Reality Television/Docu-Series Television

While reading Here’s What Happens When Fashionistas Finally See The Sweatshops Where Clothes Get Made and Anthony Bourdain and President Obama on Parts Unknown Season Premiere it made me think about how documentaries enable us to see what other parts of the world is like.

For majority of the population of the world, being able to travel and see other parts of the world isn’t always a possibility. With documentaries they are able to. When watching the documentaries they can also learn about some of the social issues that are going on. One of the social issues that was talked about in the film was sweatshops.

The points that the documentary made about sweatshops were very valid. It was also shows what life-style the people who work in the sweatshops live like. What the documentary misses is that the three people who went to visit the sweatshops visited there for four weeks, yet only showed about 50 minutes of them living there. What did the film crew film that didn’t make the cut to be in the docu-series? Even though they didn’t show everything that was filmed in the four weeks, the docu-series showed the people who watch the series about what it is really like working in a sweatshop.

The other article that spotlights the influence that Anthony Bourdain has in the television world. It’s pretty amazing that he was able to have the president of the United States of America on his premier of his own television show. His television show not only highlights only a portion of the food that is from that country, but also some of the social issues that happen in that country. Something that comes with watching documentaries, is knowing that there is always a bias. No matter how much the producers of the show try to make the show un-biased there is always a bias. Bourdain in the show can come off as biased and even naïve. A specific example of this is in the episode of when Bourdain is in Beirut in Lebanon. In this episode Bourdain is talking about how great it is in Lebanon, when he was having lunch with a woman. When he was having lunch, the woman explained that he didn’t live in Lebanon so he doesn’t really get the full impact of living there. This shows that it might be really nice to visit a country, but it is never like living in that country for an extended period of time.

Watching episode in both of these docu-series is that you need to always remember that the show has a bias. You should know that there is a bias in this show even though they try to have a show that doesn’t. These docu-series do show a part of the world that majority of the population doesn’t have the possibility to see since they don’t have the means to. With watching these shows, they are able to educate themselves about world and see a different view point as they would see from just watching the local news.

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Changing the Way You Think About Documentaries

When I was reading Michael Moore’s 13 Rules for Making Documentary Films and The Hidden Persuaders Come Out in Full Force, it was interesting to see how Morgan Spurlock utilized some parts of the 13 rules that Michael Moore wrote about.

The most interesting connection between the Moore article and the article by Holden.  Moore in the article said that people who are making a documentary should go after the “villains”.  While Spurlock’s film  isn’t labeling the brand companies as the villains, but he’s showing what power they have over media. Spurlock did go after some big companies that have ads and commercials out in public.  Spurlock looked at the companies and really dissects in the documentary “Pom Wonderful Presents: Greatest Movie Ever Sold”, how these big brand companies are able to be advertised in everyday life.  Not only in television ads or in newspapers, but in movies as well.  The companies might not be selling their product as bluntly as they do in their commercials, but they still want to have their product used in such a way that the people how see the product want to buy the product.  In Spurlock’s documentry, he showed the audience about the process and the amount of time goes into having companies buy-in to movies or television shows.  It was truly amazing to see how much companies are willing to put up to  be in the television show or movie.  They are hoping to have their product seen in this movie, and as a result have the audience who saw it want to go out and purchase said item.  It’s kind of like a facade.  They are hoping to sell you the item because they are saying that you aren’t good enough just being you without the item.  When you buy the item(s) that they are selling you, they are saying that you will be a happier, prettier, smarter, healthier, and overall better person.

While watching this movie, I realized how interesting it was to see how music even plays as role as well.  From having music go with the movie, television show, or commercial.  It is interesting to see how musicians in the beginning might have their songs in a commercial that doesn’t accurately represent their “image”, and when they are better known they can pick and choose which movie, show, or ad they want to have their music in.  Having their music in a movie, show, or ad won’t only benefit them by having a popular song being featured in it, but also having the viewers want to listen to more music by the artist.  This relationship is mutually beneficial to both.

In the documentary, it was amazing to see how much advertising and subliminal messaging there is in just the entertainment industry.   From the cars that are driven to the drinks that are shown, the companies are hoping that you will go out and buy the said item.  The way that they are commonly presenting the items, they are saying that you aren’t good enough as you are unless you have this item.  In hopes that you go out and buy this item to make your life better.

Since seeing that movie, I have begun to notice the amount of ads that I am shown each and every day.  The ads don’t necessarily have to be thirty second ads, but even just shown an item that can correspond with a brand.  The general public might be exposed to hundreds to thousands of ads every day.  The companies are then going to hope that we go out and buy the items.  The cycle would then start all over again because if we are seen with the item, and then they would in turn buy the item.