Tag Archives | Reality Television
Smart little piece on delusional thinking and reality shows over at Aeon:
Clinical psychiatry papers rarely make much of a splash in the wider media, but it seems appropriate that a paper entitled ‘The Truman Show Delusion: Psychosis in the Global Village’, published in the May 2012 issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, should have caused a global sensation. Its authors, the brothers Joel and Ian Gold, presented a striking series of cases in which individuals had become convinced that they were secretly being filmed for a reality TV show.
In one case, the subject travelled to New York, demanding to see the ‘director’ of the film of his life, and wishing to check whether the World Trade Centre had been destroyed in reality or merely in the movie that was being assembled for his benefit. In another, a journalist who had been hospitalised during a manic episode became convinced that the medical scenario was fake and that he would be awarded a prize for covering the story once the truth was revealed.
My spin on this would be a Maury Povich-style “my bad kid” episode focusing on children who are the reincarnations of Nazi officers, bloodthirsty cannibals, et cetera. Via the Huffington Post:
A Los Angeles production company is currently holding a nationwide casting call for children who claim to have, or have had, past life memories for a new reality series, “Ghost Inside My Child,” scheduled to air on the Bio Channel later this year.
A pilot episode of the series aired a few months ago, with three kids who had gone through various steps of recovering memories of their alleged past lives.
One case from the first show concerns James Leininger. At the age of two, Leininger reportedly started having terrifying nightmares of his death. Ultimately, the family came to believe that he was the reincarnation of James Huston, a fighter pilot who died in World War II at Iwo Jima.
In a New York Times article entitled “Oy Vey, Christian Soldiers,” Maud Newton describes the seemingly bizarre trend among certain Christians to give their kids Bar Mitzvahs and otherwise adopt Jewish religious practices:
Of all the surprises promised by the recent TLC reality show “The Sisterhood,” which followed the lives of five Atlanta preachers’ wives, the only one that truly amazed me was the Christian bar mitzvah, an event organized by Pastor Tara Lewis and her husband, Pastor Brian, for their son, Trevor. Brian was born to Jewish parents; Tara was not. Both are born-again Christians, and they’re of one mind about their son’s bar mitzvah as a Christ-centered take on the traditional Jewish coming-of-age ceremony.
In one episode of “The Sisterhood,” Brian and Tara plan the theme of the bar mitzvah cake. “How about Christ in the Torah?” Brian asks. “Amen,” Tara answers.
Their Jesus-fied version of the Jewish ritual is intended to celebrate both Trevor’s ethnic heritage through his father and, even more important, his spiritual identity through salvation.
I’m expecting the ritualistic hedonism of traditional reality programs, but with an occult flair. ANIMAL New York writes:
Freemasons have always had a bit of an image problem. Apparently, a clandestine fraternal order that counts world leaders among its ranks and which engages in secret occult rituals makes everyday people suspicious. So, over the past few decades, Masonic organizations have tried to change the public’s perception of their mysterious group.
Adding to this collective PR effort is a new 26 episode TV series called Freemasons: The Inside Story. It will profile masons in Victoria, Australia and promises that watchers will “gain unprecedented access into the truth about Freemasonry. Its people, its purpose and its past.” But with the majority of its members unaware of the more esoteric manifestations of the all-boys club, don’t expect any ‘Da Vinci Code’-like revelations.
The Copenhagen Post reports on the dangers of having a father who is too deeply in touch with the spirit world:
The man who stabbed his daughters in Rigshospitalet has been identified as a reality TV personality by tabloids. 58-year-old Englishman Graham Bishop [is] a medium/clairvoyant who has appeared in Danish television shows such as ‘Åndernes Magt’ and ‘Klarsyn’.
Graham claims he can communicate with spirits by going into a trance and being possessed by Dr. Karl, a German physician who was born in 1848. Bishop claims that Dr Karl is his “main spirit guide” who uses Bishop’s body to help “heal” people in need. Bishop claims to have helped “many thousands of people across Europe and the USA” through Dr Karl.
