Date My Family is losing credibility

I have said before on this platform that social media is killing authenticity and the credibility of our entertainment industry. The latest public revelations from one 'bachelor' who appeared on Date My Family recently has tossed the lit off the sinister motives behind dating shows. 

A broader conversation around how the need to trend on social media has eroded the principle of authenticity and credibility ought to happen because the problem is a rot that has permeated all genres of the broadcast industry. However, for this post I would like to just focus only on dating shows. 

It would be naive for anyone to expect that everything they see on so called reality shows is actual reality but there is still a modicum of trust that the audience has with dating shows in that they expect that the people chosen to be on these shows do so to find a partner. 

With television producers now looking to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for validation of being part of the current pop culture and simply just going there for content, it was only a matter of time before the sinister elements would find a platform on the medium. 

This is where we are now with shows like Date My Family, Uyang'thanda Na and Dinner Date SA. As the genre of dating and relationship shows become popular so too does the need for attention seekers and 15min of fame seekers to exploit it. 

It has become evident that, while the initial concept of Date My Family was to help people find love, now the show has been reduced to nothing but a platform for people who just want to be on TV or be a trending topic on social media. 

What of more concern for me is how the producers and broadcast channels of said shows do not seem to care about doing some thorough vetting of these people before they put them on camera. It would be easy just to paint these people as being "thirsty" for some fame but this blatant disregard for authenticity does put a negative label on the production teams of these shows. 

When participants can just blatantly and publicly proclaim that they were just on the show for 'exposure', when participants are exposed as not being as single as they claim and when participants say they exaggerated things for the cameras, that does not boast well for the credibility of the show and its research staff. 

Thabiso, a participant in a recent episode just did an interview with TshisaLive posted today on their website where he reportedly said; 

“I did it more for the experience honestly... even though I had a stint of hope that I’ll find someone I could vibe with. Also I wanted to get some idea of the world of television which at the time I wanted to venture into‚”
And he is not the only one. I have it on good authority that majority of the people who appear on Date My Family never meet again beyond the taping of their episode. I have also directly heard it from one guy who was on a show, who also happens to be a DJ at a University radio station and has aspirations to go to a bigger station, that he too just went on the show to get more followers and expose people to what he does for a living. 

Unfortunately, I stopped taking the show seriously a long time ago when I saw a guy I knew to be gay, suddenly on one of these shows, looking for a girlfriend. 

It is unfortunate that audiences are being duped for content. Perhaps the producers have good intentions and get tricked by these participant but due diligence would make such incidents avoidable — but it is more likely that the producers don't care. 

Hell even Idols SA, The Voice SA and these other talent search shows are all about making tv and nothing else. They don't care about whether these people who win actually have careers beyond being on the show. 

With more and more producers looking to trend on social media, we are in for a future of more mediocrity and phony scripted "reality" shows. This is not unique to SA, it happens all over the world but Hollywood can live with fake content because at-least they have a huge industry that can accommodate the balance between serious creative content and fluff. We don't. As it is this social media driven content is beginning to dominate the industry — you see it in our drama series, soapies and variety shows. 

Gone are the days of talent, original concepts and sound creative content. Today its; will it trend, how many followers do you have, etc.  

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