The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

“Bread And Circuses” – The Future Of Celebrity Television

Posted by BigWords on February 10, 2010

Despite the lacklustre Celebrity Big Brother being taken off the air for good (hopefully), there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for shows featuring jobbing nonentities posing as “celebrities”. Lets face facts – shows featuring these alleged celebrities have been done to death, and no matter what new twists are introduced into stale formats, nothing is going to increase interest above the steady beep of a flatline. It is far past time to shake things up, and reintroducing people to the wonderful and life-enhancing spectacle of the Roman Empire’s one great gift to culture may be the way to go. You might think that Gladiators (or American Gladiators to those in the colonies) is cool – which it isn’t – but it hardly lives up to its’ name.

Where are the lions? Where is the bloodshed? The show doesn’t even come close to living up to its’ name.

We need the UK’s very own millionaire arch-bastard, manipulator of truth, and cynical exploiter of the vulnerable and weak – Simon Cowell is the man best positioned to usher in a new golden age of celebrity-focused shows. He’s amoral enough to see the potential of thinning out the ranks of the deluded, the has-beens, and the never-were’s, and I have just the vehicle for him. The idea is simplicity squared, though nobody else would dare come up with such a radical departure from the tried and mistrusted formulae which so many shows prefaced by the word celebrity rely on. We should look to the glory and splendor of the arena… Where even the most untalented one-hit-wonder will be able to regain a sliver of dignity before their untimely demise.

A big arena… eight celebrities armed to the teeth with swords, maces, javelins, nets and shields… One survivor victor to walk away with the greatest prize imaginable – their career life…

Who, you ask, could possibly take part? Well, nobody is really going to miss the Krankies. Or Cannon and Ball, Dame Edna, Pamela Anderson, The Hoff, that stuttering waste of oxygen from Pop Idol (no, I didn’t bother learning his name), or even Paris Hilton. Only the lowliest and most untalented need apply. Hell, stick Melinda Messenger in there with an axe and you’ll have a first-rate fight on your hands. The Russell Crowe film Gladiator was a success for a reason, and that reason is very easy to work out – people like watching other people get their heads caved in. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that by adding celebrities (however minor and uninteresting they may be) you’ll have something that is really worth watching.

Is this unreasonable? Well… No. Considering how Channel 5 have already shown Cheggers (now there is someone whom I’d pay to watch getting ripped apart by lions) in the buff and Abi Titmuss tossing off a pig, I doubt that many people would consider blood sports being brought back a dip in quality. Considering how cheap the show would be to make – what with there being only one contestant to pay off at the end of a series – this could be the very thing that saves British television.

If only the title Celebrity Death Match hadn’t already been taken…

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3 Responses to ““Bread And Circuses” – The Future Of Celebrity Television”

  1. I’ve never understood the allure of reality shows. The only one I enjoyed watching was The Amazing Race. But I consider that more of an adventure game show. Not people sitting around, airing out their personal business to the world.

  2. bigwords88 said

    The allure of reality shows (for the producers) is cost. They’re ridiculously cheap to make, at least in comparison with real television, and there is always a steady (if not stellar) audience ready for them. The allure of reality shows for the viewer is much, much harder to pin down. They fall under the general category of the ‘dumbed down’ worldview, and (as such) have to be extraordinary in one or more areas to break through the monotonous drivel that spews forth from the idiot box. They are one step up from soap operas, though that is hardly a commendation for most. If abuse and skewed relationships are the best they can offer, and it often is the best they can offer, then we might as well make them enjoyable.

    When I get the time to do it properly I’m going to rewrite the dictionary with the correct meaning of words which have become so abused as to be completely debased from their actual meaning. “Celebrity” is neither an accolade nor an achievement in and of itself. I would contest that the word more accurately reflects a negative connotation, therefore anyone who is considered a “celebrity” is less valuable to a society than an individual who is identified by the means of their celebrity status (actor, director, writer, singer, etc). Should it be moved from something vaguely positive to an accusation, or even an insult? I’m struggling to see the motives of the ‘celebrity movement.’

  3. kell1976 said

    I can’t stand so-called reality TV. The moment the cameras are aimed at the “contestants” all reality ceases – it is all played for the camera and the viewer only ever sees the “highlights” as edited by the production teams so that all the participants fit the pre-conceived “characters” they want us to see. The celebrity versions are even worse, possibly because the z-list celebs are even more desperate than the non-entity Joe-Schmoes on the non-celeb versions.

    I would pay good money to see a proper gladitorial show with such z-list celbrities (starting with those who believe they have celebrity status simply because they’ve previously appeared in a reality show!). It’s the only “reality” show that would have me tuning in for every episode. Bloodthirsty? Yes. Disgusting? Definitely. But at least it would be honest – there’s something very real about fighting for your life – LOL!

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