When Suzanne Collins published the Hunger Games I think she intended it to be an extreme satire of how audiences derive enjoyment from watching others suffer. Five days ago these novels were brought to life when eight celebrities and two pilots were killed in a helicopter accident on the French reality program, Dropped. This sickening program is the European equivalent to Australia’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here,’ which has recently disgraced our screens. For those lucky enough to avoid it the concept is simple; throw a group of mediocre celebrities into a potentially life threatening environment and watch them battle to survive to the end. Sounds familiar doesn’t it Miss Everdeen?
Suffering as mass entertainment is hardly exclusive to these two programs. Each year we watch Big Brother ruin relationships between housemates and their friends on the outside and gag as Bear Grylls eats yet another despicable insect. Having found neither of these shows tasteful nor interesting, I’m on struggle street; I can’t wrap my head around why society is entranced by this. We’re educated free thinkers, yet somehow for an hour a day we are transfixed by these ridiculous, yet feverishly addictive programs. Watching a couple venture down the Anaconda stark naked, surrounded by piranhas shouldn’t be classed as entertainment or romance, it’s just plain stupidity.
TV has become all about quantity and less about quality. We’re confined by the free-to-air bullshit whilst there are existing programs that can challenge you and even change your worldview. All I’m asking is this; invest your time into something that will make you think. The Newsroom, Broadchurch, Orange is the New Black, Luther – there are so many more appealing options.
Whilst reality TV does tend to be less barbaric as the gladiatorial Hunger Games, the concept is the same: trading people as commodities of entertainment. Their worth is determined by TV ratings, not their identity or their day job. They are objectified and then left out to dry at the series end. As far as I’m concerned these celebrities unintentionally signed their death certificates when they signed up for this show. Shows like this have brought fiction to fact; how does it feel to know that people died for your entertainment?