Thursday, May 19, 2016

Give me less

In the tradition of the great Charles Dickens, I present to you a tale of two television shows. 

I'm watching The Voice Australia season 5, and although I am well versed in the ways of modern television vis-a-vis self promotion and cross promotion, I still find it irritating to have to endure the 'coming up after the break' previews, and the 'before the break' reviews. At the beginning of the show, there's a recap and a preview and then a review and a preview at the end of the show. It's hugely repetitive, and for people like me who watch it all rather than dipping in and out, it's maddening. In my opinion, it minimizes a lot of the potential drama, and diminishes interest and excitement.

Classic case this week. All the advertising for the upcoming blind auditions on The Voice featured a dramatic moment when a singer collapsed on stage. Every single promo, both during the program and between episodes, showed her falling down. I had seen her fall down 47 times before I actually saw her full audition. There was no shock or surprise, no drama at all really. Had I seen it not knowing what was coming I would have been stunned, as were the coaches and the live audience, but I was only relieved that I would not have to see it anymore. Not for a while anyway. The Voice Australia 2016

I was reminded of a time I was watching The Footy Show (NRL). They held an arm wrestling competition which featured some current and ex players. Ben Ross and Wendell Sailor met in the final, and during the struggle, on live television, Sailor broke Ross's arm. The audience fell silent, horrified, as were the show's hosts and the television audience. Producers quickly cut to a break. I could not believe my eyes.

No one knew that was going to happen. It was an incredible and horrific moment. I've seen the accident a number of times since, and each time it has less impact, as was the situation with the Iranian singer who collapsed. I was ready for it, and she was perfectly fine not long after her fall, which I knew was the case as well because if she wasn't, we would have heard about it. The event was pre-recorded and as I said, I had seen her crumple on to the stage 47 times already. 

I think the way shows like The Voice are produced and presented to us as viewers, as consumers, says something quite poignant about us as people. What do you think?


  1. Reality television is a blight on humanity

    1. You see no value at all in them? Generally, I would say I'm a fan, but some of them do make me shake my head. Perhaps that's part of the appeal. Thanks for visiting Square Pegs and for taking the time to comment.

  2. What Scotty said. Also, I grew very fed up with programs that went on for 10 minutes, followed by 12 minutes of commercials, and the same till the end. Now I don't watch TV at all except for CNN. I'm much less frustrated. ;)

  3. I know some people who are of the same view, and yet these shoes are increasingly popular. Generally speaking, I'm a fan. I usually have my laptop on or a book handy to help me through the ads..although I confess I also find some ads entertaining too.

  4. It's probably a promotional thing. It's like click-bait. It's a dilemma though - it says something interesting about the show that it doesn't cater to people who watch the whole thing. Maybe that's a reflection of the way we engage with media these days - we take in all these different texts at the same time, so we need something dramatic to get our attention but we don't watch a whole episode...please! that's so last decade. Another thought I had was that most people aren't blessed with your profound and insightful intelligence, not to mention the level of compositional acuity (made that term up) you have attained as a writer. Other people - merely normal individuals - require a lot more sign-posting, visual cues and reminders. I just read your previous comment, and I'm wondering whether I should have toned down my appraisal somewhat on reading that you find some ads entertaining. Can you write a blog post about that? I hate TV ads. On youtube, every now and again, there is an ad that is really mindblowing and actually entertaining. Like the DJs one about #itsinyou and that one about the guy in space....can't really remember the details. But the dj's one - I actually deliberately watched it again and again, whereas most youtube ads I skip through. You should watch shows on DVD. You don't have to worry about ads and you can start and stop watching when you want...but then, that doesn't work with shows like the voice that are kind of based on the 'live' suspense aspect. But that's the thing - your criticism just highlights the reality that the 'live' aspect is kind of artificial. They just add controlled drama to get viewers. Also, reading your comment I spent quite a while wondering what I had missed because you mentioned the popularity of some brand of shoes. Like, when did the conversation turn to shoes and how did that relate to 'the voice'....maybe if she had been wearing those shoes, she wouldn't have fallen. Or maybe you were just trying to change the subject. Their comments were kind of negative so you're like, yeah, I know some people hold that view, but check out these shoes! Or maybe you're doing some subliminal marketing....then I realised you probably meant shows.

  5. You kill me David. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I have blogged about advertising from time to time, and I believe I feel another post coming on. I am an analyzer. I very rarely read or watch anything without analyzing it. Ads are no different.