Reality shows are back thanks to the quarantine

The quarantine caused many people to turn on their televisions again. Let's see what are the reasons for the success of reality shows .

Still from the television show 'Bake Off'

Reality shows have become very popular during the quarantine season. / Photo: youtube.com/Telefe

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: El regreso de la popularidad de los reality shows en cuarentena

The compulsory social isolation that was imposed in most countries caused many people to lose physical contact. However, that does not mean that they cannot interact through new forms of virtual communication, as is the case with monitoring live programs.

Proof of this is given through reality shows. Thus, we see that the television channel Televisa produced the Guerreros 2020 program, which is positioned as a reality show where influencers and athletes will face each other in some sports competitions.

However, this not all. This trend is also present in Latin America, where the Infobae media mentions that an Argentine pastry reality show, known as Bake Off, became extremely popular during the quarantine. Despite being recorded over the past year, it sparked a revolution in social media and an impressive rating increase. Let's see the causes of the success of reality shows, especially in this delicate context.

Why do quarantined reality shows succeed?

In the first place, we must mention that the Clarín media considers that television should have changed as a result of the pandemic. In other words, while many programs had to be broadcast with physical social distancing (for example, from home), other networks consider that the ideal is to use content already recorded to avoid possible contagion in the studios.

It is here where the surprising success of Bake Off comes in, which the Télam website comments as a “fury on the screen and on social networks”. Every Sunday at 10:30 p.m., social networks are revolutionized, as users comment minute by minute, through memes, complaints, and surprises, everything that happens with the participants.

Despite the show having had a relatively successful first season, it is in the second that many people joined to view the material. For example, the newspaper LM Neuquén mentions that many users were "outraged" when they learned that there would be no elimination in Chapter 15, since all the participants were at the same level.

So, to better understand how reality shows work, we must place ourselves in this very particular context. The first thing we should know is that, like any program that is released "live", the idea of minute by minute generates a feeling of interaction and closeness between users.

Unlike what happens with content that can be seen "at any time" (as is the case with Netflix), here it is important to comment among people on what is happening. The same causes a contagion effect, a feeling of missing out on what is happening on social media. 

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This would explain the reasons why Bake Off is the most popular program in Argentina at the moment, since it virtually “unites” people who cannot get together due to isolation. However, it is not something that occurred exclusively, since other programs that premiered with weekly chapters, such as the case of Game of Thrones, also generated trends in social networks. For example, the Los Andes website mentions that there was a general rejection after the end of the series was broadcast.

However, to this we must add a differentiation: Game of Thrones is fiction, while reality shows are real people, personal stories. Even, from the perspective of Alt Media, everyone in this pandemic is living in a "reality show", since we are showing aspects of our lives to others through networks, for example .

In this way, the idea of being able to talk “minute by minute” with others about other human beings symbolizes our own confinement. If we add to this a funny dynamic, with errors of the participants and marked personalities, and even a very friendly and easy to understand content structure, we understand that this type of program has always been successful, but with the quarantine much more.



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