Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Selling Yourself

There's a programme on Five that seems to bring a tiny bit of realism to the vacuum notion of reality TV. I was robotically prodding my remote control when I suddenly spotted a scene far too familiar with my recent existence: a desperate-to-impress twenty-something in front of a power-trip-fuelled interview panel. Although heavily edited, "Selling Yourself" is a household scenario for all of us, the generation of zombified debt-ridden graduates making up the hordes of delusional employees stuck in dead-end jobs. The noughts' equivalent of the early-80s "gissa job" flock.

In a kind of context not too dissimilar to the "X-Factor", five candidates take up a battery of nerve-racking tests and interrogations after which only one survivor will land their dream job. Granted the panel have been taking a tip or two from the world of routine cowellite nastiness, yet for once there's a programme that strikes a chord with what goes on in real life. And the process of applying for a job, as you volunteer to have your face, body language and mannerism judged by total strangers with their arse warm is, alas, cruel and real enough to make towards some dramatic reality television.

Now all it takes is some producer out there having the guts to come up with a "Call-centre Island" or "Temping Idol" and justice will be done. Reality TV will have finally found its purpose, away from the useless (and unentertaining, if anything) alice in wonderland gloss of "Celebrity Love Island" and the rest. "Selling Yourself" is the first step.

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