train wreck tv

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I got home just in time to watch the last 5 minutes of the latest instalment of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”, which wasn’t anywhere near as exciting as the utterance of those 5 words might imply.

It’s yet another season of train wreck tv, and could easily be renamed “Come and watch the Pikies” because that’s the only reason the majority of viewers tune in to watch. They watch because they want to be disgusted at just how lower class someone else can be, and ride the wave of moral outrage on a surfboard of genetic superiority.

And it’s not alone. The line up of television offerings in the recent years have been increasingly focused on the misery of others. The disadvantaged, the socially appalling, the ill bred, the in bred, the morbidly obese, and of course, those who are too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about the fungal growth on their genitals, but seem perfectly happy for a camera to zoom in and broadcast it to millions.

What makes people tune in to watch this parade of disfunctional humanity? And what prompts the subjects of these “documentaries” to opt in to the project? They must surely understand that editing of whatever footage is taken will show them in the most controversial light possible, in order to garner audience reaction. They are looking for shock and outrage to get the audience emotionally invested in the program. It’s all about ratings, not sympathetic portrayal of the subject.

I noticed that this episode of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding seemed to be full of constant references to the high moral standards that the Gypsy’s have – said while looking at a teenager who is dressed to resemble a hooker in wedding fantasy clothing. And what’s worse, is that the dress is about to be worn to church. And it’s not the worst of the bunch. Of course, there is a big difference between dressing like a slut, and acting like one. But that’s not how the overall scene comes across.

It seems to me, that besides the portrayal of their poor taste in fashion and bad dress sense (which is not a crime), if the network really wanted to give an educational and sympathetic viewpoint on Travellers, then they’d explore the manner in which they support themselves. Show us what they do for a living, and how they make an honest wage. Balance the scales of the extreme spending. Show those travellers who don’t parade their daughters around dressed like porn wannabes.

Is that even an option? Even if it was (and I am trying very hard not to project my own predjudices into this article!) I bet the audience would turn off.

The program has attracted ire and anger from the viewers (who tune in to get wound up), and disapproval from the traveller community who say it misrepresents them.

Jane Jackson, deputy chief executive of the Rural Media Company, a charity which publishes the Travellers’ Times said: It’s posing as a documentary, the voiceover is saying we’re going to let you into the secrets of the traveller community – and it [sic] just not true. It might be true of the particular families in front of the camera, but it’s not generally true. They’re made to look totally feckless, not really to be taken seriously as an ethnic group” from bbc news

Categories: crazy people

1 Comment

  • msalliance says:

    Bravo! Well said.
    I watched the first series to try and get some sort of insight into this much commented-on and despised community. But I found it prurient and unbalanced. Worse was the undisguised glee combined with moral outrage of many on Twitter. I found it the opposite of educational in the lengths it went to to confirm and exacerbate the prejudices of many in the majority. Such a missed opportunity.
    And the posters advertising this series are appallingly exploitative.
    What function does any of this prurient, sneering TV serve? I shall continue to refuse to watch it.