If you have read my contributions before, you probably have detected a slight bit of contempt for most reality television shows, not all. The problem that I have with reality television is that far too often to highlights the darkness and base nature of humanity. It does not demand anything of us. It dumbs us down and desensitizes us to some harsh realities that we have the power to change. Because I don’t allow those shows to be viewed in my home, their existence is mostly a cultural annoyance; however, many people are being unwittingly influenced by the content of those shows.
Well, it seems that my favorite streaming company, Netflix, has decided to take the reality television model to an entirely different level. The network has unveiled the concept of a new reality show called “The Push.” It appears that the primary goal of this show is to determine if social pressure can convince someone to commit murder. The idea behind the concept is that underneath we are all weak and we all have a dark side. I definitely agree and reality television has been used as a tool to search the depths of these two characteristics simultaneously.
The title, The Push, is extracted from the idea that the show is designed to push people beyond the boundaries of human frailty. The truth is that with the right amount of pressure in the right situation, anyone will kill, but there are a lot of variables that must fall into place. Obviously, a person’s norms and standards — the parameters of their character values that establish their conscience — will play a role in establishing the line that must be reached before murder becomes an option.
The cultural and environmental paradigms that play an essential role in governing an individuals behavior is also key in dictating extreme behavior. This is supposed to select an ordinary member of society to see if they can be pressured or manipulated into committing murder. I would suggest that the person selected was not chosen randomly, but based on a number of factors, including the ones listed above.
Proponents of this show will quickly point out that the murder will not be real, but they do not understand is that while no one will die, the act that is committed is very real to the person who is committing it. At the point they take action to take the life of another and believe that they have succeeded, the act becomes real to them. What happens to a person who becomes a murderer on a subconscious level? How much will it take for them to get to that point again? Remember, the first time is always the most difficult.
Will this show be unwittingly creating murderers and unleashing them on society? I know, I know, I am being overly dramatic. Basically, a bunch of actors take on real roles in the life of the subject and create a controlled reality with the intent of driving them to the point of committing murder. With the current state of society, there are a bunch of people on the edge of committing murder and it would take much to push them over the edge.