24 March 2023

Keep it real, Big Brother and all the family are watching ... you

| Sally Hopman
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Woman watching TV

Is reality TV really TV imitating art or is it just near-naked people, mostly speaking funny, doing their best to ruin the lives of perfect strangers – or the people closest to them. You be the judge. Photo: File.

Dear reader, hope you’re sitting safely in your TV recliner/rocker: here is the news.

I am starting to think that reality TV might, um, well, not actually be real.

Up until now, it’s been clear that shows such as Big Brother and its spin-offs Big Aunty, Really Big Aunty and Extraordinarily Big Uncle Henry (who used to be Really Big Aunty who went on a mystery holiday for an extended period who no-one in the family talks about until they get sozzled on port and lemonade come Christmas), are obviously legit. I mean, how could you make this stuff up?

Same goes for the ones when perfect strangers marry other perfect strangers yet, oddly, they already know their names and place in the inheritance pecking order, and those housewives of everywhere whose lips could double as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or the people whose feet you are well advised to not share the same footpath with.

These and other medical miracles will be dealt with in a later story, a much later story. And written by someone else less squeamish.

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But I’m starting to think – usually a mistake I’m told – that the Farmer Needs To Get A Life one, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

First, it seems to be finished before it’s started. Because we know you, dear reader, love a bit of romance as you read, we tried to track down one of the farmers in our readership area. Always good to buy/try local. Not a cracker, even a wheat cracker in the place where they grow the stuff.

The TV channel execs weren’t a huge amount of help either. Mainly because they didn’t respond to any of our questions. Yet stories of these farmers, seeking “mrs-es”, are flooding TV. They start with little teasers about what great blokes they are, helpful advice about what you should do on a first date – to wear or not wear a flanny? To the odds of how many tealights does it take to set the barn alight?

Then, I’m sure I didn’t dream it, I heard a grab from the TV saying in this series of Farmer Is Well Advised To Get A Knife (the survival edition), all the farmers will find love. Hardly surprising really when sharp objects are involved.

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Try not to get too cut up about it, but seriously, how can this be true? And if it’s all happily ever after even before it starts, what an obscene amount of time was wasted ironing flannies, de-hirsuting oneself and training the dogs to pretend they never sleep on beds.

When it comes down to it, I’m thinking life may not actually imitate art. Especially if you draw on this sort of crap. Apparently there are some new reality shows in the pipeline: Dated and Related, Desperate Housewives of [insert name of American town here]) and Best Funeral Ever. Yep, the last one’s a killer.

I’d prefer to watch one of those nature channels – no, not those ones, but the ones where there’s little or no talking, just the sound of animals doing what comes naturally. Killing, maiming, dismembering, reproducing – you know the sort of thing.

And of course as long as David Attenborough’s voice floats through it somewhere, or he captures enough reality TV at least for a new series, I’ll stay in the real world. Or until someone comes up with a new reality TV show where dead pets come back to life again – and look after their humans.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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