Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's Be Brutally Honest: I'm Recanting My Endorsements For "Big Brother" and "Storage Wars"

Through blogging on Caponomics, I have thrown my support of plenty of things while encouraging you to stay away from other things. This does not mean that my opinions on a specific subject are set in stone. In fact, there are plenty of things we either like at one point before realizing that... hey... this isn't such a very good thing after all or the vice-versa, where we don't get something at first before realizing we love it. In this case, I will be taking part in the former and recanting endorsements for Big Brother and Storage Wars, but in more specific minuscules. I endorsed Big Brother 13 when it was on in 2011, then realized I was wrong to do so. I endorsed Storage Wars, then I realize it went to the garbage. So I believe that it would be more appropriate to say that these had expectations, but these expectations were not met... by a long mile.

Let's start with Big Brother, a show that I followed from the all-star seventh season to the thirteenth season, which included the newbie teams against the dream teams. One thing that is bound to be expected with reality shows is that reality shows are not necessarily real. Just because a show may have to do with a subject competing for a set prize and those who advance do so based off of complete skill, it is far from being the case. On many occasions, the production has someone fix the show in some way, shape, or form in order to eliminate some people and keep others. Specifically, they want to keep the contestants... or in this case the houseguests... that stir up drama. You have several examples, such as reports from Hell's Kitchen, where a contestant, J. Maxwell from season five, accused the production of using a switch to shut his oven off. This caused Gordon Ramsay to scold him for not putting the oven on. They also planted a butt of lettuce in his salad. He was not one of the standout contestants, so they tried to knock him off. On Big Brother 13, the strategy was to put together some of the most useless newbie houseguests in ever live in the house with a few stronger new houseguests that were easily weeded out by a strong group of all-stars and newbie houseguests that were played like "jellyfish," as Dominic from that season said. Brendon and Rachel were the primarily source of drama from seasons twelve and thirteen, only they were ousted by perhaps the strongest mega alliance known as "The Brigade." The timing from that season seemed so accurate that it was planned. The goal was to keep Rachel in the house for as long as possible, because she was the key source of drama (she was one of reality shows biggest nightmares).

It goes just like this: they granted her the Head of Household in her first two opportunities, while allowing her to select the putting order for the competition she couldn't take part in. Usually, this order was chosen at random. Sneaky, huh??? Then, they throw a twist in week five that prevents her from leaving... again. It turns out somebody would be allowed to return to the house. It happened to be Brendon, evicted the week before, when we were provided the opportunity to vote for someone to return. Two of the previously evicted houseguests seemed to have the lead and suddenly, Brendon won the vote. Leads me to believe... yeah... The teams twist returned later when Rachel was at a possibility of going home again, followed by one of the silliest Power of Veto competitions (holding on to your stuffed version of your partner) and then in the final four, the decision was in Porsche's hands to evict a competitive Rachel and a not as competitive Jordan, so Porsche sends Jordan out, just because she didn't know her as well. Rachel's victory was a walk in the park. Following this season, I chose not to watch Big Brother any longer. I heard the fourteenth season was quite exciting, but I was just turned off. I realized that the veto winners were just so predictable and that the timing was put together to make all of the pieces fit the way they wanted them to. Drama inducers remained longer in order to induce enough drama and some of the reasons were just so silly. There are just so many holes with the show that are shady that it becomes more aggravating than exciting to watch.

As for Storage Wars, I like the show and would continue to recommend up until the third season. It is at this point that the show has gone downhill. In December 2012, storage hunter Dave Hester, known as "The Mogul" and for running up the bids at the last moment by shouting, "YUUUUUPPP!!!" accused the network of staging the show by rigging the show in ways such as placing valuable items in storage lockers to make the show more exciting. Hester was in turn fired, which followed with him suing the network for engaging in fixed practices. The network, A&E, is defended by the first amendment, which allows them to air what they wish to air. Hester, on the other hand, felt that they were violating the Communications Act, which prohibits the releasing of false information. Hester is on his way to losing this battle, if he has not lost it yet. This season has also seen limited action by the competitive Darrell Sheets (who found a portrait worth about $300,000 at the end of last season) and the Dotsons, who are the auctioneers. Mark Balelo, an antagonist to all of them (primarily Dave Hester) committed suicide, thus his run on the show came to an end. This leaves us with just two bidders, collector Barry Weiss and the not as experienced Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante, who make up an important portion of the show, but are bound to turn into a comedy act without Hester and Sheets, who provided a bit of serious action to storage bidding.

There are two sides to the coin. In defense of the network, they have the right to broadcast what they wish and how they wish, because it's protected under the first amendment. On the other side, they are providing false entertainment to the viewer and the moment the viewer realizes they were manipulated and lied to, they will rebel against the network and the show is bound to lose viewers. This may also cause another drought for the reality (or not so real) element of television. In the 1950s, when Twenty-One was caught feeding answers to one of their contestants, the quiz show industry was hit hard in a way that there were no traditional format quiz shows  for forty years, only resurrecting when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire premiered in 1999. Networks also held price caps, only allowing contestants to win up to $25,000, which would expand until a price cap no longer existed. Even a trivia show like Jeopardy! remained capped until 2003, when they uplifted their five-day limit.

While the reality show market has not been caught doing such a thing just yet, we can speculate that there's a strong possibility that there are things going on behind the curtain that covers what we see on television to what really happens. Though networks are known for providing contracts that give them a right to file a lawsuit if broken. On Dancing With The Stars, Hope Solo revealed that when her and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were slated for elimination in season thirteen, he decided to stir up drama with the judges, taking a risky decision that would put a target on their backs. However, since the network loved the drama and felt it would spice the show up, they decided to eliminate Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer instead, who provided natural attention due to Chaz Bono's transsexual decisions.

I, for one, don't like being manipulated and lied to by anybody, whether it be one, two, or even more people. I feel that the moment a visible fracture is shown that is so recognizable that it cannot be fixed, then it will really do a hurting to the industry. Though I don't exactly know what kind of fracture that may be, because plenty of fractures have been made, but they seem to heal due to an accepting group of people. Robert Irvine of Dinner: Impossible lied about his resume, but it didn't take long for him to recover and get right back on his feet and return to the show. The Deadliest Catch had fraudulent elements, but they're still standing. The reality show market has gotten away with a lot, because they have continued to bring in viewers, which is all that matters to them. If people watch, the show still stands. If they don't, then that's the only way you're going to get a show to fade.

As for me, if I see something shady, the aggravation will surely trump the entertainment value I have once seen or never saw in the show. That's why I will no longer encourage the viewership of Big Brother or Storage Wars. For the case of Storage Wars, however, I will continue to encourage viewership for seasons one to three and pretend that nothing ever happened afterward, because the first three seasons DID provide entertainment value, but with the ugly mess that's going on now, it's only setting itself up for disaster.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not much of a fan of reality TV in general, nor do I watch much TV nowadays.