In the beginning...
Genesis this isn't. There are many opinions on when reality stars became house hold names. In the UK, the general concensus is that the first series of reality game show Big Brother was the introduction to these 'wannabes'. And in many ways it was, as it spawned countless other reality shows to arrive into our living rooms, and with it, countless other members of the public trying to be famous. 2011 has seen the arrival of dozens more of these 'z listers' in the shape of 'The Only Way Is Essex' and 'Made In Chelsea'. So, 12 years after the first Big Brother crashed onto our screens, are we still interested in the world of reality?
Beyond Big Brother
In reality, if you'll pardon the pun, Big Brother wasn't the first. There were shows before it which delivered the average member of of the public to our screens, but Big Brother was perhaps the first which arrived at the height of 'celebrity'. The turn of the milenium saw the boom of the internet and with it, a whole new way for news to travel. Once a name was mentioned, the murmors could be heard globally within a second. Prior to this, a celebrity was someone who had started on a low budget TV show and worked their way through the circuit to get to the top, taking many years and many casualties along the way.
Reality TV changed all this though, and within seconds of seeing a 'nobody', through the power of media, they instantly became a 'somebody'. This raises the question, of exactly what a celebrity is. The term used to be heralded for the biggest movie stars and the best selling music artists. But surely the word now has to have a different meaning or cover a different scope altogether. Are relaity stars 'celebrities'? If so, then surely the term Z list would be doing them a favour. Making people with no extraordinary skills who aren't using their status for good, would place them in the same bracket as Jack The Ripper. If he were alive today, would he be classed as a celebrity? If not, then why? He is more notorious than any of the reality stars that have appeared out of nowhere over the past 12 years. Surely, just knowing someones name, for good or bad, doesn't instantly make them a celebrity?
The Only Way Is To Turn Off
I don't care for reality stars one little bit. In fact I loathe them for their very existence. However, in the good old days, at least they were part of a competition and the aftermath was kind of the prize I suppose. What gets my back up now, is the new breed of reality star. The people who lead their plastic lives through the cameras. TV shows where, in reality, nothing actually happens. Situations are setup by TV crews and we witness/*admire* their hillarious and spontanious reactions. Please. How does this make them stars? The cameras are on them because of their meaningless lives, their bland existence and their false sense of reality. The attention is more than enough, but we then need to be told who they are dating, how much weight they have gained and where they bought their dress from. I have watched about five minutes of one particular show based in Essex, and was completely dumbfounded. It amazes me how people religiously watch this kind of TV. It is filled with emptiness and a World that frankly doesn't exist. Little situations are magnified to make these people appear interesting. If it takes peoples mind off of their own lives, then I don't have a problem with it. But I refuse to call these people celebrities.
Celebrity or not Celebrity
So why is it that these five minute wonders are still in the public eye after five minutes? A lot of this comes down to the celeb magazines that grace every shelf in our newsagents. Again, spores of these have sprung up over the past decade, and during the period of a reality TV show, the 'stars' adorn the covers. Instantly, they are propelled into our view from every media angle, and their stories develop even after the TV shows have finished. As seems to be the way of the 21st Century, it is the media who seem to decide whether somebody is a celebrity or not. They hold all of the cards. If a face on a cover can sell copies of a magazine, then they will be used time and time again, and we are relentlessly fed their life story whether we like it or not.
I have my opinions on these 'Z Listers' and I firmly believe that they should be classed as celebrities, but only because of the way that I view a celebrity and their lifestyle. A negative existance whos sole puropose in life is to get by without having to do the 9-5 routine that 99% of the rest of us have to. We are then drip fed their glorious existence into our mundane lives and made to feel envious of people who, on the whole, are a completely different breed of human altogether. One that by choice, I would certainly not give the time of day to.
The way to put a stop to this ridiculous 'career', is to boycott the very magazines who promote them once they are on TV. I can never understand why anyone would be interested who this person or that person is now marrying/divorcing/marrying again. We have our own lives that we should be getting on with, and we can very well do without the pantomime drab that is currently being delivered to us my the media.