Introduction to British telly
The weeks of Christmas and New Year was the most peaceful time I had had in a long time. After a year of a long-distance relationship, Stuart and I celebrated our life together. Once he returned to work in early January, I spent time alone studying for the GMAT. I was glad to have a goal to occupy myself with, but there were moments I looked up from the textbooks and pondered about how I could have done differently to avoid such a disastrous outcome. The wound was still raw, and I kept slathering salt into it. Sometimes, I turned on the TV for distraction, rejoiced by the familiar language flowing into my ears. Most TV shows in Germany were dubbed, so I was hungry for whatever appeared on the screen now.
There was a TV show I came across the previous summer. First, it showed people sleeping on their beds. The camera then switched to a person in the bathroom. After that, to a few people in the kitchen making coffee. It seemed multiple cameras were set in various places of a house, where several people were living. There was no music or narration other than their murmur of conversations and normal living noise. I switched channels with little thought.
I reported my little finding to Stuart later. He told me it was a reality TV show that ordinary people lived in the same house for three weeks and were broadcasted live 24/7. The part I watched was early morning, and nothing was happening, but they sometimes played games or were deprived of sustenance to stir the social equilibrium among them. The audience watched them and voted them out until the last standing became a winner. I asked him who would want to do that. That sounded inhumane. He explained that some ordinary people became celebrities through this TV show. I had seen a girl in one of the gossip magazines I picked up at Heathrow on my way back to Germany a few months before. She had an enormous mouth and a normal person’s body, i.e., not slim like “celebrities” and a plain boyfriend. I pointed her out to Stuart when she appeared on a quiz program. He informed me she was the biggest “celebrity” born out of the reality TV show we had discussed.
The new season of this show started a few days into the new year. This one was a different format because the inmates were celebrities. The inmates were the likes of singers who had one hit in the past, a model who was devested her beauty pageant crown, a brother to a late superstar, middle-aged actors from popular shows in the ’80s, and a Bollywood actress. I knew none of them and wondered if they agreed to do this to revive their careers. The last inmates to enter the house were that girl with a large mouth and her plain boyfriend.