by Jana Thevar
I’ll admit it upfront; reality shows annoy me. The negativity, drama, gossiping and backstabbing are just not for me and I can’t seem to get entertained by these things. I followed America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway and Gene Simmons Family Jewels a few years back, but I lost interest in them pretty fast. When I first heard about Bigg Boss, I was like ‘no way in hell I’m watching that’. A bunch of South Indian celebrities locked in a house and made to pit themselves against one another? I could already predict how that was going to turn out.
Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I caved in. Looks like I’m not as ‘detached’ as I thought I was. My Facebook newsfeed was simply exploding with commentaries and dramatic references to Bigg Boss, especially about inmates Oviya and Aarav. I wanted to know what the Bigg Deal was, so I randomly watched a few episodes over the last few days.
Disclaimer: This article may offend hardcore fans of Bigg Boss, Oviya and Aarav. If you’re the sensitive or easily-offended type, the views expressed below (mine) may be unsuitable for you, and this is your cue to cease reading.
How ‘Real’ are Reality Shows?
I don’t believe reality shows have anything genuine in them at all. I believe this show in particular is scripted, as in all the participants are briefed beforehand on how their ‘character’ should behave while the show is ongoing.
Here’s why I think that:
1. Common sense and logic. Just imagine yourself and a bunch of people being put in a situation where everything is under tight control (like the specially-constructed Bigg Boss house), and you’re constantly being filmed. You already know that thousands of viewers will be watching your every move and hearing your every word, including your relatives, friends, family and possible future employers.
How would you behave? Would you gossip, backstab others, shamelessly beg some idiot to love you, act like a complete asshole? Or would you be on your best behaviour? I don’t know about you, but I would be very careful about what I say and do.
Guess what? Good behaviour is BORING. And boring behaviour doesn’t get the viewer numbers when it comes to show business. It’s all about marketing. Therefore, I strongly believe participants are told how to behave beforehand. A good mix of characters with some drama thrown in gets viewers interested. For example, a sweet girl-next-door type, a clowny character, a serious one, a jock-type jerk, a bitchy female, etc.
Bigg Boss seems to have a mix of characters that works. Now everyone is getting worked up. Everyone is on Oviya’s side. People hate Aarav and Julie. Raiza is the vain one, constantly plastering her face with makeup. They got the audience to do exactly what they wanted – get agitated, create conversation and follow the series.
2. Abnormal situations. Take for instance the Oviya-Aarav drama. In the normal world, generally speaking, even a regular girl has a pretty high level of self-respect and dignity. Rarely would a woman tolerate such poor treatment from a man, even if she liked him a lot. Even simple, girl-next-door types get tons of messages, FB likes and friend requests from men on social media.
So why would Oviya, an established model and actress, knowingly humiliate herself in front of thousands of viewers, chasing after and begging some mediocre guy for attention? Do people honestly think Oviya doesn’t know her real self-worth? Do viewers think Oviya doesn’t get flooded with attention from tons of admirers? I mean, come on. It doesn’t make sense no matter how you look at it. It’s part of her script to act pathetic around Aarav, so the audience gets emotional about the nice girl making a fool out of herself.
In addition, let’s consider Aarav. Most guys would be flattered with female attention, especially from a girl like Oviya. However, his unnecessarily mean attitude at times makes me question if his behaviour is genuine at all. His attitude is just too bizarre, too over-the-top to be believable. Granted, Aarav is fairly good-looking, but not enough to warrant that kind of arrogance.
3. Viewership and numbers. A show that doesn’t get enough viewers is going to fail. Everything is about money. Why on earth would producers risk such a big investment in the show, throw a ton of money at Kamal and get him to host, THEN leave things to chance and ‘see what happens’? Smart business people don’t do that. Everything is carefully crafted to ensure a profitable return.
What if the participants are all nice to each other, help one another and just be sweet and kind throughout? Nobody’s going to watch that dull shit. They need some blood-pumping action, some drama. They need the sweet girl to lose her dignity and beg an arrogant jerk to love her back. THAT gets the viewers riled up. THAT makes the show a success. That brings in the moolah. It’s all about money at the end of the day.
Having said all that, here are a few things I learned from watching just a few episodes of the show.
LESSON 1: A woman should never, EVER lose her dignity over a man. I think it’s better to be single. It’s better to remain unmarried or even get divorced, than to be with a man who shows so little respect to his woman. That’s not how relationships work.
And to women who cling to their menfolk despite abuse or mistreatment, come on. Of the 7 billion-odd people in the world, you really couldn’t find someone else? Don’t wait for a bone to be thrown your way like a starving stray dog. Leave. Get a job, ask for help and support from NGOs, get counselling, just do something. There’s so many options available to you if you’re only willing to try. Sure, it’s not always easy to leave, but there must be something you can try at least.
I guess the same thing applies to a man as well – if your woman is mistreating you (and you can’t discuss your issues like adults and solve them), be a real man and leave. There is ALWAYS someone better out there. I don’t know what they paid Oviya to degrade herself that way with Aarav, but I hope it was worth it.
LESSON 2: Be really careful about the people you choose to trust. I mean people you share your deepest thoughts and secrets with. There’s one fact that is simply amplified in the show (whether real or scripted) – humans are unpredictable. They can be friends with you one minute and enemies the next. Just be careful who you trust your confidential information with.
LESSON 3: Be yourself and act like it. Get clear about who you really are, what your beliefs and principles are in life, then act like YOURSELF. The problem with some people is that they’re constantly trying to be something they’re not. That means following an inner script that isn’t natural. In other words, if you act in a way that’s not true to yourself, sooner or later that façade is going to fall apart. A fake image or charade usually crumbles under emotional pressure or stress. People will then find out the truth, and that’s never going to be pretty.
I think stuff like this serves only one purpose, which is entertainment. Nothing wrong with a little good fun, so why not? Watch it. Talk about it with friends. But if you find yourself getting overly involved in the drama, you may want to consider taking a step back.