Within the myriad of “game shows, reality shows, crime series, and contestant based shows”, there is a trend which is becoming ever more annoying. This trend, is the trend of ‘suspense’. It is designed (I think this is the purpose) to keep us viewers on the edge of our seats for extended periods of time, but for me it is just an irritant.
If you, like me, are the sort of person who wants information given to me without any drama or delay, when the situation does not call for it, then you may also find this irritating, or at best downright annoying. I remember as a child I (or rather my parents) would watch Miss UK, and Miss World beauty contests, and I was often struck by the fact that there was always a drum roll before announcing each runner up and the winner. The drum was part of the occasion, and little more than adding to the announcement. But the delay went unnoticed because it was so short.
Nowadays, in a combination of: the advent of mass advertising, TV scheduling for this mass advertising, and the need for more innovative ways to capture our attention, the ‘suspense’ has now taken on a new form. It is now taken the form of not announcing the result, or whatever, until after the advertisement break. TV shows have long done this, but the announcer/presenter/host would no begin to give the result, but would say something along the lines of “We will be back after the break with the result of our….” this give the viewer no reason to stare at the TV until the program resumed.
Nowadays, the format is that they start to announce the result and just cut into the adverts without so much as a hint of warning. ‘IT IS NOT SUSPENSE’ it is annoying.
This clip from Masterchef USA demonstrates my message perfectly, although this is not seperated by a commerical break, it emphasizes the format of ‘suspense’ very well. Lots of conferring (even though they already know the result), lots of strained faces, and also faces filled with anticipation(many false and done for TV, in my view). The camera panning from face to face to add to the ‘suspense’
I fully understand suspense in movies, and in many other ‘real’ situations, but this unfortunately this type of ‘suspense’ has become the staple diet of people in the Western world, and is creeping into the Eastern world. Unfortunately, many of us ‘dummies’ (in which I include myself, as I have fallen prey to things like this before) are being consumed by these moments, which the media try to convince us are ‘so important’ to our lives, that shows like this, and many similar ones can be made, and will continue to be made for the foreseeable future. This another ingredient in the ‘distraction’ which is being manufactured around the world to keep us from focusing in the ‘bigger picture’