Monday, December 1, 2008

Paris Hilton's My New BFF Reality Show

The reality show I am examining: Paris Hilton’s My New BFF.

The show is around 42minutes without commercials and around 60minutes with commercials. Paris is a main character in the show as she gives tasks, chooses people for elimination, gives opinion on what is going on and participates in activities with the contestants. There are 18 contestants in the beginning from which 10 were picked by online voting and the rest were picked by the directors. When the show started there were 2 guys but all of them were eliminated when I watched an episode. The episode I chose to watch is “Vegas, Baby!” which is episode 6 of the show. The show has had one season so far and 10 episodes in total.
In the show there is not much going on as everyone leave for Las Vegas with Paris Hilton’s private jet. Everyone is so excited about flying “first class” as well as getting looks in vegas and staying in a penthouse in the Venetian hotel. The special attitude and great room is followed by party in club Tao, where they get a lot of alcohol and even after that they decide to visit the after party of a friend of Paris. The first task is assigned just 3 hours after they got back from the party and they are supposed to learn a dance and practice for performing the same night. After the practice they are rewarded to go to a spa where they can choose how to relax. Paris decides to go on the next challenge sending fake letters containing rumors to all girls and monitor how all of them react. At this challenge, Paris decides that Brittany did the best. The last fun task that the girls have after the nominations is to find a boy and bring it to the BFF mansion so the girls are ready for one more wild night in Vegas. The episode is presented in the ordinary expected format for the most reality show and Paris is talking in front of the camera laying, dressed with provocative clothing.

The show is put on air by MTV and is created by Riley McCormick. It is developed by Sally Ann Salsano as well it is directed by Jeanne Yugar. It is produced in USA and is expected to be continued by British show in the beginning of January. It is reality show and most of the characters have been selected by online voting.

The show targets teenagers and it is targeting mainly girls. Paris chose to start the show with two guys but they were soon kicked out of the show. The audience is clear as there are not many guys that would like to watch the problems of a dozen girls and their fighting. It is easy for young girls and teenagers to accept the ideas of partying, going after guys, being “cool”, having dancing competitions and gossip tests. Paris expresses her opinion of who would be the best fit of a best girlfriend for her. Many of the audience think that they need to be like her and they accept what they see in the show.
At the same time in episode 6 that I watched, the commercials are for the Venetian Hotel, Tao nightclub, Moet Champagne, Flamingo show in Las Vegas, Spa saloon. That shows who the show is targeted as well as it expresses who would be the audience that would like to consume these goods. It is usually 18 to 21 years old for the non-alcohol part and over 21 for the alcohol partying, clubs and others.

Paris Hilton’s My New BFF is a reality show that brings different opinion to everyone. I checked several online pages with online comments and thoughts on the show and there are people that adore both the show and Paris, as well as totally hate the show and think that it is dangerous for teenagers. As in other papers that are written on the topic of reality shows, I believe that this reality show bring a new definition of the ideal woman. (Banet-Weiser and Portwood-Stacer, 2006) It is not easy for me to say how this show affect younger girls but watching just one episode, I saw the idea that you have to be partying very hard, to be very skinny, to be able to manipulate men and when you are told to, to be able to bring a man home. The other issue that I found is that the girls are between 21 and 24 years old and they act in a way to be liked all the time in a way to be liked. They live in constant fear that they will not be able to make Paris to like their behavior and what they do. For their age, they are suppose to have built personality and to know who they are but we can see clearly that the girls are searching for approval from Paris and they are ready to do anything just to make her choose them as BFF. The next question is if it is possible to choose your friend in that way as Paris basically teaches them what she wants them to be.
The next major problem that I see is the representation of the femininity and the cultural performance of the girls that come all over from the USA. There are many times when on the show is said that the girls are from different parts of the USA. I believe that the main idea for repeating that is to show that it doesn’t matter in which state you are, you always want to be like Paris and be her friend. The difference in presentation of subjects in reality shows speaks respectively to the changing roles of media in the performance of beauty and the affiliation of many young women in the USA.( Banet-Weiser and Portwood-Stacer, 2006).
The show seems to be suitable for all ages but there is freely used the word “bitches” and that is how girls call each other in the show. At the same time words like “fuck” are removed with beeping sound. It is not only about the language used but the main goals in the show which could harm many children and teenagers and change their perspective of what are their main goals. It is possible that teenagers will decide to focus on partying and beauty instead of studying and educating themselves. That is because on the show, you can see that you can go to Vegas, party, use private jets and limos and there is no education needed for that. The separation between Paris Hilton’s everyday life and most of the teenager’s way of live is very different and it deceiving that some ordinary girl will be able to live in this illusion.
The last point is the one made in Banet-Weiser and Portwood-Stacer paper that beauty is what is valued and all ways to obtain it are right. Paris is deciding which girls are good, which are beautiful and the show brings a lot of psychological stress not only to the contestants but to the people that can see each other in some of the contestants. I believe that the show is ridiculous and the representation of the female beauty is not right. At the same time it doesn’t follow the real actions always but contestants express what is going on from their own perspective in front of the camera, which makes the show very biased.

Banet-Weiser and Portwood-Stacer, ‘I just want to be me again!’ Feminist Theory, Vol.
7, No. 2, 255-272 (2006)DOI: 10.1177/1464700106064423

1 comment:

Jason said...

This show was not developed by Sally Ann Salsano. You are confusing it with A Shot At Love or one of her many other shows. She has no affiliation with this show.