“mindfucking,” hidden cameras are “a chilling new phase” in reality TV.

“mindfucking,” hidden cameras are “a chilling new phase” in reality TV.
“Reality TV is entering a chilling new phase” because of the explosion of hidden camera “gotcha”-type shows, the Village Voice’s Joy Press writes. Hidden camera shows–you know, where you’re confronted in public by some asshole who you forgive later because you’re going to be on TV!–have changed a lot since Alan Funt attempted to use Candid Camera “to teach our children how to resist unjust or ridiculous authority.” Press argues that “we’ve grown accustomed to violation as prime-time entertainment” and expands her argument beyond hidden cameras to say that “more and more reality shows weave blatant deception into their basic premise, throwing unwitting victims into situations that range from the surreal and embarrassing to the downright traumatic.” A producer of Oxygen’s Girls Behaving Badly calls what he does “mindfucking,” but says that’s okay because “[r]eality TV is now so unreal, that our show is almost more real.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.