Reality TV in a War Zone

Curator's Note

I consistently struggle with the concept of hybridity when we hit the section on global television formats in my senior seminar. It often becomes the "happy place" where tensions are resolved between local cultural representations and the structural interests of transnational media conglomerates. I always feel like the spoilsport when I suggest that there is little to distinguish Canadian Idol from American Idol, except for the lack of a Simon Cowell presence (and, therefore, any dramatic tension) in the former. This clip of Iraq’s, Labour and Materials, reminded me that local producers cannot only defy the homogenizing potential of the genre’s narrative constraints but also that popular formats retain the potential to advocate social change. The program epitomizes the ways in which the local is inextricably tied to global forces of militarism, sectarian conflict, and the quest for capital. It’s definitely not Extreme Makeover brought to us by Home Depot. The clip is from the documentary TV Iraqi Style by Britain’s Channel 4. Here we also learn that Iraqi Star (based on Pop Idol) is not only about launching the next national singing sensation but also a means of recreating the archive of traditional music that was lost to bombings in the war. This may be a liminal moment in Iraqi broadcasting, where we see producers stepping into the political vacuum created by an occupying force and unstable government. It also raises issues beyond the Iraqi context. What does this tell us about television formats in Canada and the United States? Is the current system so entrenched that television, in general, may be limited to ironic critique? Perhaps, as a pedagogical exercise, I should ask my class if they could even imagine Extreme Makeover: Inner City Edition?


Yes, this is clearly one of

Yes, this is clearly one of the best non conformist television reality programs out there. It is great to see that while shows like Americam or Pop Idol are gaining worldwide popularity and being copied simply by changing the name of the show to the local name, there are those who acknowledge that there is a great need for “real” shows about real issues throughtout the world. Learning that the program will not contain the same unimportant entertainment as most programs, it is with great admiration that we learn that the show will provide a need for social change among Iraq-or at least try to bring some kind of social change to a forgotten people.

I don't really think any

I don’t really think any blame or anything can be placed on Iraq for a reality show like this. Because what is a reality show ? It is dealing with people and their actual lives. And in Iraq this is what people are dealing with, bombings and war. So when they are choosing houses to makever, why not a house that has been bombed ?

This show reminds me of

This show reminds me of Extreme Makeover Home Edition in the U.S. I am constantly touched by the generosity of the people that come out and help these people that really could use the help. This is in no comparison with the reality shows that give a million dollars cash prize away to people that actually are living quite well if compared to others. There is reality TV that is strictly for entertainment purposes that really don’t educate anybody and there is reality TV that promotes change in someone’s life and in the world and this show in Iraq is one of them. The fact that the show in Iraq is not only rebuilding homes that were hit by bombs due to the War is good because people need to see the condition that a lot of Iraqis are living every day. Every state should film the horrible conditions that people are living in so that someone will take action and change things. The only way is to bring awareness and the more awareness the better. This is true REALITY!

Reality TV in the U.S. and

Reality TV in the U.S. and Canada obviously have a different objective than that of the Iraqui show. Most of the reality TV in the U.S. has one main purpose, which is entertaining and making a profit. The Iraqui show seems to want to uplift or empower Iraqui nationalism. They have taken the reality TV, made it serve as a tool to show different images of themselves. They are showing their humanity and how the war affects many innocent people in their country. It exciting to see that reality TV has the potential to open up the eyes of people that are constantly bombarded with negative images of a nation.

This clip was very

This clip was very interesting. Im glad that the Iraqi people took an idea from Home Makeover here in the US and put it to a very good cause. It shows that the Iraqi people are uniting to help their community through reality TV. The stories on the US edition of Extreme Home Makeover are sad. This new Iraqi show shows that the world can us American TV shows and put it to good use in their communities.

This can definetly be seen

This can definetly be seen as a uniting force for the Iraqi nation. Reality television in this sense is actually “reality” like Corina commented on- real people struggling in a time of war. The content is much deeper and authentic than most American reality shows. Taking a global genre like this and applying it locally- specifically targeting the needs of the people of Iraq will hopefully have a strong influence on other countries. I would have loved to see a televison show that focused and helped all the Hurrican Katrina victims who lost their home.

The clip of the Reality TV

The clip of the Reality TV in a War Zone is very interesting. Not only does this focus on the “real” Iraq cultural, but it also teach us a lesson. In watching the clip, I found it interesting that the female was skeptical about taking the offer; however, she does show how the cultural really is. When she tries to restore the destroyed neighborhood, it seems as if she is enjoys helping out the community. As the audience takes a tour of the community, we actually witness what and how the community looks. Although there are images on television that the media portray, we are not certain that these images reveal everything. I feel that the idea of a reality television show for the war zone can be helpful and harmful. This show can help individual see what actually occurs in Iraq globally, however, it can be harmful for those who are exposed in such living conditions. Overall, I feel that there are advantages and disadvantages to the reality show.

This concept of having a

This concept of having a Reality TV in a War Zone in Iraq is much different than the type of Reality TV shows that are aired here in the U.S. In the U.S. most of the reality shows are solely created to gain higher ratings and for financial purposes. This show in Iraq seems to approach their reality programming for a much better cause, perhaps to show their nationalistic pride and help out the communities that have been devastated by the war. These Iraqi civilians are actually living this “reality,” unlike the American reality shows that are targetted and heavily edited to meet the demands of a specific audience. Whereas, this show is targetted for everybody in Iraq because of the situation they are currently in. Moreover, in a way, this show does kind of reflect the American reality TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” In which, this show did use some of the conventional approaches such as helping out the people who have been affected the most, showing their emotional emotional response, all in order to bring the people together.


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