Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Why do we love Reality TV so much?


People love to see a simple story of how others are helped to actually overcome a personal difficulty (think Super Nanny, Wife Swap, Undercover Boss), I believe it is because our culture has become fascinated with how people behave and then, how they are helped to go on and sort things out. Even more popular, if the central character happens to obnoxious or self-centred.
Yes I strongly believe that our culture is on the brink of a breakthrough, in that the day to day goings on of people and what they get up to, seems to now be acceptable discussion material and ratings stats. Take the current fascination with “makeover” shows (acknowledged by many as shallow and crass) the popularity of these (10 years younger, Gok Wan) speaks to people’s desire to be given an inside view of what makes a person tick, how they got themselves into the situation and how they go on - with help - to sort themselves out and change.

So, have you seen the film “The King’s Speech” starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush? A Multi award winning film, which is based on a simple premise: The Prince had a stutter, and he needed help. After countless doctors and treatments in the palace had failed, his wife heard of an guy named Lionel, who worked in a humble office in London and had tremendous success curing speech problems. Lionel was not a doctor and speech therapy did not yet exist. It was very unusual for a Prince to visit a man like Lionel. What Lionel discovered about the Prince was that he had no contact with regular people, had no real friends, and was very defensive, and arrogant, and difficult. And despite this, he wouldn’t even consent to answering any kind of personal question.

The drama of the movie comes from Lionel’s ingenuity and resourcefulness with the Prince, his ability to use different modalities – humor, challenges, eccentric assignments, double-bind strategies, physical exercises, interpersonal interventions, and above all the power of relationship to transform this frustrated Prince into King George VI. It’s a film about Intervention not about speech therapy – the work was broader than that! It’s not psychotherapy – this work was more strategic and practical than that. The film is about how to practically and strategically shift someone towards the outcome they so much want, despite their defenses, their obstacles, and even their social superiority. The film features no car chases, no romance, no drama. And at the end of this film, the audience Weeps with pride at the breakthrough.


So I ask you, what is it about behaviour and what lies behind it/causes it, and how you change it, that enthralls people in today's world?

Until next time.....
Jay

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