After a longish break, I tuned into what used to be music channels once upon a time — MTV and Channel [V] — to find out if anything had changed. The answer: not much. There's an even bigger deluge of reality shows, and in between, the channels grudgingly squeeze in a bit of music for idiot viewers like me who actually like listening to/watching music.
I saw three reality shows: Splitsvilla (MTV), Dare To Date and Axe Your Ex (Channel [V]). This is how it went.
Splitsvilla is in its fourth season, and — according to one of the girls on the show — it's apparently wildly popular among young people. The latest season has a bunch of girls who arrive in Dubai, all primed to compete for the affections and attention of three boys. All the girls were introduced in little montages where they posed in bikinis and said things like "I make sure I get what I want" / "I have a lot of attitude" / "I am very proud of my curves".
Most of these sort of reality shows seem to have taken the dictum 'life is a bitch' literally, since the main focus of the show is on bitching and fighting.
As soon as the girls arrived in the beach house (where they will be staying for the duration of the show), they began squabbling with each other ("She's so vulgar! Look at the way she was behaving?"/ "What does she think of herself?" and so on).
Then the host (Nikhil Chinappa) arrived and announced, "So are you ready to meet — the boys?!"
Squeals of excitement greeted this announcement. "The boys! The boys!" they cried excitedly. (Come on, girls, lighten up, you must have seen some boys in your life). Three boys walked in — but only after we were shown short clips of them posing in model-like poses that showed off their six pack abs.
So now the stage is set for full-on catfights, with not a little encouragement from Nikhil.
Will I be watching closely, with bated breath? Er.
Axe Your Ex introduced us to a guy called Happy who was apparently dating three girls at a time without telling any of them about the other. So the three-timed three girls meet up and along with the Channel [V] host (somebody call Namit), hatch a plot to take revenge on him through a series of 'pranks,' culminating in all of them cornering him as he lies blindfolded on a bed. Then they proceed to abuse him and hit him with chappals, and when he finally stalks off, congratulate each other noisily, flushed with their triumph.
What can I say about the show? That it reflects the dreams and aspirations of the younger generation? (Like being on reality TV perhaps?).
In Dare To Date, we are introduced to a young model in Chandigarh who is going on a blind date that's been fixed up for her by the channel.
She meets a chap called Aman who exclaims "Kya maal hai!" when he sees her from afar. Once he is actually introduced to her, he hauls her up on a tractor trailer and takes her on a sight-seeing tour of rural Punjab, all the while trying to get close to her physically.
The girl escapes and ends up with date No. 2 who turns out to be a deejay of some sort. He suddenly breaks into an impromptu rap performance while she watches glassily. Er?
Axe Your Ex and Dare To Date project themselves as allegedly funny and light-hearted. Splitsvilla is fully focused on female bitchiness.
But here's my takeaway from the shows: 'Nasty rules. Good clean fun is so boring.'