Melbourne’s Anglican Archbishop Dr Philip Freier has spoken out against reality television during Anglican Open Church Week.
According to an article in today’s Herald Sun, Dr Freier suggested shows such as Big Brother make a ‘virtue’ out of other people’s ‘boring lives.’
“In reality TV shows, people are basically quite boring and some of them fairly banal and vulgar. It, in a way, turns them into people of interest,” he said.
“If you . . . looked at it, their lives aren’t really all that interesting.”
Newsflash: Big Brother ended nearly a year ago. And that was after years of diminishing returns.
In other words, the audience had already decided the show was increasingly dull.
Dr. Freier isn’t quoted on the finer detail of how much Big Brother he actually watched. Or what other reality shows he views with any regularity.
Indeed, some would argue that Dancing with the Stars and Australia’s Got Talent are reality television too, something no doubt many of his congregation enjoy. And what about Compass in 2007 in which ordinary women entered an Abbey to live with Benedictine nuns? The ABC found it so boring they turned it into 3 episodes.
There are plenty of reality television shows that are rubbish. There are plenty that are enjoyable. And there are plenty that thrive on the premise of ordinary folk put into extraordinary situations. Whilst casting is crucial in the genre, it’s the storytelling that makes it interesting.
Such dismissive generalisations of reality television can be applied to drama, light entertainment, music, sport and more….
But if we need any litmus test of the power of reality, look no further than MasterChef Australia.
The country is hooked, surging over 2m viewers a night. Thank heavens for that.