Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reality TV Confessions: I watch 13-Fear is Real

Yes, I admit it. I'm a pathetic human being. I've actually been watching the reality TV show 13-Fear is Real. I even DVR'd it - well, I had to, to watch it. But I made sure to do it so I didn't miss it.

Why do I watch it? That is an interesting question. I have enjoyed other reality TV shows, like Survivor - which I try to watch every season. But this one reminds me of a show that I think was on MTV or some channel like that some time back where people would stay in allegedly haunted places and then they'd wear harnesses with cameras on them and go and do "dares" or something silly like that. I liked that show, too. I liked that one probably a bit more than this new one, but this one has its charms as well.

It is cheesy, with a nice altered voice for the "mastermind" or whatever they call the guy (gal?) who gives them their challenges. The camera work is kinda cheesy and there is less sense of peril than with the earlier ghost show I saw (can anyone remember the name of that one??) But that is probably because they have camera people, whereas in that earlier show, the only camera was on a harness or in the walls, so you knew the person was totally alone.

The basic premise is, there are 13 contestants starting off. They are driven into the woods in the swamp to a crappy house, where they are dropped off to stay at night. Of course, it is creepy, with voodoo dolls and statanic looking things on the walls. They are given challenges to do, with the two losers going to the "execution ceremony" - where only one can survive. The first such challenge had the two losers buried alive in coffins and then the first one who managed to break out and get out won. Later challenges tended to have some variation of being tied up and having to escape. Once was with a cage filled with rats on each person's face (which pops open after a while), another one involved both being at the stake, surrounded by flames. Another one had a pendulum blade moving ever closer. One interesting challenge involved being out at night, in pairs, in a sinking boat, bailing water to avoid going into the crocodile invested water. Oh, and there were snakes in each boat.

The contestants are 20-somethings, I'm sure picked for looking good on television. One of the more colorful characters is a guy whose profession is listed as "ghost hunter." He is so into it, making him fun to watch. There's not a skeptical one amongst them, from what they've shown. But no one seems to really think they've seen any ghosts. They know it is a game.

There is a "death box" that one person can get in secret to then use to "murder" three other players. It can only be used in secret - if someone sees you, then the "killer" is killed off. So far, only one person was killed that way, and then the "killer" was eliminated in an "execution ceremony".

So yes, it is cheesy, no there's not much redeeming value in watching it, and yes, I enjoy watching it, though admitedly not as much as Survivor. But then, it isn't like "House" is teaching me anything either, though I love it. Entertainment is entertainment.

When I was younger, socially awkward, and a total nerd, I worried about admitting liking things that were not socially acceptable. Now I'm older, socially awkward, and a total nerd, and I don't give a shit about admitting what I like. There's something liberating in that. So now I proudly proclaim: I am watching 13: Fear is Real, and I quite enjoy it.

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