Idols, Big Brother, Fame Factory etc.
Their effect on their public is clear: Disillusionment. It’s hard to stay spellbound by a person, by a celebrity, when you’ve seen and heard them bickering for hours on end on television.
Sure, you will enjoy the entertainment and the schadenfreude. Perhaps you will vote, talk about the show with your friends, or buy the CD (if applicable) when it comes out. At some point, however, you will lose interest in the people, for you will have seen them for what they are. They are people, just like you. The mysterious spell of the celebrity will have been broken. All things considered, only the truly talented or charismatic will stand the test of time.
In the words of Aesop, “familiarity breeds contempt”.
So how about a Reality show about an MP, a senator, a congressman or -woman – a Prime Minister even? Perhaps an â€œEl Presidenteâ€? It may not be as popular as Idols – I can’t imagine it holding the interest of 11 year-olds unless it’s also combined with song & dance, or X-Factor-like challenges, but it will be viewed, I think, by voters of all ages. They are the demographic I am interested in.
There are two ways to do this, and I’m sure you’re familiar with them.
The first one is a 24 / 7 dive into the life of an elected official. We get to see how they treat their spouse and children, what they do in the office, and so on.
The second one is a competition open only to people who have never run for any office before, but who will be candidates in the next elections, pre-approved by major parties. They get to debate each other and to answer questions from the public, be interviewed by seasoned journalists, and so on. They must pledge to remove their candidateship if they get voted off.
Familiarity does breed contempt, and we need to be at least as contemptuous of politicians, our employees, our civil servants, as they are of us.
And I have the name for the show : Realpolitik.