|Illustration by Trịnh Lập|
by Hoàng Linh
Never before have game shows and reality shows been more popular on TV and in the media. On most State-owned and private channels, it’s easy to find these shows. Many families enjoy watching the drama unfold over dinner on the TV or even YouTube, and their popularity is unlikely to abate.
The shows not only influence the audience but also the participants. The number of people who have registered to take part in these shows is so high that producers will not have to search for participants for a couple of years to come.
“Taking part in TV game shows or reality shows makes the participants known among many people, i.e. the audience,” Nguyễn Bình An, an IT engineer, said.
“When people from game shows or reality shows walk down the street and are recognised, it must be a weird feeling,” An added.
Besides becoming famous overnight, participants have the chance to cash in. For example, the highest prize on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? on VTV3 Channel is worth VNĐ150 million, while participants on The Price is Right can win expensive items. In addition, there’s the chance to find love on the Date and Kiss show, or even fulfilling their life dreams on The 7th Wish.
“Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to win the top prize or have the most interesting experience, but the shows seem worth for them to give it a try,” Trần Hải Hưng, the manager of a fashion shop, said.
However, many people think that game shows and reality shows do not always have these advantages.
“The shows aim to entertain the audience, and the contestants do not know how they will be edited and presented. Some ugly situations are shown to the audience, and I bet none of them are happy to be portrayed in that light,” Hưng said.
Hưng’s opinion is shared by many people. If we take a closer look at these shows, it’s easy to see. For example, on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, some contestants are unable to answer questions in primary-school textbooks. So, when someone fails to answer a question, they are labelled as not being smarter than a 5th grader!
Furthermore, in reality shows where situations are improvised to make the audience laugh, “accidents” occur much more often.
The Dare Pong show (the Vietnamese version of the American show named Fear Pong), raised controversy after the first episodes were aired on YouTube.
Two contestants were asked to take off each other’s trousers using their own teeth, which angered some viewers due to the sensitive situation. One viewer commented online that “It was unacceptable and against traditional values.” Of course, the contestants became the centre of sarcasm.
The worst case was of a graduate with a major in cải lương (reformed theatre) from a stage and cinematography college who participated in Date and Kiss. She was asked to kiss a number of men to see if she “had feelings” while wearing a mask. Unfortunately, her father recognised his daughter and being so ashamed, refused to see her for a while.
The girl said all the contestants were required to sign a contract in which they committed not to reveal anything about backstage information, the producers or the recording process. They were also required not to say bad things (if any) about the show to the media, or face a fine.
“I felt scared to death and I won’t take part in another reality show in the future. I think young people should be careful about signing up for TV shows, especially those involving dating. They could have a negative impact on your life. Worst of all, they can badly affect your family, relatives and friends,” she said. VNS