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Saturday, February 02, 2008

The most unreal thing about Reality TV

Caught the last half an hour of "The Choir" last night. It's not a bad idea. Charismatic young choirmaster attempts to persuade a bunch of cripplingly inhibited teenage boys at a school (which has somehow attracted the addendum "sports college") that they can sing. He tries to coax the ones with talent to take lessons, he tries to persuade the more musically inclined ones to sing un-self-consciously at each other; to the rest he simply points out that if they sing "nobody dies".
Near the end he is getting discouraged by their mulish insistence that singing is "boring" or "gay". (How this chimes with the government's "come and work with the most exciting people in the world" teacher recruitment campaign I do not know.)
To gain encouragement he goes to visit another school where choral singing is hugely popular. The BBC can't be seen to mention the fact that this one is some form of selective school but it smelled like that to me.
Anyway, the last five minutes featured him waiting in the hall to sign up volunteers to join his choir. At first he was on his own, contemplating the failure of his project. I looked at the clock. Two minutes air time to go. They clearly weren't going to leave it like this.
Sure enough. One boy turned up to volunteer. Then another. Then a few more. Then yet more until there was a queue of shiny-faced adolescents begging to join. He ended up with, if memory serves, 170 names. "I can't believe it," he blushed. Well, nor could we. There had clearly been some major manipulation that we didn't see to bring about this very televisual resolution.
Many things betray the credibility of reality television but the thing that really gives it the lie is the fact that IT ALWAYS WORKS OUT IN THE END.
You can see "The Choir" here.