Nice post Gen! I really liked your arguments about the hybrid of genres, balancing documentary and drama, and the more ‘authentic’ reality programs versus the highly produced ones. I definitely think its true that the appeal of shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Made in Chelsea is due to the dramatized situations they portray. It doesn’t matter that these shows don’t portray an absolutely genuine reality, because we know this is the case when we are watching them. Besides everyone needs some light hearted, trashy TV viewing every now and then! I also like your point “Without the realness, it becomes a lot of bad actors in poorly scripted scenarios. It’s a balancing act – encouraging drama, not creating it”. Yes we want to be entertained, but we also have to believe at least some of what we are seeing, otherwise it shouldn’t really be considered ‘reality TV’ at all.
I find the ethnocentrism argument a really interesting one, often something I too am left thinking. I also couldn’t stand Winter Sonata or Long Vacation, but was left wondering whether this was purely because the kinds of shows they were varied far to much from the ones I am used to in western culture. I too wonder if we watch these shows with a bias from the outset, with the mindset that American shows are superior and of higher quality, or whether its just due to largely differing tastes between Asian and Western culture. Perhaps people in Asian countries find some American dramas equally as cringe worthy? Interesting stories from Cambodia, particularly the Asian covers for western songs you came across. So perhaps this dislike of cultures isn’t reciprocal, with Asian cultures more willing to absorb our culture, then we are theirs?
I think you analysis of Peggy’s character is spot on in this post. Having looked at the scene with Peggy casting for the radio advertisement in depth, I completely agree about the themes of feminism and gender roles explored. It almost seems as if Peggy pities this girl, who is seemingly succeeding in life based on her looks, unlike Peggy, who has to make her way based on talent. Peggy certainly holds the reigns in this scene, evidence of her new found confidence in her role. The way Peggy berates Annie in this scene is perhaps also out of jealousy, for Peggy recently fat (not knowing she is pregnant), has completely let herself go, no longer making the effort to look nice for work. I agree with your point about Peggy’s rude awakening, upon discovering she is pregnant, leaving the audience wondering if her sudden rise in the workplace could be over thanks to her womanhood.