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Dating shows on TV?

Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008

Are crass dating shows on television adversely affecting the youth? Poonam Jain tries to find out

What are the effects of reality dating shows like ‘Meet or Delete’, or the other latest mind-numbing offering like ‘Splitsvilla’, both of which run on MTV? Is it some new format in courtship comedy? Clawing women clambering for mediocre dudes – feminist would sure send all of them to hell. Words like “being dumped” fly across national television into homes where the core target group is 18-21 year olds, and 15 year olds in metros. Just the right impressionable age to learn – ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’?!
What is it?

Speaking about these dating shows on MTV, Ashish Patil, Vice-president and GM, creative and content, MTV India, says, “Splitsvilla is competitive and has elements of love, betrayal and survival, set against the backdrop of romance.” But do serials like these have undertones of courtship violence? Do they sow the seeds of fighting for ones mates and dying unto death to keep them?
“Shows like these open to youths the idea to courtship violence – to become the perpetrator and the perpetrated,” believes Sai Prasanna, a scribe with a private media firm. “Both these shows portray women and generally the youth in an unfavourable light, doing meaningless tasks, creating uncertainty and is generally about the attitude towards losing sexual morality,” she says. Christain Chandra, Senior-Advisory - Sustainability Services, KPMG, thinks these shows raise a huge debate about absolute love versus relative love in these young minds. He says, “Reality dating shows messes ones perceptions of romance and love. Youths tend to lay more emphasis on physical and external attributes. It also sets high expectations and all want to become high performers, laced with negative connotations to competition. These shows only seek to promote unhealthy attitude to love and romance.”
Adverse affects?
Do shows like these have an adverse effect on youths? Just the amount of attention these show receives is an indication of the degradation of our educational system - which while teaching kids to excel, forgets to mention the value of ethos, ethics and culture. However, on a positive note, these shows also represent the struggle of youth to break free of the conformity and go after their heart's longings without any obligation,” explains Harish Thota, Content Writer, Accenture.   
Increasingly, these shows bring the notion that dating is cool. “Dating is increasingly being seen as a form of keeping oneself entertained, forgetting the real essence – which is to actually find love,” says Mamta Todi, copy writer with an advertising agency. With hundred channel availability the content availability is diverse.

What people say?
Shubha S, a writer, believes, “I think today youngsters are exposed to a number of mediums and a variety of content, and just dating shows don’t make all the difference.” Shilpa Bansal, senior copy editor, echoes in the same vein. She says, “I don't really think it has any adverse effect because most youngsters are pretty sensible and don’t get carried away with something so vague.”
But Sabs Nair, working as a brand promoter with a media firm, still believes in the negative effects these shows are having. “These shows are bringing about huge shift in the thinking process. It acts as a catalyst to promote jealousy and intolerance. It kills the whole essence of love,” he says. Alistair Dsouza, working as a GPS Engineer, says, “A show like this gets the youth to make judgements based on superficial aspects and to top it all - in the shortest possible time. They go overboard trying to impress in the short time allotted by the television – and that’s the message the young audience takes. A kind of race against time,” he concludes.


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