Real or Candid?

Do you remember the show Candid Camera? I hear it’s getting a re-boot.

I’m no television executive, but shouldn’t they leave well enough alone? What is the incessant need that some people have to make what is old new again? But since times have changed, ideas aren’t a dime a dozen, and many movies are given the same treatment, maybe a modern day version is in order.

I remember the show that involved a hidden camera, unknowing participants and the embarrassing, uncomfortable, improbable and mostly humourous situations resulting from practical jokes.

The new show’s co-host and executive producer said that it promises to be “daring but respectful, funny yet insightful”. Oooh. Can’t wait. Given the competition out there and the nature of most reality shows nowadays, I wish them luck.

Some consider the Candid Camera of old to be the precursor of today’s reality shows because it involved a camera filming people in “real-life” situations, and since the cameras were hidden, the audience was able to see the person’s honest reactions.

That was then. These days, most of the cameras are out in the open, and despite the best efforts of some participants, viewers aren’t fooled by the way over the top behavior masquerading as “keeping it real”, because nobody is willing to believe that anyone can really be that needy, nasty or narcissistic in real life.

The world is a very different place from the 70’s and 80’s when the show was in its heyday.

Back then, the people being pranked were genuinely surprised at being on TV. Nowadays, with cameras all around, most people aren’t going to be that surprised anymore – and most will actually be happy to oblige – because how else can a girl get her 15 minutes of fame which can possibly be parlayed into a paying gig?

The changes began innocently enough, but when some contestants started to become household names, reality shows were then seen in a whole new light. And when it was obvious that sometimes you didn’t have to have a special talent, or a unique look, or even win the competition for that matter, the lines began to snake around the corner.

That’s why I think I’m going to have a go at it. Since I’m not already a celebrity, I won’t be able to have one of those “the life of…” kind of shows, so I’ll have to try my hand at another genre while I work up to it.

I’m going to try to be in the right place at the right time and actually get myself onto one of those shows (not a competition because those are too limiting), where I don’t have to do much of anything. And if I’m even luckier,  I’ll be cast on one that encourages me to be my true self, because that would guarantee me even more camera time.

We all have bad days right? I’ll have to extend mine for the life of the show because I’m going to be serious about my craft.

How will I know that I’m doing everything right? When I can refer to myself in the third person because that’s the only logical way to explain any bad behaviour; when I’m asked to take part in other shows despite my bad behaviour and when I’m given a spin-off show because of my bad behavior.

So I’ll try my best to manufacture misunderstandings and turn molehills into mountains, because that way I’ll be adding value to the show. And I’ll embrace the confession camera as the perfect opportunity to explain my motivations, but mostly I’ll use it to talk about my castmates behind their backs while in front of the camera.

I’ll see the “reunion” show for what it really is. A performance evaluation. Those questions sent in by viewers? Psshaw. Child’s play. I’ll lob those back softly, and save all my energy for the verbal smackdowns I’ll need to deliver to the people I’m being forced to like. Because I want to be sitting on that same couch with them come this time next year.

The only problem I can foresee is going from not caring what I say when the boom mikes are around to actually having to think about what I have to say when they aren’t – during the other six months of the year.

Some people complain that some reality shows “show” some of the participants in a bad light, but that’s par for the course. I can’t please everybody. But I can easily dampen any feelings of remorse that I might have when I see how my behaviour comes across to others.

By telling myself that the people who are criticizing me aren’t the ones who are getting paid.

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Am I talking to myself here?

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