I probably shouldn't admit this, but I like reality television -- up to a point, at least. Wife Swap fascinated me with the rich stew of dissonance it routinely created: the prissy perfectionist wife trying to adjust to a home where teenagers spent all day playing video games and eating chips, the pig farmer situated with a clan of meditating vegans, and the inevitable clashes of class, culture and expectation -- not to mention religion and politics -- that ensued. Hoarders was a guilty pleasure for a while. And to this day, I cherish Nanny Deb of Nanny 911, whose stern, kind wisdom surmounted the show's silly trappings and who could calm a tantruming toddler with one touch of her large, gentle hand. But after a while I stopped watching these shows, because the narrative was so rigidly controlled, kept by the producers within small, tight, unimaginative parameters. You never saw the real confusion and messiness, and you always knew how things were going to end. This is precisely where Rod McLachlan's Good Television, which features a show called Rehabilitation based on the actual program Intervention, aims its barbs.
|Benjamin Cowhick, Christine Sharpe and Miriam Tobin in Good Television.|
See also: Anarchy Rules in Lord of the Flies