Reality TV: Get it out of here?

With the reappearance of “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”  this week, several controversial opinions of reality television have resurfaced with someone in my year renaming it “I’m A Celebrity Reject… Get Me Out of Here!”.

These shows are supposed to be the epitome of A-listers but this year’s line-up has been quite a disappointment and referred to as more of a gathering of “Z-Listers”.

So why do opinions about reality television in general vary so much?

Many people think that celebrities degrade themselves through increased exposure to become more famous. Contestants carry out humiliating tasks just to entertain those watching. These situations are carefully controlled and scenes in things like “Geordie Shore” are often set up and scripted, thus deceiving the public as the fate of many contestants is often pre-determined.

So why then do these kinds of programmes like “I’m A Celebrity” have such a large following, with over 15 million people watching?

For some, reality television is a way to unwind after a busy day. It allows people to pass judgement on the actions of others and vent their feelings in a way which is healthy and not damaging to society. In some cases, celebrities can act as a role model, especially this year with gold medal winning hockey player Sam Quek who joined the line-up after the success in Rio.  These people can be a positive influence on younger people watching as it is a large platform that people can use to spread a positive message to its large audience. It promotes the independence of people and the power that they have to overcome a fear, thus encouraging its audience to do the same. This publicity, however, can be a bad thing because if a mistake is made then a large number of people witness it and the focus of the public is directed towards this person. Last year’s Lady Colin Campbell received her fair share of public hatred after her ‘nasty’ side was revealed towards the end of the series.

This kind of television is watched by so many people and contributes so much to the industry. It increases the diversity of viewing and makes programmes more accessible to a larger number of people. The programmes are largely sponsored and this promotes businesses and again increases consumer interest in products. For example, Aunt Bessie has signed a £6 million deal to sponsor “I’m A Celebrity” this year, ending Iceland’s 9 year sponsorship. Sponsorship raises brand awareness of companies and puts a spotlight on their business, thus benefitting the company enormously.

Reality television sparks diversity of opinion about whether it is just a waste of time, but if these kinds of programmes are appealing to people, and are not detrimental to society, then why should we judge people on what they choose to watch?

Hayley Kiyoko: Queer role model

25-year-old singer Hayley Kiyoko’s catchy songs are hard to forget and she has an amazing voice but why is she such an important figure for LGBT teens?

Recently she has received much praise from fans on social media due to her LGBT themes in her music videos. Despite being bisexual, Hayley Kiyoko has been dubbed ‘queen of the gays’, and has become an important role model to people all over the world figuring out their sexuality.

Hayley Kiyoko is so important because not so long ago, even though the music industry has had numerous out singers and musicians, there wasn’t really any open representation for the LGBT community. Hayley is breaking through boundaries with her music videos and their completely unapologetic queer themes. ‘Girls like Girls’ became something of an anthem to LGBT teens when the video was released in 2015, the video being about two girls, one (Sonya) with a boyfriend (Trenton), the other one (Coley) is interested in the girl with the boyfriend. Eventually, the Sonya realizes that she likes Coley, when Trenton is apprehended because he was shouting at his girlfriend and being aggressive. It ends with the Coley smiling because she got the girl. One of the reasons it has been such a hit in the queer community is because the video and its ending is the story that so many queer girls would love to have. Through the video it is a constant reminder to young girls that it is okay to like other girls.

Another reason Hayley is such a massive influence is how regularly she stresses that it is going to get better for teenagers growing up and going through tough times, and with her recent song and music video; Gravel To Tempo, she provides entertainment with important messages to be yourself, and not care what others think. At an age where teenagers are already developing insecurities about their bodies and focusing on their flaws, it can be even harder for someone who is learning that they are different than the other people around them, and it can be a daunting experience, having to admit these new realizations to yourself. Having a role model like Hayley Kiyoko to look up to is a way for young people in the LGBT community to feel secure in themselves and proud of their sexuality in the way that they should.

But also, not only has she become a role model for her unapologetic attitude to people who scorn her sexuality, and inspiring views that more people should be following, her music and videos provide great entertainment that has social media sites like Tumblr losing their mind, and it’s also a good natured way of normalizing LGBT relationships into everyday life, and to always remind you to that ‘the only validation you need is yourself’.

You can download her new EP ‘Citrine’ from iTunes now.

A Royal Affair: The Fascinating Tale of Queen Victoria

Victoria, ITV’s new, eight part, period drama was released on August 28th (directed by Tom Vaughan) and depicts the fascinating tale of England’s Queen Victoria coming to power in 1837, at just 18 years of age.

