Reality TV

Reality TV when the Rubber Meets the Road-Justin.tv An Internet Phenomenon

A camera zooms past some well tended plants, past the well lit exterior of a mansion, and into a well lit glass “closet.” All we hear is a muffled shriek of frustration. Tears dribble down a young woman’s face as she sobs into the phone over the “stupidity” of all the other people she lives with. Something tells us that this may not be “reality” as we know it. Many of us had our share of reality shows such as “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and the countless other spinoffs that pose to be reality shows, but are in essence the concoction of media giants having meticulously designed scripts and editing. Nowadays, the reality show furvor has subsided as fast as we could say “you are voted off the island.”

How then has the recent video account of one typical, tech entrepreneur enflamed viewership upwards of ten thousand people at one time? Especially when this person’s life is utterly “normal,” completely unedited and unscripted, filmed for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week? Justin.tv is a new internet reality TV show that documents the life of Justin Kan for a full 24 hour day. The show differs from previous attempts at reality tv because there is no show editing and the mounted camera on his head enabling anyone to take a look at what is going on in this person’s life at any one time, even while he is sleeping or going to the bathroom. Recent archived clips show Justin talking with friends, eating, or doing mundane tasks like cleaning up empty cans after a party. Why would anyone want to watch someone else’s life when he has his own to live? A recent slogan for the website says it all: “Waste Time Watching Other People Waste Time.”

Kan is the new internet phenomenon and justin.tv a new chat room hub, with people watching the website even while Justin is sleeping for hours at a time. Not all are so patient, however. Much of justin.tv ‘s fame has been fueled by pranksters changing caller ID through their computers to call 9-1-1 on his apartment through his phone, prompting police to burst in the investigate the alleged stabbing. Another time a fire was reported, but the fire trucks were not caught on camera. Now Justin’s telephone number is listed as a potential prank number so that law enforcement confirms if there really is a fire or a crime before dispatching to this phone number. Another prank included ordering 63 dollars worth of pizza hot to his front door.

Other ways to add some spice to Justin’s life to entertain fans is to have “auctions.” For example, a recent bid said that if the website recieved 100 emails within the next 20 minutes, people would jump into a pool fully clothed. The site had 300 emails quite quickly. Other bids include bids for blind dates and an open forum for suggesting Justin to do fan’s requests. Is justin.tv slowly turning from the everyday life phenomenon that made the site famous into the trite “reality” shows on televison that has lost its sense of reality? Tune in to justin.tv to find out for yourself, just be sure its not when Justin is peeing.