The dramaturgy of casting shows

How Shame Boundaries are Pushed to the Extreme

Reality TV has become an undeniable guilty pleasure for many viewers. From The Bachelor to Survivor, we love to watch the drama unfold before our eyes as participants compete against each other for a prize. However, have you ever stopped to consider how these reality shows influence the actions and behavior of the contestants, and how far they are willing to go to win? In this blog post, we will explore the dramaturgy of casting shows and how shame boundaries are pushed to the extreme.

Producers often strategically cast contestants to create conflict and tension and ensure that the show is entertaining. This means they seek participants who will go to any lengths to win, including lying, cheating, and manipulating their opponents. The contestants know this pressure and know they must perform to create interesting television. As a result, they become hyper-vigilant and begin to perform for the cameras.

Next, we must examine how the expectations of the contestants are manipulated through carefully crafted challenges and eliminations. Each challenge is designed to push the contestants to their physical and mental limits and test their abilities to work effectively as a team. The pressure to succeed in these challenges means contestants are likelier to push their shame boundaries and do whatever it takes to come out on top. Furthermore, the format of these shows means that contestants are constantly aware of the possibility of elimination. This increases the stakes and adds even more pressure for them to perform at their best.

As the competition progresses, the contestants become more emotionally invested in winning. At this point, the producers ramp up the drama by withholding information, creating false alliances, and introducing surprise twists. The contestants’ desperation to win means they are often willing to transgress their shame boundaries in the name of victory. As the pressure mounts, they may behave in ways they would not normally consider acceptable.

In addition to the pressure exerted by the producers and the competition format, the contestants may feel pressure from social norms and expectations. In many cases, the contestants know a wider audience, including friends, family, and viewers, are judging them. This can create additional pressure to conform to social expectations and to avoid any behaviors that may seem shameful or embarrassing. However, in the intense environment of a reality TV show, this pressure may be overridden by the desire to win and be seen as a winner.

Casting shows play with the expectations of their participants and drive them to permanently transgress their shame boundaries. Through the dramaturgy of these shows, the producers manipulate the contestants’ behavior and emotions in order to create an entertaining spectacle for the audience. As viewers, we must remember that the contestants are real people who are feeling real pressure to succeed. It is important to recognize the toll that this pressure can take on their mental health and well-being.

As writers, it is also important to reflect on the power dynamics at play in these shows, and to consider the moral and ethical implications of the entertainment we consume or produce, using such shows as location in our stories, especially when it comes to erotic stories in which shame is supposed to play a central role.

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