Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The genesis of an Indian reality show - Part 1

The following is a step-by-step instruction guide on how to be a judge on a reality show

Step 1:
Make sure either you career is in the doldrums. Extra points if you were somewhat popular in the 80's or were a mildly successful actress in the 90's.

Step 2:
Make sure you bring one unique characteristic to the table i.e. either you laugh unnecessarily or whistle like a roadside romeo or know millions of proverbs.

Step 3: Make sure you learn the following words and phrases: English: Mind Blowing, Outstanding, Impressive, Awesome, Rocking, Rock On, Fantastic, Superb. Hindi: tadka maar diya, raaita phila diya, masaladaar performance. As mentioned above, extra points will be given for quoting hindi or urdu couplets. In case of a really good performance one can combine two or more phrases eg:
Mindblowingly Outstanding or Outstandingly Mindblowing or Masaladar-Tadkaydaar Awesome Mindblowing performance.

Note: In case your demographic is the 18 to 55 y.o. yuppie, then get a hindi to english dictionary to quote phrases from and act as if you are being forced to speak hindi for the first time in you life.

Step 4:

(a) Singing shows
- There are a few character types to choose from. One can either be brutally honest and a total dick like Simon Cowell or say things which no one can understand ala Paula Abdul or act like a total wackjob who keeps repeating unintelligible phrases much like Urmila Matondkar.

(b) Comedy shows - For these types of shows, there are two character types. One is a person who will laugh out loudly at anything, the other is a person who will laugh at nothing. Pick your type of character and collect your paycheck. Since you have pretty much nothing to do, learning hindi, english and urdu proverbs will help you raise your profile. This can be done during contestant performances.

(c) Dance Shows - Always blame the choreographer. In case you like someone's dance performance, it is appropriate to give them shagun of a rupee or two even though the contestants are paid in lakhs. In case you love food, one can also award contests by eating an Indian Sweet on their behalf. In case you are really moved, you can shed a tear or two and induce false hope in the lives of these contestants by telling them that they are better than the actors in the original song. This gives the contestants an over confident and delusional sense of self that makes them self destruct later in the season which always makes for good crash & burn TV.

Note: If a contestant does not perform up to par (which they won't), while giving them low marks one should always say that the contestant(s) did not perform upto your expectations. This doesn't make you sound like the bad guy and the contestants go home happy and the people voting for the particular contestants are always encouraged to continue voting.

Step 5: What to say and when

Now no one really cares about talent and people just want the person from their chawl/city/village/state/region/gender/pastry shop to win, so whatever you say and the marks you give pretty much amount to nothing. So just say or do whatever the hell the producers want you to, collect you paycheck and go home.

However, once in a while, the producers would want you to feign disgust to add a little drama. Your profile in the Indian Media (mainly Aajtak, India TV & Star News) will be raised for a while and your "performance" will be shown endlessly on these channels.

Having said that, you still need to know the following basics:

  • Whenever a supposed frontrunner is in the danger zone or losers circle or whateverthefuckitiscalled, always act surprised. This makes people think that you have an eye for talent. If the frontrunner survives and ultimately wins the show, your own career will somehow get a shot in the arm.

  • To add more legitimacy to your show, always give low marks to the people you like and/or are friendly with. This gives you an image of a fair judge and might lead to other employment opportunities.

  • Always appraise people like a mother-in-law appraises her daughter-in-law.

  • If you are not sure of a performance, always use ambiguous phrases like "risky performance", "unusual" or the most popular "it was different". Then wait for the other judges to provide their opinion and give your marks based on what they say.

  • Conflict between judges is always encouraged. To raise your own profile, it is advisable to feud with your co-judges. This takes the focus off the contestants and puts it solely on you. This will always keep you in the news, even English news channels will keep playing the clip of you verbally bitch slapping your hapless co-judge. This is a money-back guaranteed method of getting employment.

  • Learn to be profound. You can give as much advice as you want on any topic you want. For eg: Even though you have not had a really successful career till before you became a judge on a reality show, you can talk hours about achieving success. This gives you an aura of an elder statesmen.

Before we end today's lesson, a special shout out goes to Javed Akhtar and his family, Shabana Azmi and Farhan Akhtar for holding the guiness world record for being the only family in the world to have judged 72365016126598016256 reality shows between themselves. In fact, Javed Akhtar has collected so much bad karma from contestants that he will be reborn as a reality show contestant . Though to be fair, being married to Shabana Azmi is punishment enough and does burn out a lot of his bad karma.

Now we hope that we have been able to provide all of you with enough tools to be a successful reality show judge.

After all, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it only matters who you have bet your money on. (That's an original Overism. Thank you very much.)


Moo said...

Hahahaha! Outstandingly, mind blowingly tadkedaar post. :P

Hey you also forgot one more criterion. To be a reality show judge you can also be extremely ugly, fat, old, untalented and someone who cannot spell DANCE right, but still judge a dance show with your entire extended family, like the Devgans.

When you're a Devgan, a 40 year old pot-bellied gentleman dressed as Hrithik Roshan from Krrish, alongwith a fatter wife, delusional (and the ugliest I've ever seen) children, and a 73 year old flabby mother in law (donned in a sleeveless top and LEGGINGS. LEGGINGS!!!)flailing their arms to 'Dil na liya, dil na diya', is "AWESOME! Wah bhai, kya brilliant performance diya hai aapne! You're just getting amazing every week!!"

As Khalid Mohammed says EVERYDAY of the week in HT Cafe, "Such is life dearies". :|

Teehee. :P

D said...

Hey...that's kewl...liked all your posts...amazing :)

moonstruckmoth said...

Great post as usual...
When's the next installment?

BTW, everytime I'd watch these so-called "reality shows", I never cld understand y they're so popular! Esp when, it's glaringly obvious that they work according to a script...but then it's not all that surprising since all the saas-bahu serials too have TRP ratings going thru the roof!

I'm glad I've banished the idiot box out of my life...I can get all my entertainment here ;-)

Firefoxcub said...

to moo- what's wrong with leggings? I hope it was the fabbiness of legs you were flabbergasted at and not the leggings.

and you- over rated- funny post. as usual. but why like that about shabhana azmi?

ess said...

I wonder if you can actually string all those words together into one single compliment. That way you can have just one performance, then each judge giving their "valuable opinions", then have the compeers say , "we're out of time! Tune in again next time!!!" It would do a lot for the channels, what say?

Over Rated said...

moo: Thanks .. and those Devgans ... i didn't miss them i just don't get how looking like a cross between black beauty and bambi can make you a draw at the box office.

Someone please explain to me why do people have to call 145 year old grandmothers to participate in reality shows? I can't beleive a whole bunch of people calling themselves creative directors, got together, and concurred that having just a single idiot from one family won't suffice. They need a whole family of untalented karaoke singers and dancers along with grandmothers born before the first battle of panipat. And then they get a even more delusional family to judge these people. Where are the akhtars when you really need them??

As a wise cow once said, "Whatta buncha fuckwits!!" ... :P

d: thanks .. hope to keep seeing you around .. :D ...

moonstruckmoth: I'm working on the next installment .... thanks ...:D ... reality shows are scripted down to the last tear... however people don't realize that ..... and i can never understand the ratings some of the programs have ...

ffc: i don't think my eyes are ready to see a 73 y.o. grannie in leggigs dancing around to stupid hindi songs.... i'd rather die first ..... and shabana azmi just goes on and one and on ... she's the female javed akhtar ...

ess:i think it's a good idea .... just have them record that in the beginning of the season and then just keep looping that ... i think this will work .... forget biology ... u really should be a producer ... :P ...