I was watching The Amazing Race (7) on tv last night, the racers were in Lucknow. What gets my goat everytime is the fact that whenever India is shown on Western channels (From Agra in TAR1 through Bombay, Calcutta, Kerala, Rajasthan, … hmm they seem to have come here lots of times), they show what we’d call the seedier and rather obscure parts of India, with cows and humans as far as the eye can see.
So, from watching so much of TAR, I’ve formulated these rules of reality programming- TAR in India style.
- Thou shalt pick the poorest, shabbiest, most unclean parts of the city you visit, whether it be Calcutta or Delhi or Jodhpur.
- Thou shalt set for the contestants will involve any or all of the following a) A temple b) A palace c) An elephant d) A cycle/autorickshaw e) a LONG train ride in 2nd Class (after all, a ticket for A/c cars costs SO much when converted into dollars, right?)
- Approved TAR quotes include “These poor people have so less, I feel so helpless”, “Look at these pretty sunglasses, children”,”I can’t understand what they are saying.” (Damn foreigners!), “Juldi, Juldi”, “No, *** rupees” (Insert amount), “It’s so crowded” (Uhm, yeah, second most populous country in the world… HULLO?), “Ahh, they’re driving on the wrong side of the road..” I must say, yesterday had THE funniest quote I’ve ever heard when TAR racers came to India… They were in cyclerickshaws in Lucknow, and two guys were in a rickshaw in front and waving back at a couple of racers. The old woman looked at her husband and said, “Aww, that’s so sweet, I am sure they are gay.”
Evidently, they don’t know that men holding hands in India is considered a sign of FRIENDSHIP, no matter how much most girls laugh at it. Now, if that had been a guy and girl in the ricksahw… THAT would have been cause for comment.
Speaking of which, most reality shows seem to operate on these principles – 1) token gay 2) token black 3) token insert ethnic minority group and most of them seem to have exciting careers as actor/model/bartender, or model/cheerleader/lap dancer. The best one to date has been one this TAR, Team is dating, The guy’s a consultant/POW and the female is ex-beauty pageant winner.. Okay, Let’s give it up for the media whores here, thank you very much.
- All Indians speak English like Apu in The Simpsons.
- Any shops visited shalt be dark, dingy and have a faint trace of the neighbourhood chaikada.
- The episode shalt contain clippings wherein contestants confess how lucky they’re American.
You know what, we’re lucky you’re American too….