Dan Beeston is

Brushing Off Invisible Spiders

You punched a girl in the face?

4th October 2010

Doesn't it make you angry?

The young girl with a head full of dreams wanders out knowing that this is her big chance to gain all the validation that her daddy never gave her. She sings and the crowd applauds. The judges tell her smiling, "Sorry dear, you just don't have what it takes. It really is very terrible. There are no words for how awful that was."

She mouths "No, please" as the tears rush forward. It's all she's thought about since the first day she saw the audition notice. All the way along she was supported and her dreams seemed closer and closer. Now, at the last hurtle he's cast her aside like a poorly aimed fishing rod.

The bastard. What a horrible prick. He could have at least sugar-coated it. Here, look how horrible he was. I'll load up Youtube and show you.

Doesn't it make you angry?

The matt-orange oompha-loompha from the shores of Jersey. She's all dosed up on alcohol and rage. Mouthing off, making problems. Another patron is fuelled with rum and POW! Clocks her in the face. Whoa! What an arse-hole. Look! Watch the slow-mo version. Isn't it horrible?

Doesn't it make you angry?

That self absorbed nightmare gets everything she wants and she's still not happy. She didn't want a brown pony, She wanted a black pony. Not a Porsche, an Esprit. Yes, this exact model and colour of car but not early. Poor little princess wanted it during her party when all her friends will be around to be jealous.

What a bitch!

I'm so bloody indignant!

And it works. It makes you angry. The bait was set and now you're in the trap. You've been emotionally engaged and they did it all for you. Kyle Sandilands, "Dicko" Dickson, Simon Cowell. They didn't start out like that. They worked hard to adopt that attitude of bile and vitriol. If they were nicer you might hate them less, but you wouldn't get to enjoy the rush of getting indignant.

I am being entertained!
These situations are manipulated to get the most emotionally charged situation they can. The more offensive the characters, the more you can hate them and the more invested you are in their story. They can't stop it. They were specifically chosen for the role and put in a position where all their worst attributes would bubble up.

The camera man will watch a fight break out and think 'Great. This footage is gold'.

The editors will see the girl run offstage trying desperately to put her love back in the box and think 'That's going in.'

The directors will watch the angry douche-bag character tip over a table and think 'That's the perfect point in the narrative arc for this'.

It's their job. They get paid well and they'd have to give that all up to make a stand.

You, on the other hand, only need to press the off button. They make this for you. They torture these people emotionally for you. Like an ancient roman at the colosseum.

The question you need to ask yourself is this. If you were the only person in the audience and you were asked if you'd like to watch someone get bullied for your entertainment, would you say 'yes'?

Because make no buts about it. If you watch these shows you may as well have punched that girl in the face yourself.

...and that's what makes me angry.


Have you read Chart Throb by Ben Elton? It's an interesting look at "reality" TV shows.

Dan Beeston

I LOVED chart throb! Such a good book and much less death than most of his novels.


Whenever I think about Chart Throb I want to watch American Dreamz. Hugh Grant is so dreamy.