Have you been watching TV this fall? Best television fall in a long time. Any good new shows? Nope. (Although Kath & Kim isn’t bad…) TV execs are still just as out of ideas as they were last fall. So why are more people than ever* tuned in this fall? Here comes another unsupported Culture Wharf original idea-theory (TM, patent pending, copyright licensed under Creative Commons). Here we go.
A Brief History Of Television:
The age of the sit-com ended in the late 90’s (the final episode of Seinfeld being for all intents and purposes the “let’s-point-to-some-visible-memorable-soon-to-be-agreed-upon- Berlin-Wall-end-of-an-epoch-symbol” end. And of all the fabulous things people used to dream the year 2000 would bring us (instant food pills, flying cars, sex robots), the new millennium delivered only Survivor, a nonetheless historic moment in that it spawned the revolution in entertainment that we’ve spent the past 8 years living in called reality TV.
Speaking of which does anybody remember the last time they heard the word “millennium” – it was so cool when we first had a reason to use it in the 90’s that we collectively went all Janis Joplin on it.
Reality TV was good – but after a few scandals about producers fixing the outcomes of shows and a few million episodes of people vying to become the next big chef, designer, pop-star, porn star, accountant or Paris Hilton’s “BFF” the novelty wore off. A little. And so ratings have been steadily declining (possible actual statistic).
Reality itself is the only thing that could replace reality TV. Reality TV has always looked weak next to a really exciting reality. I mean the biggest thing at stake in reality TV is a recording contract or maybe a bunch of money. Nothing that’s going to change the world. Nothing that’s going to affect your life.
Old TV exec: “Now hold on a minute… we’ve got drama, we’ve got great stories, sexy intrigue, ups and downs and happy endings, what’s missing?
Young TV exec: “The missing piece is INVESTMENT in the outcome. The first Idol cashed in on the delusional self-importance afforded by the participatory notion. You pick the next idol! Voting for stuff works, people seem to like it, we just need to up the stakes. What could we have everyone “vote” for? It’s gotta be something big and awesome that everyone is interested it. Something that could potentially affect everyone’s lives significantly for the next four years… Anyone got any ideas?”
*possible made up statistic