Thursday, 23 August 2012

So you think I should date?

Sometime in the sixties, Andy Warhol once said that "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes." While Mr. Warhol was probably laced on hallucinogenic drugs at the time, no-one could have predicted just how accurate he was. If there were ever an episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, Andy Warhol would be kicking Nostradamus' butt right about now. Idols, The Voice, matter what your poison, reality TV is everyone's favourite guilty pleasure. It's come a long way since Big Brother graced our screens back in 2000 and even though the formats have changed, viewers are still essentially in control. Anyone can be famous these days and while some degree of talent is required for making a winning impression, the most crucial ingredient for success is how we captivate the adoration of the audience. 

A couple of weeks ago, Charlotte and I decided to ditch date night and proceeded north to review a local talent show hosted by a young entrepreneur she had recently met online. His name was Cal, a 28-year old producer and vocal coach who had just started his own music academy. Despite the obvious reason for being there, I was pleasantly surprised to see an abundance of talent hiding behind this so-called boerewors curtain. It's no secret...South Africa definitely has talent and even though Charlotte was smitten by Cal and Cal's biceps, she seemed to be waiting for some kind of validation from me, a thumbs up or tally of votes that would push him through to the next round of So You Think I Should Date? One thing's for sure, he had the sex-factor. 

A few weeks later I found myself on the set of another reality show a.k.a Master Chef - Maynard Manor. It was Liane's turn to cook for her housemates so she decided to stage a rehearsal dinner for her nearest and dearest, a sisterhood organisation referred to as "The Nod". While the main purpose of this exercise was to get feedback on Liane's culinary skills, a hidden agenda was brewing beneath the steaming pots of bunny-chow breyani. Liane, who had secretly been seeing an Afrikaans boy for the past month needed some approval from Paula, Simon and the rest of the peanut gallery in order to determine whether she liked him or not. Why is beyond me but still we reviewed him as we would any other contestant. Contenders, are you ready? Unfortunately,
the judges were not that impressed with his performance. He was extremely dull, uncommunicative and unable to keep up with our shenanigans. One comment about his accent and that was that. Goodbye, you are the weakest link.

It's shocking to think that someone's opinion can ultimately influence someone else's decision. Yes, there are times when a second opinion is necessary and welcome even but have we maybe grown a little too dependent on each other? Why do we always need some kind of approval? Are we that timid to accept the consequences of our own decisions out of fear at being judged? 

As I flipped the station over to my own relationship, I realized that The Aiden and Manni Show had taken a serious dip in ratings. After being thrown a particularly stressful storyline which included all the right trimmings for great TV drama, we were on the verge of being cancelled for good. Tears, conflicts, bickering. The final straw. I found myself at a relationship crossroad. Was I about to give up on three successful seasons in the hopes of getting my own cheap spin-off show or should I just man up and adapt to a less than perfect situation? I decided to call a friend. Having been through the same thing herself, she told me that no rational decision can ever be made based on emotions. She suggested I take some time out to figure this one out on my own.   

If we observe closely, there is more than enough drama in our own lives than any reality TV has to offer. Sometimes a second opinion is all it takes to get a clear perspective on any given situation and while fifteen minutes is plenty to make a lasting impression, the decision rests entirely in our own hands, not in those of the judges. We all know that Adam Lambert should have won season eight of American Idol which just goes to prove that audiences don't always have the right answers. There's a vast difference between getting a second opinion and allowing someone to dictate what could be right for you. Sometimes we just need a little time to figure out what's best for us without the help of voting lines. 

In matters of the heart, when there's a 50/50 chance of making the right or wrong decision, I couldn't help but asking the audience really the safest bet?  

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