January 2013 Filed in: TV
I enjoy watching Reality TV. No other medium of art or literature allows us this pleasure, except cinema; unless you have access to several detailed diaries or biographies of related-people interacting with each other in some elaborate set-ups.
One does not assume that Reality is real. As soon as real life is presented in fragments, everything is transformed, and even the recognizable world becomes limited and constructed. So we explore a transmuted reality from a non-rational unconscious, guided mostly by our deep inward feelings; while our conscious, rational mind works to overcome the reproduction and find reality in it!
There is always a plot developing; even when it all looks like a mindless tussle; the diegesis is well-thought out and progresses at an agreeable pace. My visceral reactions to the unfolding reality, or fiction, or whatever that thing is, is fascinating, simply because it evokes a real reaction!
It is when you see reality being presented as a screenplay, that you recognize photogenie, the ineffable element of cinema, which is like color is to a painting, and notes are to music. It reveals the soul of everything it reproduces. Even a tree is transformed from nature to art when it is viewed through the screen.
It reminds me of what Louis Delluc said way back in 1919 about cinema being modern art, because it uses technology to stylise real life.
But, there is a certain sincerity to the genre of Reality, not because it is non-mediated in nature, but because it is seeking to evoke feelings in us that are real and automatic! We are Reality. I also like that it makes us think that our everyday can be presented in a structured format, where each of us is a character in a story moving forward in a one-dimensional plot. It plays to our vicarious pleasure of wanting structure!
Lisa Vanderpump, one of the one-dimensional housewives in the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, is featured in another new Reality TV series called Vanderpump Rules, where we can see her play a successful restaurateur, her other dimension.