Reality is hard to ignore, or avoid

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 July, 2004, 12:00am

Reality shows such as America's Next Top Model, The Apprentice, American Idol ... are swarming all over America.

Everybody seems to be submerged in these TV hits. Participants are transformed from wannabes to real stardom and fame. The prizes are attractive ... a million dollars, a contract with a famous modelling agency, or even a date.

There's an immense amount of pressure that comes with participating in competitions, especially when only one can win. The elimination processes are always brutal - other people openly criticise you, or talk behind your back in front of the camera.

And there's this annoying factor of the camera always following you around, even when you're all messy and broken apart.

Still, thousands of people are more than willing to have a taste of such competitions or shows, to have their whole lives open to public scrutiny in order to get the promised reward - whether it's to fulfil their dreams or get their photo on the front cover of a magazine.

Those who don't enjoy playing the game are always happy to watch these reality shows, which helps to boost their viewing rate.

The reason why reality shows are so attractive is so simple: because it's REAL.

We're tired of boring soap operas. We're done with all those dramatic and pretend expressions. We want something real, something that relates to our lives, something that reflects the true side of humanity.

These competitors are all ordinary people like us. We feel more warm near them, and it makes us feel confident about how far our abilities can take us. Look at William Hung, who encourages us to try our best, pursue what we want, and have no regrets.

The reality fad is now expanding overseas. In Taiwan, there's a show called China Star, which is a singing contest similar to American Idol.

Like it or not, reality shows are just smart commercial products that will continue to agitate and entertain us for a while.