A reality TV text Essay Sample
- Word count: 1033
- Category: television
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A reality TV text Essay Sample
Go back is a reality TV text that hinges on the participant’s transformation as a result of their new discoveries due to exposures and experiences during the program. The events and situations are planned by the program’s creators but the impact of the experience and how the participants grapple to extract meaning from the experience and reconnect with others and the world around them takes them through an emotional roller coaster that few are prepared for. It is important for an individual to undergo an emotionally powerful personal experience in order to enrich understanding of themselves and others and discover new connections with others and the world around us.
In the opening lines of the program Adam states “25 years of my live I’ve been very sheltered”. This largely holds true of the other participants as well especially Raye and Racquel. Adam, having seen the Cronulla race riots, Raye seeing the detention center across the road and Racquel seeing Blacktown turning black, shows the very limited knowledge and exposure these participants have to refugees, their motivations to take the risks to life and limb and to the world at large. Their individual beliefs and boundaries, defining their identities, are formed between these participants and the refugees.
Having visited the detention center Adam calls it a “reality check” that “if he gets denied, he is definitely not going back to Iraq so it is suicide for him.” Adam’s facial expressions and nervousness show that he finds it unreal to have met and spoken with a person who is contemplating this course of action as the only alternative to acceptance as a refugee. Where till now the sheltered Adam only saw the cost of housing as the connection between himself and “criminals”, he discovers a human connection with the suicidally inclined inmate affecting the way he thinks and therefore his individual identity.
Late into their last night with the Masudis the close up shots of Raye and Racquel give the viewers a vivid peep into the emotions erupting in them when they hear about the tragedies hurled upon the family and sisters of Masari, Bahati Masudi’s wife. In the close shot Racquel impulsively reaches out to Masari creating an emotional connection that brings down the boundary that she “didn’t like Africans”. “You’re a lovely lady and you don’t deserve this” further establishes a new connection that Racquel forges with Masari. Racquel tempers the emotional moment with an observation that “not all other families will be as nice” and “I’m not going to make new African friends”.
Raye can further deeply empathize with Bahati Masudi’s wife when she recounts her loss of her baby just because she had no money as Raye herself finds it difficult to carry a pregnancy through. This deeply changes the boundaries that Raye has made around herself with the “serve the bastards right” approach and discovers new connections with the African family.
The producers further present the boat experience in a dramatic way using close hand held camera shots so as to bring the fear of death to the participants themselves. The danger of the leaking boat is heightened when the boat visually sinks deeper into the water and later when smoke starts to bellow from the engine. This further reinforces the commitment of the participants to never undertake such a journey and expose themselves or their wives and children to such a risk. A commitment that will be challenged as the experiment continues. Darren is visibly angry about being forced to feel empathy underscoring that the producers were successful at least at terrifying him. Racquel questions why she should be made to experience the boat journey as it doesn’t apply to her, she being born in Australia, tapping back into her individual identity for safety and comfort.
At the airport in Malaysia, Racquel brings up the religion aspect of her individual identity and with “I don’t care. I dress how I want to.” she establishes the boundary that the Islamic religion must respect her individual identity.
While the raid on the construction site is in progress, Darren and Adam are seen helping to find the hidden refugees, clearly indicating they side with the law. Near it’s end, Racquel and Raye are seen discussing their feelings about the raid. Raye saying, “these people are just trying to find a new life and I don’t call them criminal” suggests how she empathizes with the underlying situation of the illegal refugees. Racquel following this with “I do” encapsulates that she finds these people criminals. Viewers are left with their own conclusions till the prison van door is firmly shut with a sound of finality and a humane finger grasping the grill on the window of the truck contrasts vulnerability with harsh treatment.
At the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, the repetition in Dao’s statement, “I need to touch your heart … if we do not touch your heart, you do not see us. We are not animals. It is a problem for the world. It is a problem..” unearthing the real problem of refugees in not being able to experience the freedom of their citizenship. Raye empathizes with Dao. Racquel has made a complete turn around from her original attitude to Africans “I will now stop them in the street in Blacktown and ask whether they came from Kakuma” demonstrating how she has made multiple discoveries in her journey forging new connections with the same Africans that she disliked before embarking.
In conclusion the experiment, scary and confronting with increasing intensity as the weeks go by, has given each participant a very strong personal experience and exposure that has challenged their original views and beliefs resulting in behavorial changes in them. They have made new connections to others and to the world realizing how much adversity and pain the refugees face in their home country to be so desperate to undertake the boat journey. They also conclude that the crux of the refugee problem lies in resolving the issues in their original country rather than resettling them in new ones. Darren continues to think of boat people as economic refugees rather than persecuted peoples. But all participants have a much deeper and wider perspective on the issue that what they started with.