Monday, March 14, 2011


From Ewen's "Images without Bottom":

"The viewer sits, watches, embedded in the finite terms of daily life. From this vantage point, the viewer is engaged in a relationship with style.  It is a relationship that offers a pledge, a pledge repeated across the panorama of the American consumer culture again and again, day in and day out. Everyday life in its details (clothes, house, routine objects, and activities) can, through the sorcery of style, be transformed without every saying so explicitly, the media of style offer to lift the viewer out of his or her life and place him or her in utopian netherworld where there are no conflicts, no needs unmet; where the ordinary is-by very nature- extraordinary."

Our readings got me thinking about this idea of hyper-realism and the consumer's experience "at the other end of the television" (as Ewen puts it). Television has the ability to expose us to behaviors and beliefs as to the everyday world is like and/or what it is "suppose" to be like. We experience what we see on the other end of the television as if it were reality, as if were were standing in the room with the individuals we see on the screen.  This ability of television to create this hyper-reality, blurs the lines between what we experience (and what we expect) in real life, and what we experience through the medium. 

This got me thinking about the Bachelor, and how this "reality" or "hyper-reality" is further perpetuated.  Are the experiences on the show "reality"? After all the individuals are experiencing real emotions, real feelings, real events. But the context of the show exploits unrealistic situations and environments that are pre-determined and dictated by a third party.  This situations on The Bachelor would not occur in "real" life, outside the context of the show.  The reality is changed by the mere presence of the television cameras and external players. And yet people expect such experiences (like what occurs on The Bachelor) to occur in their own lives; extravagant proposals, trips to exotic locations, perfect candlelit dates. 


"We see that style is about beautiful mouth-watering surfaces, but we see more.  Beyond displaying surfaces, the uninterrupted message of the television program is that style makes up a way of life, a utopian way of life marked by boundless wealth."

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