a weekly basis is really beyond me. How dull and exciting can your own lives be that you have to watch other people pretending to have real relationships with others. It's not acting, and yet its not reality. As Kevin O Sullivan said, its mockumentary and it's mocking those who waste hours watching pathetic excuse for entertainment.

Alternatively on Channel 4, there is My Transsexual Summer. Seven people from around the UK who have struggled and coped with changing gender. The fourth and final episode was shown last night, and it was more in touch with reality than TOWIE or Desperate Scousewives will ever be.
 
Fox, Sarah, Drew, Lewis, Donna, Max and Karen. These seven trans-genered people met up over summer in a large house to help each other with their journey in life. Karen, 52, is near the end of change, having spent decades fighting society and trying to accept who she actually is, after also walking away from a wife and child in the mid-80's. Sarah however had been living as a women for barely a few weeks and her family weren't even aware of her new lifestyle.

These are real people. Over the last four weeks you understand the pressures of trying to fit in on a daily basis. Drew, god bless her, has struggled for years to get a job due to her being transgender. She barely had a social life. With help from Donna, the most confident and vibrant of the bunch who adores being transgender, Drew and Sarah found confidence over the weeks as well as great support from the others.

As well as showing how these down to earth people deal with prejudice, it also shows the decisions they face being transgender in how to feel most comfortable with themselves. Karen goes through surgery to change her male genitals into a vagina, which will complete her transition to being the woman she has always wanted to be. There is also talk from a man who had surgery to change from being a woman to having a penis- amazing and so interesting. Since then, I sadly believe this man as been sacked from his job - what a sad world we live in.
 Fox and Lewis have struggled with their chests, both wanting surgery to remove their breasts to feel at ease as a man. What was interesting was the relationship that Lewis had with his father. His father was still struggling with his child's decision to live as a man, even after a few years and a great face of stubble. Heartbreakingly, he even referred to his son as 'her' still.

This show not only gives sight into the prejudice and daily rituals of this life changing choice, but it gives support to those who are still unable to talk about their issues. No longer is transgender a taboo subject, and it shouldn't be. If we are not confortable with our lives, we make change to make ourselves happy and these are truly lovely and real people with real struggles in life.

Forget fake tan, hair extensions and pathetic gossip. We need to focus on loving ourselves and supporting everyone around us for who we really are.

Links
My Transsexual Summer Article at Guardian
Fox [MTS] on Youtube Channel
Fox Art Work
Lewis* [MTS] on Youtube Channel
All seven participants from My Trans Summer can be found on Twitter.

*I love this guy!

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