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Of Peeping Toms & Tanyas

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Don't judge me, don't ask me why, but I recently started watching this show on Netflix called Dubai Bling. Half way through the most ridiculous first episode, I stopped and asked myself as to why I was doing this. There was a plethora of other content out there, but yet I decided to watch this one. Honestly, I was just curious and I thought it was about the magnificent city of Dubai. I do love watching documentaries on big cities, mega kitchens, crime, famous personalities etc.

Turns out, it is a reality show about a bunch of richie richs' of Dubai. A woman who lives pretty much in a palace, but wants to move to a bigger place due to lack of closet space. Her Indian husband smartly asks her to have another baby and expand the family before expanding the home. There is a female real estate Mogul who feels the need to repeat "I came to Dubai from Lebanon with $300 and I'm a millionaire today" time and again. She also happens to be the co-owner or something on the similar lines of the Versace Palazzo Hotel in Dubai. Then there is a young widow who is fresh on the dating scene and is ferried on to a hotel in a chopper and is still unimpressed. We also have an RJ who is a millionaire and happens to sell health products. I couldn't watch further and I just logged out.

Basically, these shows are all about commercializing the lives of the rich. So, the stinking rich are getting more richer by showing people what they are missing out on. Closer home, we have The Fabulous Lives Of Bollywood Wives (TFLOBW) and the most recent Moving In With Malaika (MIWM). I've watched both of them and I admit that it is entertaining in its own way. It is meaningless and stupid, not to mention overtly fake and yet it finds an audience. Big Boss (BB), I've never watched a single episode of this one, runs back to back seasons in pretty much all languages and industries. That is voyeurism at its peak and people have been indulging in it for decades now. Thanks to reading two newspapers everyday and following MissMalini on social media, I get all the updates of this show without watching it for a minute. This time they have a kid or an adult who looks like one and that just breaks my heart. That show is nothing but mockery of the human race.

I started watching the two shows that I've mentioned above just out of curiosity. I'm sure that's the reason most of them did too. How do the rich and famous(?) live? Is their life actually as fabulous as they make it out to be? I mean they are stinking rich, why wouldn't their life be fabulous right? If you have watched the shows you'll know that things aren't hunky-dory all the time. You might actually end up feeling genuine emotions for some of the people out there had the episodes not been so obviously scripted. 

MIWM felt like multiple episodes of Lakme, Lotus, Natural Diamonds, Dyson, Evocus and Happilo ads. I love Malaika. I think she's gorgeous and she's the benchmark of a fit woman for me. While her choices of clothing is questionable, it is her life and she does what she wants to. She's always been private when it came to her personal life, so I was interested to watch the show to see what goes behind the scenes in her life. Apart from the fact that she has serious problems with her sister (clearly the victim of the show), I learned nothing new. Even if there was a new side to her personality, it gets lost behind all those product placements.

TFLOBW was more a comic show than a reality one. That show thrives on one thing - vanity! What else would you expect from a KJo show? Most of the husbands of the said wives didn't even make it in Bollywood and some of them currently are not even their husbands, yet the show made it to two successful seasons. Body shaming, cosmetic correction, bullying, ostentatious holidays, extra drama for no reason is the USP of the show and it actually works. Throw in many celebrity cameos (ditto with MIWM) and you have a show that people wait to watch. I might have been rolling my eyes, laughing my a$$ off, or sighing before, after and during every episode; yet, I continued to watch it.

Why do you think we're so interested in peeping into the lives of other people? Especially those who don't even know that we exist.

Google 'Alternate Reality' and you will get the answer. Watching others live the life you might never have is a guilty pleasure. We try to live it vicariously knowing very well that it is not and will never be real. Also, we're an audience who enjoys making fun of people who can't hear us. We look at their lives and go thank God I'm not in his/her place, whilst secretly wishing a part of their life was yours. Probably watching their silliness and humiliation gives us some sadistic gratification as well. Because honestly, for a realistic like me, sympathy and empathy are the last things I would feel for them. Now that I think of it, I think I watch these shows so that I can write about it. Others do to talk about it.

While the singing and dancing reality shows set unrealistic expectations in normal families, these 'get a glimpse of my life' shows are outrageous and unrealistic. We know that. We obviously know that. Yet, we cannot stop peeping.

Comments

  1. I haven't watched Dubai bling. But yes I did watch Bollywood wives and Malaika one. I was nodding at everything you said about them. Don't know why we watch that rubbish but we do. Malaika one was so much about products, it was nauseous. Yes, her choice of clothes is so strange. Sometimes, I wonder if they are in touch with what is normal at all. Since their circle seems to be film folks only they all seem sort of weird. Yes, perhaps we want to see how these ultra rich and famous people live. That they are scripted is what we can see from a mile. I haven't watched Big Boss either.

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    1. Funny right why we watch these things. Malaika's show had so much potential, but it became something else.

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  2. I am sure I have not much to say on this. I read this post because I like the way you share your thoughts. The only show I tried to make it to more than 2 episodes was Selling Sunsets. Otherwise, I don't binge as much as I'd like to. Somehow Big Boss seems ridiculous and I don't even listen to related conversations. :) Like I said, I have nothing interesting to offer on this topic :)

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    1. You clearly don't have much to say here. Thank you for reading and commenting though.

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  3. First all stop being so apologetic for watching something that you found enjoyment in. Be yourself and do your thing. If you find pleasure in something the world has condemned as frivolous - so what? Go right ahead but please dont feel guilty about it. I love knowing you Soumya and you are far too precious to put yourself down. So Stop!

    I find watching such shows therapeutic as they make me laugh and also assure me that my life is fine. I mean I look upto Malaika for her lifestyle, body and the way she goes on through life. But when you see them doing such inane stuff which is actually pretty ridiculous, you tend to wonder if its all real. I havent watched the Malaika show yet but seen her on Bollywood Wives and that show is just too funny to be anything else. I hadnt expected quality content from such a show anyways. As you put it too, most of their husbands are who???? and not even their husbands now; so how exactly are they Bollywood Wives?

    It is sad that voyeurism is at a peak but then so is mental un-health. Social media is not helping either. So yes such shows will keep having an audience till the time we can get out of peeking into others lives to the extent of damaging our own.

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    1. No no I'm not being apologetic, I'm just questioning why I watched these shows. Thank you so much for your kind words <3

      Mental un-health, now that's a word!

      Thank you so much for your comment. Please leave your name next time :)

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  4. I tried to watch the Asian one with with Asian Americans ... although their wardrobe is dreamy, their life isn't. So much drama and backstabbing. Mai middle class hi theek hu. ☺️ there was one with rich mummies too. Omg, I watched a few episodes because how of ridiculous it was. Can you imagine buying a Range Rover as a push present. Also came to know about push present only in that series.

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    1. You made me google Push Present :D

      Middle class zindabad, trust me!

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  5. I have never watched any of these. I don't like to watch reality shows. More than a decade ago I had watched Splitsvilla and there ended my reality TV journey.
    I don't see anything wrong in enjoying these type content though. It's a personal choice, isn't it? I am a crime show junkie. After watching so many crime shows I feel I can be a forensic analyst now. :D

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