A long time ago, we made a tryst with reality shows.

Indians are famous for their inexplicable love for reality shows. With their manufactured drama and extravagant settings, reality shows have been a staple of Indian entertainment ever since they were introduced.

The concept of reality shows picked up because of the sole reason that every other show picks up- ‘relatability’. The stagnant field of daily soaps saw a fresh newcomer and people picked it up like an Indian guy picks up anything at a discount. People loved the connection that they felt with the participants of a reality show, the exact opposite of the divide they felt with the far-off characters of a daily soap.

Further, the reality show format allowed the showrunners to explore more of the country and its people rather than the narrow cliched subset full of stereotypes that they showed in their other shows. Shows like KBC, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, India’s Got Talent all introduced new elements that captured the audience and gave them quality entertainment. Can’t say the same for Big Boss, that thing sucks!

For quite a while these shows were very successful, so much so that Big Boss has had 11 seasons now. And these shows still rake in the moolah like crazy, if anything, their revenues increase more and more each year.

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Oh wow, a listicle about all the things I hate about these shows

But like everything in Indian media, this too is going to the toilet. With all the shows following the same old format with (surprise surprise) irritating cliches like

  1. Poor guy getting a ticket to the finals after the judges hear his plea
  2. A cinematically shot backstory of the contestants who always, always have had a bad life
  3. Camera cuts to the family members while their relative is performing
  4. And on shows like Big Boss, fights and dramas and relationships and emotions wilder than a wounded bear!

These cliches irritate the hell out of me and many other people, there is no freshness and the format has been beaten to death. These shows are farther away from reality as they have ever been, they sow unrealistic scenarios and situations which take the organic nature away in an instant. Just look at Bigg boss, everyone knows that this show is scripted to a major extent, with all the fights being pre-planned to keep the audience hooked and as are all these so-called reality shows because the moments that seem to happen due to a coincidence just do not at all seem like one.

Why are these shows like a clingy ex?

But then the question arises, why do Indians still love reality shows?

The reason I think is that Indians love this ‘farther than reality’ thing. These shows provide them with an escape from this world that they are living in, it gives them a path to an alternate reality, albeit for an hour. It gives them a way to shake off the feeling that their lives are bad when they see that the others’ are worse.

This catharsis, this schadenfreude at seeing others’ lives play out in front of them gives them a perverse sense of satisfaction. And the quest for this satisfaction is what drives this industry forward.

People also love cheap and mindless entertainment, it gives their mind a chance to go on sleep mode and rest and get ready for the next day while it is flooded full of endorphins from all that laughing. All this manufactured reality protects them like a bubble and rejuvenates their mind. 

All in all, reality shows were a wonderful format when they were first introduced but they have fallen flat now with the same stuff on every channel, yet the people still watch it as it is dirty, cheap entertainment and tickles their funny bone and their fantasy. A little masala is what they want in their daily life and that is exactly what they get, on their screens.


Image Credits: Google Images

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