Bishop is accused of stabbing his four-year-old twin girls multiple times with a kitchen knife on Sunday afternoon at Rigshospitalet’s paediatric ward, where one of the girls was being treated for a long-term illness.
Guess how they’ll get there? Via a reality television event that will fund the whole project. Seriously, that’s what the promoters are claiming and the story has spread far and wide. From the official Mars One site:
Mars One’s mission objective
Mars One plans to establish the first human settlement on Mars by April 2023. The first crew of four astronauts emigrate to their new planet from Earth, a journey that takes seven months. A new team will join the settlement every two years. By 2033 there will be over twenty people living, working and flourishing on Mars, their new home.
The vision of Mars One
A manned mission to Mars is one of the most exciting, inspiring and ambitious adventures that mankind can take on. We see this as a journey that belongs to us all, and it is for this reason that we will make every step one that we take together. This will also be our way to finance the mission: the mission to Mars will be the biggest media event ever!
The entire world will be able to watch and help with decisions as the teams of settlers are selected, follow their extensive training and preparation…
A step towards acceptance? James Hibberd writes in Entertainment Weekly:
Discovery Channel is set to announce a potentially controversial new series: A docu-soap reality show set in the country’s largest medical marijuana distributorship and starring a pot reform activist. This fall, the network will unveil Weed Wars, where cameras follow the day-to-day dealings of a California ganja store.
The show follows Steve DeAngelo, the owner of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, which serves 80,000 clients. According to the network, DeAngelo strives to provide patients with the highest-quality product and uses his business to promote the national regulation and taxation of cannabis.
“Weed Wars fearlessly pulls back the curtain on a once illegal and still controversial world,” said Nancy Daniels, executive VP at Discovery Channel. “From the inner workings of the business to Steve’s distinctive leadership style, Weed Wars is a fascinating glimpse into this highly unique setting. Like Gold Rush or Deadliest Catch, these are guys pursuing their own version of the American Dream.”
California passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 that permitted legalized pot dispensaries where customers can select from a variety of toke-able or edible products if they have a doctor’s approval.
If this isn’t a sign of the end times in America, what is, I ask you? Another item from the “you can’t make this stuff up” department, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly:
Spike TV just announced a recession-era game show from the producers of Jersey Shore. Titled Repo Games, the show follows two real-life repo men who give debtors one last chance to keep their cars by playing in a quiz show.
They’re asked five questions, and if they get three answers correct, the car will be paid off on the spot. Answer wrong, the car is towed to the impound lot. It’s “Cops meets Jeopardy,” says the network.
But isn’t there something depressing about playing a game show to keep your own car? Imagine this idea being done with, say, a home under foreclosure. Same concept yet feels very different, right? Kids crying, Sheriffs Department waiting to change the locks, while some poor bastard tries to remember the capital of Bolivia.*
Spike says the show will have a “fun tone,” similar to Discovery’s Cash Cab, and notes the contestants will come from all walks of life (read: not just poor people), noting that even celebrities like Paris Hilton have had their cars repo’d…
Joseph Allen writes on Confessions of a CyberCasualty:
I recently got my foot smashed to hell while doing something stupid. Crippled and couchbound, I indulged the great American painkiller: Reality Television. That just made me more stupid.
We all know the Idiot Box is an insidious device. The TV snares your attention and lulls you into a passive stupor, polluting the subconscious with compulsive memes and corporate logos. It’s like getting blown by an android in a Wal-Mart stockroom. Yet there I was, swilling beers and letting Jersey Shore, American Idol, and truTV’s All Worked Up drown me under electromagnetic waves of human detritus.
Reverend Ron is a redneck repo man with a bleached flattop and cameras in his face. Ron cruises Lizard Lick, NC with Bobby the badass sidekick, reclaiming unpaid vehicles from ignorant white trash and whippin’ ass when necessary. That’s what All Worked Up is all about.… Read the rest