Sunday, 25 October 2009



How difficult is to satirise the reality show? Whatever the spoofers come up with, some ratings-hungry executive has conceived something worse. This week's Have I Got News For You featured a Japanese show of the Candid Camera ilk which simulated a sniper attack erupting around a hapless stooge, to the delight of the studio audience. I've no idea what the contestants on I'm A Celebrity have to do - I don't watch it - but I'm led to believe that bits of it include eating body parts of kangaroos. (Then again, I'm led to believe that the contestants are actually famous for something or other, but let that pass.)

Live! is a mockumentary detailing a reality show in which six volunteers play Russian Roulette for real on live network television; the only difference between this and regular R.R. is that they're not allowed to spin the barrel. Following the programme's development from offhand conversational remark through to spectacular broadcast under the guiding hand of heartless genius Eva Mendes, it's quite an amusing little film even though we know that such a show could never, ever be broadcast anywhere in the civilised (or even the uncivilised) world. The format doesn't take account of all outcomes: what happens if the first shot is the killer - how do they fill the remainder of their timeslot? Or worse, given the no-spin rule, what happens if the first five are duds - do they still make the sixth guy pull the trigger knowing that it's the live bullet?

There are some effective little touches in Live!, such as the videos showcasing the contestants which veer between nice little character pieces and hideously manipulative sobfests. Sometimes, though, it doesn't really have much to say, and opts for padding about the "director" of the "documentary" instead. It's not great, but it's worth a look.


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