Daisy Goodwin, the TV-show’s creator and writer, discovered the first volume of Victoria’s journals – of which there are many – in 1981, when studying the 19th century monarchy at Cambridge.  Instantly she became captivated by the “discovery of a monarch who is engaging, funny and frank; a girl, in fact”. For the first time, Goodwin experienced the Queen in a more personal light; a stark contrast to the cold-hearted character so commonly associated with her name. Her subsequent decision to revive Victoria’s sprightly, resolute personality in television form, offered the rest of the country the same luxury.

Queen Victoria’s reputation is cemented in the history books: humourless, prude and stony –manifested within her hilariously cynical catchphrase, “We are not amused.” Not only has recent evidence suggested that she never did utter those words but, according to A.N. Wilson, the show’s historical adviser, the reputation itself is undeserved and was apparently a façade. It was devised by the Royal Family – to “supress the truth about her passionate nature”.

Goodwin’s aim was to overturn the common perception of England’s longest-reigning monarch. One line in particular, refuting the misconceptions of Victoria’s personality, captured Goodwin’s attention: “My dear Albert came in today from the rain; he looked so handsome in his white cashmere britches, with nothing on underneath,” This remark was one that Goodwin claimed to have mortified her (but only for a second)! She wanted to portray the ‘real’ Victoria, the passionate girl in the thrall of young love, whose surprisingly relatable thoughts she had uncovered within the diaries. Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman, the actress portraying young Queen Victoria in the series, said she hoped that the drama would reveal the lesser-known side of this supposedly implacable monarch – and that is exactly what it has accomplished. The programme shows the Queen – though reliant on her intimate friend, Lord Melbourne – to be a headstrong, decisive woman in the midst of a patriarchal society.

Despite its admirable execution, every historical drama is subject to criticism concerning its accuracy; and Victoria is no exception. Historians are quick to scrutinize the relevance of the staff sub-plots and precision of the Royal Family’s portrayal, with some sharp enough to assess Coleman’s height (a mere 3 inches above that of Queen Victoria’s 4ft11inch figure). Upon being questioned about the series’ historical accuracy, Daisy Goodwin admitted that she had made up the characters and stories of life downstairs, but insisted that “everything that happens from upstairs is true and from Victoria’s diaries.” Even so, whilst Victoria is representation of 19th century Britain, it is still a TV programme, and so one can expect additional plots and a slightly exaggerated reality; so is the nature of a televised drama. What truly matters is the fact that the series allows the opportunity to explore a whole new aspect to Queen Victoria’s character and does well to challenge the unwarranted reputation of the monarch in a way which is not only gripping, but enjoyable. After all, this was the initial aim of its creator.

Through the work of Daisy Goodman and her crew, Victoria captures the journey of a miscalculated Queen, faced with the unfathomable responsibility of leading a country at such a vulnerable age. Instead of the stout, old lady that has been branded onto public consciousness, Queen Victoria is presented to us in a way that is respectable, relatable and redoubtable. In many ways, she is a fantastic role model.  A part truly fit for a queen.

Why Horror Films Aren’t Scary Anymore

The suggestion of a horror film is enough to send at least a quarter of the nation into a petrified state of terror with images of the regular Halloween horror or a ghastly graveyard, filling their heads. However, the reality of the infamous nightmare stirrers is far less sinister nowadays than they used to be. Continue reading “Why Horror Films Aren’t Scary Anymore”

Harry Potter and the Continuous Plot

Nine years after the publish of The Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter series, author J.K Rowling, released the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The two-part play, written by Jack Thorne, is based on a new narrative by Thorne, Rowling and John Tiffany, following the story of Albus Potter, Harry’s son, 19 years later and his struggle to deal with the burden of his family legacy. The play itself began previews on 7th June at the Palace Theatre in London and officially premiered on 30th July, one day before the script was made available to buy.

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‘Captain America: Civil War’ – A battle for the ages

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team World leaders demand oversight over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes after the costly and deadly events of the first Avengers. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is for signing onto the Sokovia Accords, while Captain America (Chris Evans) is very much against it. After a deadly attack is attributed to Cap’s old partner, Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Cap goes rogue to locate and protect his oldest friend while Tony Stark and the Avengers who side with him are given a deadline to stop them before less friendly elements are sent after them. Superhero vs. superhero action ensues, as new heroes join the fray and a mysterious nemesis, Helmut Zemo, operates his own shadowy agenda. This new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps-one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. Which will win?

