I’ve found telly more and more unsettling lately – having a bonus week away from the office saw me drawn occasionally into the murky world of daytime TV. A trip to see my granny exposed me to the horror that is ‘Dickinson’s Real Deals’ whilst occasionally the likes of ‘Deal or No Deal’ find their way on to the telly, indeed, Channel 4’s latest quiz offering ‘The Bank Job’ is currently reaching its’ grand finalé as I type and I’ve found it strangely compelling.
The unsettling part was reflecting on just how much telly is basically brazenly exploiting the hopes and dreams of people – Deal or No Deal is the worst, as Noel Edmonds gladly leads his 25 contestants into a game of superstition, sob stories and daring to hope by coaxing ‘what you’d do with life-changing money’ type tales just as a contestant spunks away a golden opportunity of taking home a nice chunk of cash because there’s still the possibility of more. That’s before you even get into the plethora of reality type shows or ‘talent’ shows that I suppose trade on the same things.
Has it always been like that? Are we really entertained by seeing people tantalised by the promise of a ‘life-changing’ event or sum of cash, more often than not only to have it taken from them. I guess when it’s a genuine competition of knowledge or skill it’s a bit less distasteful, but when it’s randomly choosing a box it’s a glorified lottery played out for the gratification of the millions. I intensely dislike the fact I occasionally find these things compelling viewing, I could absolve myself a little if I were enjoying the potential positive benefit – but that’s not always the case!
It’s a strange world we live in where this carrot-dangling-in-exchange-for-prime-time-tomfoolery is considered entertainment, if you really think about it. A random thing to write about, but something that’s been idly pulsating around my mind – at least I didn’t write about iTunes Match for a change! On the bright side, the lass from Derby just went out of ‘The Bank Job’ in the first round of the final, and I must confess I’ve entered three separate competitions on the ITV website this week – so I’m not immune either.