Sunday, October 12, 2008

Big Boss etcetera...

I have been wanting to write this post since i first heard about 'Big Boss' - a reality show similar to 'Big Brother'  which is shown in the US and EU.
     Since they have kept the show running for more than a month on 'Colors', I guess it's TRPs have reached the break-even and, probably have gone beyond it. My question is - what's there in programs like Big Boss or MTV Roadies or even those Saas-Bahu serials* that makes them popular ? Some of those Saas-Bahu serials have been  on TV for the last 100-110 years!  (in binary i mean :P)
     Big Boss season 2 is broadcast every day at 10PM on the channel called 'Colors'. This program is said to have brought the channel to notice, rather than the other way round. Do BB, Roadies and SBS (Saas-Bahu serials) have anything in common ? I believe they do. Is it the common factor which gives them their longevity ? I think, yes. The common factor is: in all those shows, the main theme is - individuals scheming against one another. Each one is trying to outwit the other(or group of others). Emotions rise and fall during the doing and, this makes the show even more popular. 
      But, is this factor enough to make a show popular ? Ratings indicate that it is. But, why does showing people scheming bring so many viewers ? It is because, the viewers have been doing the same thing all their lives! This is only a hypothesis of mine, it could very well be incorrect, but it might be correct as well :)
      Looking around carefully, one realizes that every one is continuously scheming. Trying to get the most out of the resources one has access to. One has to compete with fellow human beings all the time! Its there so much that, we do not realize that we are in a 'competition'. Climbing in a bus we compete for space, working in the office we compete for results/success, investing in the bourses we compete for money, to get a boy/girl friend we compete against suitors and, so on. Who are we competing against ? Humans beings all the time. Very rarely do we have to compete against nature. A child who cries louder will quickly get noticed and will be fed earlier than his sibling who cries softer. Isn't this a competition ? It is, and we participate in such competitions every day without consicous realization.
       Generally, the one who can manipulate human beings around him to his benefit wins the competition. To manipulate, one has to scheme. Isn't this the very thing the shows are all about ? Whether it is inside a family or between participants in a reality show, scheming is the thing. I think, we are innately attracted to scheming! It must be (i guess) an evolutionary adaption - the one who observes and learns more will probably acquire better manipulative techniques and be successful in the long term. We are always curious about things happening to others. Our brain is geared to be attracted towards such happenings from which it might learn something which will help it defeat other brains it is competing against. SB serials and reality shows are a treasure trove of cheating and vicious gossips. Gossip is an excellent way to manipulate people's opinions about other people. One who can gossip effectively, is certainly at an advantage.
     Apart from the above reason, there must be other reasons too. One of them is - if the participants are non-celibrities(like in Roadies), then people will tend to identify themselves with some of them. Also, if a certain reality show is the talk of the town then those not watching it will begin watching it because they do not want to be left behind when friends are discussing about how x made an ass out of y on the show.
     Today's reality shows last about 80-90 days, so, they have all the scheming concentrated into a short timespan, which makes them even more attractive. Actually, every one's life is worth showing in a reality show and  I'm not the first one to have gathered this idea. If you've not seen it yet, then 'The Truman Show' is a must watch!

*Saas-Bahu serials - These are a kind of popular Indian soaps wherein, intra or interfamily conflicts(in affluent families generally) are portrayed with stupendous exaggeration. Generally, the conflicts start between the mother-in-law(Saas) and daughter-in-law(Bahu) of a family, and later engulf all the family members, their ex-husbands/wives, their children, children's friends and sometimes, even those dead!

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anjali said...

read some of ur blogs..really good...

Unmesh Patil said...

I am just thinking aloud.
It is not only the manipulations and scheming individuals that attract us to the serials. I have another theory. There is a voyeur in all of us. Notice how we unknowingly strain to overhear a converstaion? We also wonder what goes on behind closed doors. How other people behave in their own homes. It is this aspect too that makes us watch the reality shows and serials.
Many times its also pure compassion that makes people watch thos esenseless serials. they relate to some of the characters and get involved.
Other times it is also the attraction towards the negative streak in all of us that makes us watch these serials.
Or maybe its a combination of all this that makes us watch the nonsense!

Pranav said...

What you say is very true. In fact, the reason for the fact that 'there is a voyeur in all of us' is what i've tried to explain in the post. IMO, the voyeur(and the urge to gossip) must be an evolutionary adaption which gives an edge to the individual over his peers. 'Our brain is geared to be attracted towards such happenings from which it might learn something which will help it defeat other brains it is competing against.'