realityTV1James Lambert

The penultimate iCov live blogging event was on the subject of reality TV, and the general question of whether it has “gone too far”, based on Emma Culey’s research into Channel 4’s reality show “Sex Box” in which a couple has sex in a box and talks about it. Once again Cathy Eglington hosted the discussion, with James Lambert and Dr Bianca Wright returning.

The opening question was about what the appeal for reality shows is for the audience, with examples of shows ranging from things like “Jersey Shore” and “The Only Way is Essex” to more “talent-based” shows like “Strictly Come Dancing” and “Masterchef Australia”. The obvious concept of voyeurism was raised in regards to the genre in general, and Dr Wright raised the question “How real is Reality TV?” Other ideas raised included watching a show based around an activity the viewer has personally taken part in, and that of “returning the gaze” – watching a group of people on television who know they’re being watched, and want to be watched. The participants went on to discuss the notion of these shows being at least partly faked, tying into the aforementioned topic of how “real” reality TV is.

After that point, rather than consistently dealing with new topics, the conversation continued to delve into the established ideas- what makes reality TV real? Why would anyone participate in it? What do they hope to gain? Why would people watch it? The debate was a lively one and though no resolution was reached, a number of valid points were made.

Watch the replay here.