Cool Blog Name to Come

On reality TV, it’s all about the reveal

- July 10th, 2014

The reveal is a reality-show staple that has become an enduring television convention for one main reason: It reaffirms our faith that change is possible.

Even if you’re only a casual TV viewer, odds are you’ve seen many such moments.

The reveal is the scene at the end of the program when the results of all of the hard work of the previous 30 or 60 minutes are unveiled.

It is, to borrow a term from pornography that got absorbed into the mainstream lexicon long ago, the money shot.

At one time, say the mid-1990s, reveals were the preserve of makeover episodes of daily talk shows. Oprah Winfrey and her imitators did them. Then producers clued in: Audiences love them.

Now they’re everywhere.

A fixer-upper home undergoes renovations. A hoarder’s stash is removed. An unhealthy schlub loses a life-changing amount of weight. A Plain Jane is reintroduced to the world as a stone-cold fox. We watch them all, riveted.

Reveals are the reason why the word “transformation” gets thrown around a lot on TV.

You see, nothing changes a little bit anymore on the small screen. The entire basis of reality TV is manufactured drama and no drama is more manufactured than a reveal.

Typically, the participants lose their minds. Mouths gape. Gasps abound. Tears are shed. The host stands ready to catch those who might faint from sheer joy while the omnipresent cameras capture it all.

The reveal is a happy occasion.

The typical episode of a series like Property Brothers, How to Look Good Naked, or Disaster Decks works entirely toward the reveal.

The reveal seems familiar and comfortable since it harkens back to a time when we all still believed in the “Before” and “After” shots in magazine ads.

Watching reality TV, you might wonder why everyone says home renovations are such a big deal. Judging by a network such as HGTV, a renovation is a relatively straightforward process that takes at most an hour.

Oh sure, there are bumps along the way and moments of drama, but as the reveal approaches we know an undeniably happy ending is in the making.

If film is a director’s medium and television is a writer’s medium, then reality TV is an editor’s medium. Just count the number of cuts on any reality show. And look at how much they love time-lapse photography. Clouds billow. Busy streets pulse with the blurry headlights of traffic. The moon waxes and wanes. Time is passing. Change is coming.

Change in the real world is hard. However, on TV it’s a guarantee.

No state of being is permanent on reality shows. Everyone can change, evolve and grow with the right tools and encouragement.

You can be a better you.

In fact, reveals are so popular, it won’t be long until some smart producer comes up with a show that is nothing but reveal after reveal.

It sounds preposterous today, but at one time so did the notion of a series about weight loss.

Who would ever want to watch a weekly series about a bunch of fat losers exercising and eating right?

Categories: News

Subscribe to the post

1 comment

  1. gary4567 says:

    All the shows you mentioned have played a huge role in the social re-engineering of Western society. It is Idiocracy becoming reality.

Leave a comment

 characters available