September 2nd, 2007
|05:44 am - Solitary|
Too much Harlan Ellison? One too many episodes of the Prisoner? Or just a bizarre love of octagons? I don't know the answer, but something possessed me to spend the afternoon today watching the Fox Reality *wince, shudder* show Solitary v2.0.
As I was telling faintheart, I generally loathe "reality" television. But I found myself drawn into this one, and we ended up watching the mini-marathon of all the episodes so far, I think about four hours worth. The SF-like setting is part of the lure, I'm certain. The other part may well be that it's the first of these sorts of show that I can imagine competing in myself. Or at least I could at the beginning of the episodes, when it seemed like the isolation was going to be the major test. Later it became apparent that I'd never last through the physical 'treatments' were I miraculously to become photogenic or contentious enough to survive the casting call. Hmm, I imagine that's part of it as well - since the 'guests' are all isolated from each other, they can't get into the stupid high-drama fights over nothing that serve to make things "exciting".
Worse yet, I'm actually involved and curious enough to consider trying to arrange to watch the remaining episodes as they appear. I begin to feel myself one sick puppy.
[Sorry about the abundance of quotation marks - single quotes are the show's designations; double quotes are my snark.]
since the 'guests' are all isolated from each other, they can't get into the stupid high-drama fights over nothing that serve to make things "exciting"
I really hate the way the standard reality tv show is cast for maximum drama on this account. This is one of the reasons, until recently, the only kind of reality tv shows I watched were the ones on PBS where they were attempting to recreate an historical setting. There you need to get along to get through it. In the last two years I've added So You Think You Can Dance and Project Runway. There's interpersonal drama there, particularly on the last one. But at least you can see there that it arises from standard artistic temperment and not because some producer stayed up nights trying to find the contestants that had the Meyers Briggs scores that were most in conflict with each other.
I watched some of Solitary, but my wife practically threated violence if I didn't turn it off. So, I'll have to find a way to watch it on my own if I ever see it again.
I love all sorts of reality and game shows, but this one's...different.
With the proviso that I haven't watched the show, and until your description had never heard of it, I've got to say that the description I read creeps me right the hell out and makes me want to rename it, "Could You Survive Gitmo?", or "Are You Stronger than A Suspected Terrorist?"
|Date:||September 2nd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)|| |
There is definitely an element of pushing people to their limits. I think what is fascinating is these folks are doing it completely to themselves. Their only contact is with the computer. It *is* creepy - the way the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram Experiment were creepy, to me. And yet I can't stop being interested in watching. The 'winner' takes home $50,000 - which doesn't really strike either my brother or myself as enough.
And there's the added creepy dimension that it's those types of experiments packaged as spectator entertainment. I mean, reality shows have their level of brutality, but there's something here that feels even more insidious. Like < conspiracy theories > Fox has this show, and 24 which has already gotten called out as making torture seem acceptable. Like this could be just another step in attempting to desensitize people to inhumane behavior. (Since isolation is a very common practice in imprisonment/torture scenarios.) < /conspiracy theories >
I'm realizing that there are other personal reasons the show's concept are squicking me out, too.
I should shut up though, without having seen it.