Monday, March 12, 2001

Reality TV.
That's the big Issue in Norway these days. A smaller Norwegian TV-station is sending a norwegian version of "Big Brother", giving us all a view of what a bunch of people closed up in a small apartment close to the main airport in Norway will do or not to win one million kroner. This series has lead to a lot of discussion, here as elsewhere, about good and bad television, as my colleague Erling Sivertsenshows in his collection of links to the "shitbag-television"-debate. The question in the lunch-room of the Media Department at Volda College today was: "Is this a Documentary?" Personally I think that it is not. The stage is set, the actors are picked, the directors have their dramaturgy plotted in and add different props to nudge the action in certain directions. At the same time I can understand the argument that this actually happens, these people actually live there, what they do to, with or against each other isn't in any manuscript that they know of. So perhaps this is a filmed psychological experiment, where the publicity is a factor? Does that make it a Documentary? I spent lunch discussing (I won't write arguing over) this with a couple of colleagues, and I still don't think it is. I will think of it as a roleplay-game (LARP - Live Action Role-Play), or perhaps a sports-events - which I think was our first "reality-TV". Those are the categories which makes sense to me. That doesn't make it all fiction though. Complicated. And interesting.

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