How can we justify making fun of the sluts, morons, and jerks who populate our reality television shows? In a new essay for reality blurred‘s exposed journal, Amanda Ann Klein argues that it’s because they “aren’t people, they’re characters.” She fleshes out that idea and explores how and why we relate to cast members.
As her primary evidence, Amanda deconstructs FOX’s Paradise Hotel, offering detailed analysis of the program. She examines the dynamics between the Originals and the Barbies, describing how what we saw helped us “to determine the reliability of an individual contestant’s testimony in the present, a power we cannot access in real life.” Klein says the show “mimics the perspective of an omniscient, omnipresent, and therefore godlike, witness to the events taking place onscreen.”
Who knew that such a fun summer trash-fest could be so complex?