Is everything in life a competition? Many people would answer yes. I started to realize our obsession with competition back in the 1960’s when I attended an arena show featuring the “royal” horses from Great Britain. Since I was 17, I only went because I was trying to get naked with the young lady I took. (It didn’t work.)
During the 2 hour show, there was a competition between some young cadets. They divided the arena into 2 sections, with one half cheering for the “red team” and the other for the “blue team.” No one in the Philadelphia audience had any idea who these young people were, but the arena exploded into screams and cheers during the contest. Over 17,000 people in the old Philadelphia Spectrum were rooting for people they didn’t know and would probably never see again. My team, the red guys, lost.
Why did the crowd care? The announcer did a good job of working everyone into a frenzy, but it was much more than that. People wanted their team to win, no matter how obscure they were and how bizarre the competition was. The competition consisted of erecting a tall pole and having someone climb to the top of it. Yeah, never made it to the Olympics or even attained the status of Slam Ball.
After that spectacle, I realized that people love competitions. And a lot of people have made a ton of money staging various televised competitions since then. Not just conventional sporting events, but everything from survival to gourmet cooking to singing and dancing and so much more. The competitive reality TV shows are licenses to print money.
Almost every niche cable network has at least 1 competition-based reality show on the air. Most of them are extremely successful. We love competition and obviously it sells. Nothing wrong with that but eventually the market will become saturated. A sure sign that it is nearing saturation is the newest crop of reality shows featuring everything from naked dating to naked survival. I guess since it is so easy to pixelate the “naughty” parts of the human body these days, we’ll be seeing more naked shows. When they start doing a nudist version of “The Biggest Loser,” I’m out.
I don’t watch any of the competitive reality shows. I used to watch “Dancing With the Stars,” until they exhausted the D-List and started booking stars who were about as famous as my dogs. I also watched “American Idol” until Taylor Hicks won. Yeah, that said it all for me about reality shows. Plus, I have always known that all competitive shows have an escape clause that says if the producers don’t agree with the audience’s voting, they can overrule it. (I’m still uncertain how that explains Taylor Hicks.)
I’ve had enough competition in my life. Like most people, until I retired I competed with my peers every day. Life itself is a competition, I don’t need to watch it in primetime every night. Of course, when they debut the naked sex games on TV, I might just change my mind, depending on which anatomical parts they pixelate.