Stark Reality TV
Does reality TV showcase reality? How does documentary differ from reality programming? Perhaps a better name form “reality TV” is “Stark Reality”.
In reality TV we often witness an individual experiencing something extreme. For some it is the dream to be famous or the desire to lose weight. These programs showcase these desires made reality and the stark realities of dreams becoming real. In stark reality programming we witness what happens when what one wants becomes possible.
Documentary programming is less about change and more about “what is.” The documentary film works as an invisible eye providing access to the audience. In reality TV there is a different, more subjective function. In these films there is an outside force or invisible actor who curates the experiences of the individuals involved.
Documentary is less formulaic and controlled and more “as it is.” The documentary film enters the story of the film’s focus and creates a record of what occurs. There is no influence in documentary. In reality TV an actor affects what occurs, moves to make the desires of one into reality and traces the complications.