I am so happy that this entertainment column is educating you about the ins and outs of TV watching. While many of you have written to me proclaiming you knew the little secrets of television production, you are proud to have me confirm your suspicions are correct.
The latest revelation comes from the new season of Big Brother. It is no different than every season of Survivor or The Real World in terms of the people that appear season after season.
Jeanette wrote to me: “I am catching on to how they pick people for these shows. There’s always the busty blonde with a nasally voice, the meathead who’s all about his body, the overly aggressive guy, the southern princessy belle, the uptight Christian, the flamboyant gay guy, the outspoken black woman and so on.”
Without needing me to explain why, Jeanette connected the dots herself.
“I guess that is a proven model for conflict, right? You have the standard character people are used to seeing and they know what personality types will butt heads.”
That’s exactly it. Actually, that’s the casting director’s job: find people entertaining to watch and put them in a boxing ring with cameras around.
They want to have someone with strict religious values paired up with someone they might not be open-minded to spend time with. That’s TV gold! Why would you put together a group of people that get along? That’s boring. That’s exactly why season 1 of Big Brother was a snooze-fest: everyone got along and it was such a happy summer incredibly painful to watch.
Strong opinions and conflicting personalities are what cause the explosive moments that get viewers buzzing. When you watch these reality shows are you actually watching for the competitions/game or to see who will get into disagreements and fight?
Casting directors spend weeks, sometimes months, getting the right people and hope to heck the pot boils over once all the strong personalities collide. And if they don’t, producers throw in twists and turns to make it happen.
You are all getting very wise to how real reality TV is. Congrats!