Do You Think You’ll Survive on a Reality Show?

While watching certain reality shows, Mr. P has asked me if I would participate in such shows. My answer has always been ambiguous, mainly because of what I’ve been seeing on these shows lately. It is really interesting to see how people change, once they start competing. A competitive spirit is essential, but not at the cost of being ruthless and gaining enmity from your co-contestants. Most of these shows start with a group of 16 or 17 people who may or may not know each other, but there soon erupt groups, favorites, strategies, plots, etc., etc. Does being in a new situation make people change or is that how the participants are told to behave to make the shows more interesting?

Both Mr. P and I were not big fans of reality shows until we started watching Idea Star Singer on Asianet. The quality of singing showcased was stellar, but unfortunately, the show closed its curtains after some seasons. It took us some time to find another show to watch and eventually, Mr. Kamal Haasan came along with Bigg Boss (BB) Tamil. It took us two seasons to start watching, and when we turned on Season 3, we saw Kamal in a new role. He had transitioned from a seasoned actor to a television host who brought grandiosity and a certain charm to the stage with his fair outlook, stern tone, and a principal-like demeanor. We quite enjoyed watching our very own Lalettan in the Malayalam version of the show too. We switched and swapped channels from, BB to Master Chef, and finally stumbled upon Survivor Tamil on Zee 5. While Kamal and Lalettan have become hosts who are just and impartial, we realized that the participants of Survivor are not so lucky. It may be because it is Tamil actor Arjun’s first time hosting a reality show, but still, we feel that he is muddled and partial toward some players. Hopefully, he’ll learn the tricks of the trade soon.

Survivor has participants who are actors, singers, and sportspeople and within a few episodes, we developed an affinity for one group over the other. But as the show progressed, people started showing their true colors, forcing us to rethink our favorites. There’s a standard dialogue that all contestants say on these reality shows, “I am being myself, this is not fake, etc.” We have, however, noticed that after the initial ice-breaking sessions and the first few games, people change. This is especially true about the Survivor game that was recently turned upside down having eliminated three of its best players through purely devious strategies.

My questions to you are why do people become mean and conniving on these game shows? Does being in a house with strangers or on an island with no amenities make people mean? Why do people who look level-headed for the first few weeks suddenly take a turn as the competition tightens? If they can be like that on camera, wouldn’t they be like that in real life, where no cameras are following them?

And to answer Mr. P’s question, I might give a fun cooking challenge a thought, but I don’t think I can be amidst people who are all really sweet to my face and plot to stab me as soon as I turn away. I am quite content being in this big reality show called life – it has all the drama, laughter, grief, fighting, losses, and victories that I need. There may not be a big prize involved, but the fact that I thrive through it all is enough excitement for me!

Do you think you will survive on a reality show?

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