Saturday, May 31, 2008

Welcome to Reality TV

When the idea first occurred to us to turn the search for the next Mahalo Daily host into a reality show, it was totally meant in the spirit of parody. The whole notion was to mock reality shows, particularly how overblown they are and how they pit people cruelly against one another. Hence, me in a hot air balloon with my shirt unbuttoned introducing something called "The Bachelon," or Jason doing his Trump impression in the boardroom.

See, there were always two levels to the whole thing, to my mind. On the surface, we're genuinely conducting a real contest, looking for someone to host the show. But on another level, we're pretending that the contest is this massively important, epic thing, that lives were literally in the balance, and that our competition would feature all the drama and excitement promised on shows like "The Amazing Race" and "The Bachelor."

Now that we've had a month of great shows and two amazing finalists, I think I can safely say that there are two things we did not consider when planning this thing:

(1) Pitting people against one another, even in jest, creates rifts, divisions and hurt feelings;

(2) The reality format itself is powerful, and creates strong emotions in viewers, even when presented ironically

I'm still very glad we did the contest. I think the episodes themselves have been some of the most entertaining we've ever done. Even better, we got the chance to get to know and collaborate with some fantastically talented, interesting and, of course, beautiful women - not just the Final Two, Andrea and Leah, but also Sarah, Nadine, Michelle, Kristina, Lisa, Martine, Pili, Roxy, Alice, Melody...and more. I have a feeling you'll see many of them on the show again in some capacity.

But having said that, I do kind of regret taking part in anything that would inspire this kind of angry, mean, vitriolic comment thread. We never intended to create a show that would turn people against the contestants. ANY of them. The whole point was to celebrate all the talented aspirants, not to make them look bad and unleash the rage of the Internet upon them. MD viewers and fans...please do try to keep your commentary professional and respectful.

This little incident is largely our fault, for blurring the line between fake funny reality show and real reality show too much at times. I hope we can all put it past us as we declare a winner this week and start making new shows.

If we end up not choosing your preferred choice, I'd suggest you at least give the new host a chance...They're both really creative and fun, they both have a lot of enthusiasm and ideas for the show, and I promise you, they're both really genuine, nice people, no matter how a competitive 5 minute podcast featuring my boss might make it seem.


Sarah Atwood said...

It is a shame how harsh some commenters can be, as if they have no understanding of how they might affect someone's feelings. But, you bring up a great point. Spoofing reality TV is funny and entertaining. Actually pitting contestants against each other is very real competition. You guys told ladies they weren't good enough in very public & dramatic ways. That is as real as the comment threads. Now don't get me wrong, I am 100% glad I was a part of this. I'm just grateful that you can see both sides.

Anonymous said...

When a contestant starts demeaning other contestants, I think that opens the door. Even if she wins, I don't think she can overcome the damage she's done.

Anonymous said...

^^^anonymous you totally got it right! If someone demeans someone that is real, it seems to me that Andrea didn't realize it was supposed to be a spoof either and just decided to make it more like real reality tv by talking down on others, something that I don't think Mahalo should condone!

Melody Mooney said...

Hey Lon! I got the spoof of it all from the get go and thus my audition was in what I thought was the same ilk as the shows conception, in jest.

Just to give one persons experience who lived through a 'real' reality show:

Not all of them are mean spirited and pit people against each other. Superhero and Stan Lee rewarded his Heroes for working together, being honest and doing good.

My sole criterion for being on the show was that it not be ugly and full of schadenfreude. That being said, I was glad it was just Stan doing the 'judging' and not at home voting or soul breaking 'simons' were involved.

Believe me, there were defiantly 'beat the dog' 'pet the dog' moments but I kept it in perspective. I had three things running in my mind at all times. There was 'Hygena on the show' there was the 'meta gaming' that the producers did and then, dug deep inside there was 'Melody' who just loved running around in a costume and making new friends. Everything I felt was 'real and I really cried and laughed and really missed my Husband and kitties. I loved it all though!

I can totally get your conflicted feeling on being the "host' and us girls becoming more a part of the Mahalo family and less contestants.

As far as the harsher critiques from the judges, there maybe should have been an agreed upon tone, either being tongue in cheek hyper reality or straight down and dirty job application / Am I hot or not brutal truth. This would cause less confusion with all involved including the viewers. I thought the teasers you made for each episode were hilarious but they didn't really reflect the actual contest but what the hec! :)

Lastly, something that has personally got me a bit ruffled is when I hear others who live a big chunk of their own lives in front of a webcam bash 'reality tv'. I mean, how much more real an voyeuristic can you get? Be it 'twittering every thought' or vlogging from your bedroom, that sort of constant sharing of every day life boarders on hyper reality and defiantly crosses the accepted postmodern mark of the term.

Oh ya, in keeping with bi tonal messes, YOU SO ROCK MY SOCKS DUDE lololol OMG

Mooney- OUT!