This article addresses perhaps the key question for Television Studies: Who does television think you are? It argues that Reality Television answers this question by producing its viewers as, in the Classical Greek sense, idiots (meaning private and ignorant persons). Idiots are the perfect target for the advertising dollar that supports commercial television production. As Reg Grundy observes, Reality Television is anything but reality. With its tight framings of reality, it paradoxically operates to sever the viewing self from reality—from the “truth” of life. Lie to Me is the type of television we are left with after the demise of Reality Television. Lie to Me makes us self-conscious, in the strongest sense, and thus sustains the mission of Reality Television. By dragging the notion of reality into its self-serving fictions, it puts the viewer into the dangerous position of being unable to lie to television. If Reality Television constrained reality to falsity, Lie to Me implicates the viewer in the zone where falsity transforms into reality. Lastly, this article enquires into the possibilities, in today’s television ecology, for a mode of TV citizenship that would counter the abject viewing position of the consumerist idiot.
Field of Research
190402 Creative Writing (incl Playwriting)
Socio Economic Objective
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category
C3 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal
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