Happiness and TV
Posted August 4, 2010on:
As i was watching Indian Idol the other night, and the broadly smiling hosts, I wondered why it is that there is never an unpleasant moment in reality shows like this. Nobody ever slips up, stutters, has awkward moments or says anything unpleasant. Not just the media people, who have been hardened over years of facing attention and the camera, but also the contestants, flung into the limelight only very recently. They are pictures of poise when they modestly acknowledge the appreciation they get, when they laugh good naturedly on being cornered, when awed by the celebrity guest (who is also their childhood idol), or when bonding and having college fun with their fellow contestants. Even the tears are timely.
Sometimes I feel its just me being a misanthrope and grudging these people their happiness. But then there are other reasons. The marketing department cannot let the show be hostage to fickle individual behavior and relationships, because the show is a product which needs to be packaged and sold. So behaviors have to be orchestrated, emphasized with music, and unpalatable parts edited out. Everybody obviously also self censors according to the situation, as in everyday life situations.
The behavior on shows sets up standards of behavior for the audiences. The ideal of “happiness” put out by these shows does to some extent creep into our life. The same holds true for the bitchy genre of shows on MTV, UTV etc. They convey standards of behavior of a different nature, targeted towards youngsters. As the media sinks deeper and deeper into our lives, maybe our ideas of happiness, self and behavior become increasingly “media savvy” and plastic as in the world of advertisements and shows on TV. The thought makes me wince.