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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default The Game Show Derren Brown

    OK, so following on the heels of the show about the assasin, Brown produced a show in which an audience was given to believe they where part of a new reality game show, they where given masks to conceal their identity and voting devices and asked what outcomes they would want for the "contestant" an individual who they believed was being secretly filmed and who they could produce pleasant or unpleasant outcomes for by voting. A example being that going to a shop he could be the 1000th customer and be treated well and win a cash prize or be accused of shop lifting.

    The true nature of the experiment was like Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiment in which people where invited to follow the instruction of a "scientist", an authority figure or someone in that role, and administer increasing levels of painful electric shocks to test subjects, the test subjects where actors but given anonymity and sanction by authority most people did follow instructions without questioning the ethics or refusing to inflict pain.

    Well, Brown's show, what I watched of it because it began to disgust me and wasnt particularly entertaining, had the audience with a steady more or less 40/60 divide steadily voting for the nasty options. So the "contestant" (I'm not sure if he was an actor but I presume so) was accused of groping a lady in a bar, he was accosted by her boyfriend, he had a pitcher of vodka spilled on him, he was compelled to pay for drinks he hadnt bought, he was accused of shop lifting and arrested and all while someone searched his home, searched his internet history, searched his underwear drawer etc. etc. (at this point I switched over).

    Brown's point was about the loss of individuation, when people are in a group they are more inclined to behave as the group is, it was also about good and evil and the point seemed to be that people would be more inclined towards the one as the other.

    What does anyone think about this?

    On one level I wonder what Brown's doing, he published a book called Trick of The Mind, which along with a TV show on faith healers and tele-evangelists in the US undermined faith in religion or God (at least as much as Dawkins and others who I think he mentions in the book), now with the experiments it looks like he's moved on to challenging or undermining any faith their is in humanity too. This said David Blaine's book contains unexpected recommends of Ayn Rand and similar reading material too.

    On another level this is likely going to be treated as valid observation and experiment, which I feel is important too because one of the things which Brown mentioned about this kind of behaviour was its parallels with internet and online bullying, not just among adolescents and children but adults. The people in the studio where acting like trolls.

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    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    Were the people in the audience voting on their own free will (for the nasty option) or was someone telling them what to vote?

    Was this real-time? I mean, did the audience vote, then get to see the 'reality' play out on screen?

    Sorry for the questions. I'm a bit puzzled about how this would make for a fun tv show?
    4w5 sp/sx EII

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    Were the people in the audience voting on their own free will (for the nasty option) or was someone telling them what to vote?

    Was this real-time? I mean, did the audience vote, then get to see the 'reality' play out on screen?

    Sorry for the questions. I'm a bit puzzled about how this would make for a fun tv show?
    They where given options and no direction as to what way to vote, so it would be "OK they are leaving the bar, they are going to the shop to get beers and go to so and so's house, do you want him to be the 1000th customer and win money or be accused of shop lifting?" and a camera feed showed the shop with the people dressed like they where going to give him a prize (so there was even a visual que to "do good") then they voted and the result was negative, so they then filmed and broadcast to the audience the "contestant" going into the shop and his friends and the shop people setting him up for the arrest.

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    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    I see. Most reality shows are trashy anyway, so I think people think it will be more entertaining to see bad things happen to the actor. To me it sounds kinda like those 'choose your own adventure' children books. Like when you fill in mad libs you just go for the most ridiculous things you can think of because it's funnier that way.

    However, it would be interesting if the actor portrayed real pain (being upset, crying, etc.) and the audience still voted for bad things to happen. I don't know. I just have a feeling that the audience might not have been convinced that the 'reality' was 'real'. (Like, you can't really get arrested on reality tv, right? And if it is real, the cops will certainly not let you continue filming.)

    That said, I despise a lot of MTV prank shows. I find them incredibly mean-spirited and definitely not suited for young people (or anyone, for that matter).
    4w5 sp/sx EII

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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    I see. Most reality shows are trashy anyway, so I think people think it will be more entertaining to see bad things happen to the actor. To me it sounds kinda like those 'choose your own adventure' children books. Like when you fill in mad libs you just go for the most ridiculous things you can think of because it's funnier that way.

    However, it would be interesting if the actor portrayed real pain (being upset, crying, etc.) and the audience still voted for bad things to happen. I don't know. I just have a feeling that the audience might not have been convinced that the 'reality' was 'real'. (Like, you can't really get arrested on reality tv, right? And if it is real, the cops will certainly not let you continue filming.)

    That said, I despise a lot of MTV prank shows. I find them incredibly mean-spirited and definitely not suited for young people (or anyone, for that matter).
    Well, the audience didnt know it was an actor, a lot of time was invested in making them believe that the contestant didnt know he was being filmed or subject to anything unusual and while the arrest was obviously phony and Brown explained that the "police" would be called to "an emergency" that they would "caution" the contestant before releasing him. If he was an actor, I dont know, I didnt keep watching, he did a good job of appearing disturbed by everything going on.

    The people who where in other roles, ie his girlfriend was in the "studio" and rang him to tell him he was sacked at work, the shop hands who had to put away the paper hats and party poppers and set up the sting, the producer rumaging around his house, all did convincing jobs of not liking the voted for negatives.

    To me it sort of illustrated well the sorts of bullying and trolling behaviour people perform believing that its not real and inconsequential, dismissing or minimising any indicator or pain involved in their behaviour's outcomes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Well, the audience didnt know it was an actor, a lot of time was invested in making them believe that the contestant didnt know he was being filmed or subject to anything unusual and while the arrest was obviously phony and Brown explained that the "police" would be called to "an emergency" that they would "caution" the contestant before releasing him. If he was an actor, I dont know, I didnt keep watching, he did a good job of appearing disturbed by everything going on.

    The people who where in other roles, ie his girlfriend was in the "studio" and rang him to tell him he was sacked at work, the shop hands who had to put away the paper hats and party poppers and set up the sting, the producer rumaging around his house, all did convincing jobs of not liking the voted for negatives.

    To me it sort of illustrated well the sorts of bullying and trolling behaviour people perform believing that its not real and inconsequential, dismissing or minimising any indicator or pain involved in their behaviour's outcomes.
    Thanks for the extra info. I've finally formed an opinion on the matter. I'm not at all familiar with Derren Brown and his reality shows, but from what I've heard, it seems like he's not really trying to conduct a study on or prove anything. He is just trying to make a statement about how humans are stupid and cruel. This would explain my qualms when I first heard about his assassin 'experiment'. At the time I felt there was something not right about it, but couldn't pinpoint why.

    He's probably making a lot of money out of this whole business, and it's a bit disturbing to think that he's making money off what he seems to consider the stupid, ugly general mass. For some reason, it almost feels like exploitation.

    Maybe I'm over-reacting a little bit, especially when I have so little knowledge on the subject. Heh.. feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
    4w5 sp/sx EII

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