Voyeuristic Television

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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In today's society, people are never minding their own business. Sometimes they try to avoid situations where they may meddle into other people's problems, but usually, in the end, they are becoming a part of the problem. We like to know what is going on in other lives than our own. Voyeuristic television is a popular form of entertainment with people; some reasons are because they are curious about other lives, they may relate in some situations the "character" is going through, or it might be the simple satisfaction of just living out someone else's life but their own.

Human beings are born naturally curious about certain things that are not a part of their nature. We thrive to learn about how things obscure to us work. The lives on voyeuristic television shows are an open market for busybodies everywhere. Take Survivor for example. Why is this show so popular? I, myself, had never seen this show, but what my innuendo is is that we humans are interested about what is going on with others around the world.

Survivor is about 13 or more strangers put together on a deserted island with little or no food whatsoever and they have to live with each other for about 2 months or so. Now, with people who have never met each other before and are going to be deserted on an empty isle is as juicy as one can imagine. Think of all the drama that is going to arise between these strangers. We are curious about how they would react with one another; it is a "real life" soap opera. "Real life" is the key word here. It is not Susan Lucci shooting someone in the chest with a rifle, it is more realisitic.

We hang onto the raw human emotions that fly everywhere and it is some sort of strange comfort that satiates our curiousity. Why do you think tabloid magizines are so popular (he, he, he)? As indivduals, we always try to find someone out there who we can relate to. This is my second reason why voyeuristic shows are so popular. I do not usually watch these kinds of shows, but I am an avid watcher of MTV's The Real World. In its, I think, eighth season, they are in New Orleans, LA. There are six or seven individuals who come from different backgrounds (etc.) and flock to New Orleans to live in a lavish former plantation mansion. The players are as followed: David, an African-American from the projects of Chicago who has many hopes and dreams; Jamie, a privileged all American caucasian male, who too is from Chicago, has an online company that sells sport equipment and is a big time jock; Julie, a Mormon from Wisconsin who has never lived with "colored folks", wants to experience something different from her sheltered upbringing; Kelley, the perfect model-sorioty-chick with blonde hair and blue eyes who is very ambitious in becoming someone important; Matt is a spiked hair, blue eyed caucasian male who is deeply into the hip-hop culture, and has a wild style of dressing, but under it all he is a devout Christian with old-fashion values; Danny is a southern gentlman who is homosexual, though he is quite the sexpot; finally there is my hero, Melissa! She hails from Jacksonville, FL. Half African-American and Filipino, she has dealt with racism her whole life. Strong on the outside and fragile in the inside, she is an emotional wreck waiting to happen. I can relate to Melissa because of the emotional issues she has with herself. Trying to find the true essence of who she is is what I can relate too. As I stated earlier, seeing human emotions flying everywhere is a comfort. When we see someone else who has been through what we have or feels the same way as we do, inevitably, we connect with them because they see things the way we do. The feeling of being obscure is scary to some, so they look to others and say, "Hey, you're just like me!" We are not all alone in the world...

There are times when we all wished we were someone we were not. Our lives are so crappy that we have to find an outlet for escaping the wrath of our own reality. When we see someone else who is in trouble or is living the life that we want, we see the world through their eyes. The characters on voyeuristic shows put their lives on television for the whole world to see. Television itself is an escape from one's reality, but these shows we know have real people who came off of the streets like us. And when we see them, we are in awe of what they do, no matter it be the most lethargic thing in the world. We like what we see and we are infatuated by it. We want it more and lust for it. When it gets to the breaking point, we want to become it, get inside of it. It is a matter of being obsessed with that character and begin to fade away from your state of being. They are like the internet: we know it is bad for us, but it is like we entrust our lives in their hands. Some live through them vicariously... I do not have an explaination for them. Why do you think tabloids are so popular also? Voyeristic shows are some kind of strange trend. We must not instill our lives around them. They are a form of entertainment. They might have "real people" in them, but it is not real! You cannot live vicariously through another's life, but I assume that relating to the character and being curious about them is mushed into the same catergory.

My own life might be objectionable to myself, but I cannot stand to get caught up watching them (I always get caught up in the moment though, right Melissa?). Instead of watching others live their lives, take a cue from them and live your own!