Reality Vs Script

I am no stranger to reality television, and have enjoyed the television shows Made In Chelsea(MIC), TOWIE and The Real Housewives of Cheshire since they came onto the screen. However, this week with the episodes I had an epiphany moment.

On 3 different programmes, 2 characters made a realisation that they did not like the person that they had become and the way they treated others. I would also say that having seen an old interview with ex MIC star JP, that this could be added to this as well. How do these stars separate the reality from the script?

For example, if you ever watched Hogan Knows Best, you’ll know that Hogan and Linda appeared to have a pretty set marriage and then after the final series aired, were divorced a year later. The final series created issues between their marriage, and clearly there was some serious blurring of reality and fiction, which is sad.

Take the example of some of these shows, a photograph is quite often taken with a member of the opposite sex (in heterosexual couples). We never see the photograph or the messages following, but then this escalates into an argument that sometimes didn’t need to happen. It reminds me of the reason why Kevin Webster in Coronation Street had an affair with the barmaid Natalie. A new writer or producer literally sat down and said which is the happiest family on set – right he’s going to have an affair.

Of course sometimes it isn’t an affair, sometimes it’s two friends that have a misunderstanding and then it grows into a nasty argument. Is this what happens in reality, when we’re hurt by a friend’s comments or actions, do we then yell at each other in public and call each other names? No. In fact, I have probably had three arguments like that in my whole life. It never felt good and it just leaves ill feelings. Have I hurt friends and been hurt? Absolutely. How do we deal with it? Through a civil conversation.

I do think we have to question what this is doing to a generation of viewers and the stars that we are watching. It’s creating a blur between reality and fiction, which is so difficult to logically work out. We have to be careful about this.

Many managers and producers in television would say that the normal way to do something would be boring, and that they would lose viewers, but I disagree. My favourite series of these have always been the first ones, where the characters/people haven’t been too scripted. In fact, why script and not just set the scene somewhere? Fighting, arguing and cheating in these shows have become the norm, and I think this ruins it. Why don’t we make the norm honest and without script? Would viewers be interested in this? Well, gogglebox has done very well from it, so why don’t we give it a try?

As usual, I would love to hear your comments on this.


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