The Teams

Team Stark

Iron Man Obviously, Stark is leading his own team against Cap in a battle over superheroes registering with the government. Iron Man thinks heroes should be registered for accountability, while Captain America believes registration is a violation of superheroes’ freedoms. Game on.

Black widow

Probably the most surprising member of Stark’s team, given how closely she’s worked with Rogers in the past, Black Widow appears to have chosen to be more loyal to her employer (the government) than her friend.
War Machine

James Rhodes

If there’s one person you could count on for Stark’s team, it has to be his BFF James Rhodes, who essentially doubles the firepower brought to the team by Stark himself.

Vision

Speaking of firepower, Vision is arguably the most powerful character on either side, so it’s a major coup that Iron Man nabbed him to fight for his already stacked team.
Black Panther

Lastly the new member T’challa

Making his debut in the film is T’Challa, King of Wakanda. He has enhanced physical attributes and a vibranium suit, which means he adds a lot to Team Stark.

Team Cap

Captain America

The ultimate freedom fighter will clearly have his hands full against Iron Man’s ridiculous team, but he has plenty of heroes on his side as well.

Hawkeye

One of the most interesting dynamics will be between him and Black Widow, as the two have long been partners and are also best friends, but now find themselves on opposing sides.

Falcon

Basically Cap’s War Machine equivalent in terms of being best buds, Falcon always has Cap’s back no matter what.

Winter Soldier

If you watched Captain America: Winter Soldier, then you know that Bucky was Cap’s best friend from the ’40s who became a brainwashed supervillain. He gets his memory back in Civil War, and his renewed friendship with Cap, combined with the registration act, is what sets Iron Man and Cap at odds.

Scarlet Witch

The biggest weapon in Cap’s arsenal, he’ll need this Avenger’s hexes against the powerhouses Iron Man’s going to be throwing at him.

Ant-Man

The shrinking hero joins the larger Marvel Universe probably thanks to Falcon, who was looking to make him an Avenger in Ant-Man.

Sharon Carter

This former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent hasn’t been seen in action much yet, but if she’s anything like her great aunt Peggy, AKA Agent Carter, then Cap will be happy to have her on his side.

So that’s how the teams stack up, and while Cap has the numbers, Iron Man definitely has more firepower. Of course, there are still a few questions that haven’t been answered yet. But as it stands now, the way the teams have shaped up makes it look like Captain America: Civil War will definitely feature a battle for the age

Why Has the Great British Bake Off Moved to Channel 4?

On the 13th of September, the company that makes the programme, Love Productions, announced that after the end of this current season, the next season would be aired on Channel 4.

Pulling in well over ten million viewers  on a frequent basis, it has been described as a ‘cash cow’ due to its reach and also due to the fact that five million viewers are under the age of 34. For a programme aimed at a channel with an average viewer age of 62, this has been considered to be a remarkable feat by bosses.

Continue reading “Why Has the Great British Bake Off Moved to Channel 4?”

5 Artists To Watch in 2016

Transviolet 

Transviolet are a four-piece band from L.A., consisting of Sarah McTaggart, Judah McCarthy, Michael Panek, and Jon Garcia. The electropop four piece have been described as the “moody, brooding little sister of Lana Del Rey” by Teen Vogue. Their song ‘Girls Your Age’ was promoted in a fairly spectacular way, with Harry Styles tweeting the lyrics of the song to his 25.6 million followers and Katy Perry promoting the song to her 72.5 million followers. Since then, they have been on tour with the likes of Mikky Ekko and Twenty One Pilots, and their debut album is expected to be released in 2016.

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Bowie: is any tribute good enough?

In the recent months of David Bowie’s death (January 10th) many artists have paid tribute to him. Friends and fans have gathered on social media to grieve for the loss of such an awesome artist. Madonna, Annie Lennox and Iggy Pop were just a few among many stars who spoke out on the loss of Bowie. Two of the tributes most often compared have been Lady Gaga’s Grammy medley, and Lorde’s cover of “Life on Mars?”.

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Kanye West: A Study in Egomania

In today’s society there is no escaping the infamous Kanye West and his polarizing antics. He has always attracted public scrutiny for his actions in the past with his, perhaps most criticised and memorable act of infamy being his interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the 2009 VMA’s. This prompted outrage in the media and even President Barack Obama weighed in on the incident, labelling him ‘a jackass.’ However it could be argued that as of late, he has reached new levels of shocking and baffling idiocy.

Continue reading “Kanye West: A Study in Egomania”