While watching/listening to some eps of Crowned, a mother/daughter pageant competition “reality” show, I realize all over again how screamingly manipulated these so-called “reality” shows are. If there’s an interview that appears before a suspenseful contest, that interview probably occurred way after said event. If there’s an interview where someone seems to make a nasty comment about someone else, that could have been taken out of context where someone was talking about a passing annoyance, rather than a deep animosity…or the interviewee could have been talking about the food served on the set, rather than any one person.
And the actual narration heightens the tension by making everything superlative, either positively or negatively. If there is a supervisor of a competition, the supervisor is the MOST talented and MOST well-renowned and MOST qualified, according to the announcer. If there are awards, they are the MOST significant and the MOST expensive. Of course, if there’s an elimination, it’s always the most TRAUMATIC event ever, DEVASTATING to the losers, STUPENDOUS to the winners. Thus, tension and suspense are artificially created and maintained. Don’t get me started on the sappy music, which spells out what viewers should feel [“Feel sad DAMMIT! FEEL SAD!!!!”].
Also don’t get me started on the manufactured cattiness of Crowned, the lascivious camera angles, the enforced ditziness, the “cabana boys,” the lisping gay stereotypes, the profusion of male “experts” who for some reason supposedly know more about pageant stuff than the women who are actually in the pageants…
There’s no indictment of pageant culture here because there’s no real expose of it here. It’s just a purely formulaic “reality” show that shows the threadbare nature of the “reality” plots.
P.S. The quote is from Sweet Head by David Bowie: “Traumatics thick and fast / Your faith in me can last / Besides I’m known to lay you, one and all!!”