A derivative and offensive reality show that reinforces stereotypes in the name of trashy entertainment
One girl and a group of men are put in a Mexican villa for several weeks. Each week the men carry out tasks and spend time with the girl to get to know her. After each week she picks one of the men to leave until she is left with only one man as her partner and joint winner of the cash prize. However, some of the men are actually gay and the girl must weed them out and be left with the straight men to win meanwhile the gay men must "play it straight" and prevent themselves being eliminated from the game.
With yet another twist on the reality gameshow we find ourselves in a villa full of fit young men and one beautiful girl, all living together and pursuing one prize. As with every new twist on the reality genre, this takes another step down in moral values in the hope of drawing in a chattering audience who will gossip about it, make the tabloids run with it and glare over the "real" people in the show. That it could take a step down in such a puerile genre will be a surprise to people who have watched the genre pick over people's homes, diets, sexual activity and even their bodily waste and fluids; however this series manages it due to the message that it seems to be promoting and reinforcing views on sexuality that, if delivered in a different way, could be seen as offensive at best, homophobic at worst. You see, the girl has to get rid of the homosexuals and be left with a heterosexual to share the prize with and she has to guess the sexuality of the guys just by spending time with them, watching how they carry themselves and also how they perform in specific tasks. The suggestion is that the homosexuals are "lesser men" who will not be as manly in the tasks, will be the ones who groom themselves more, wear the "queerer" clothes and perhaps even mince about more than "normal" guys.
I'm not sure what the regular viewers of this show make of this, but I cannot shake this impression and I find it rather offensive. Because everyone seems to go along with it and the whole idea is presented as humorous rather than homophobic but it is in essence what it is. Do we need more shows that reinforce the stereotypes and clichés; this is not to say that they do not have some element of basis in reality but it is still demeaning to encourage the audience to judge sexuality on these grounds. Worst still is the fact that, as homosexuality continues to gain acceptance within society, this show forces the men back into the closet for some homosexuals that decision to come out is one that is fraught with challenges, homophobia and rejection; this show makes it so that the only way that a homosexual can win is if he successfully hides who he is. "It is only a game" the fans will cry but surely I am not the only one that finds this element offensive? Overall this is a typically lowbrow reality gameshow that Channel 4 has learnt will win an audience; however the feeling that it is yet another step down in the genre cannot be ignored. The reinforcing of sexual stereotyping is bad enough but the reversing of the act of "coming out" is a horrible thing to exploit in the name of entertainment. The fact that the contestants are pretty vacuous fame-seekers means that perhaps they deserve this treatment but it is still an inane and offensive show that would have even fans turning off in droves if they stopped to think for even a second.
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