Reality shows (séries générales LV2)

icône de pdf
Unit 1 - | Corpus Sujets - 1 Sujet Reality shows  

Séries générales • LV2



Mythes et héros



France métropolitaine • Juin 2013

Séries générales • LV2

Text 1

The Great Escape

‘The Great Escape’ on TNT features teams competing for a cash prize in an hour-long episode.

One could try to avoid comparing TNT’s new reality show “The Great Escape” with CBS’ long-running and perpetually Emmy-­winning reality show “The Amazing Race,” but why Especially when the similarities and differences are so readily apparent.

In “The Amazing Race,” 11 teams of two travel around the world chasing clues and fighting off elimination in hour-long episodes until the finale where three teams compete for the 1,000,000 grand prize. Meanwhile, in “The Great Escape,” three pairs of contestants spend an hour-long episode chasing clues and evading capture as they frantically labor to escape from some labyrinthine site in order to win 100,000. […]

Yes, the prize is smaller, but even though most of us do not have the time, or the endurance, for a weeks-long, continents-wide race, we could all give up a day or so to participate in a super-cool treasure hunt.

In the second episode, […] the activities were more demanding and a bit more extreme – contestants had to tolerate cold water and rappel from lofty heights. Though the more timid among us might have hesitated, it was great fun to watch a father and daughter try to not just win but keep their relationship intact while doing so.

The show’s episodic nature, however, limits the attachment viewers can form for the teams (and also, mercifully, the level of celebrity these folks can later attain). But there is something to be said for brevity – unlike many competitive reality shows, “The Great Escape” doesn’t take itself too seriously. The contestants are playing a game, not transforming themselves as human beings.

Mary McNamara, in Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2012.

Text 2

The last contestant

– That’s the stuff, Marley!

Marley did not know why he had started talking like this to himself, since he had never been anywhere near the Army. But he remembered when the voice had begun. It had suddenly come to him, out of nowhere at the end of the first week, after his seventh unbearable, sleepless vigil in the forest (the days were horrendous, but the nights beggared belief), when he had been on the verge of quickly giving up on the chance of winning Brit Pluck1, Green Hell, Two Million. That morning, the helicopters had come down to offer the six contestants for the first time the (of course) dramatically televised and (naturally) well-strung-out choice: were they really going to stay for another week in the soaking, sauna-hot, pitch-black forest […] Or would they choose instead to fly straight off home, to warmth, sanity, medical care and the consolation of many tabloid interviews Marley had hesitated, pen in sweating hand, as he looked at the legal waiver2 which they all had to re-sign each week, before the helicopters left them here again. Live in front of the cameras, he had almost cracked. […]

One by one, his rivals had given up, their greed for money and their lust for that modern sainthood, media fame, giving way under the unspeakable, crawling, winged nightmare of the rainforest. Each had at last taken the helicopter out in a state of total mental and physical collapse (great telly!)3. […]

How clearly Marley could remember the moment, the glorious moment, when the choppers had come down once again and the schoolteacher had crawled towards the landing place, blubbering4 gratefully, already clearly doomed to lose his left leg to gangrene. Marley had stood and watched quite happily, assuming an At Ease position, saluting the two helicopters in a nonchalant manner. He knew the rules. He was now the sole remaining competitor, he would sign a final legal waiver, they would cart off the destroyed schoolteacher from Swansea and leave him, Brian Marley, there for one further week, a whole week utterly alone, just himself […].

James Hawes, Speak for England, 2006.

1. pluck: courage.

2. waiver: document in which a person abandons a legal right.

3. telly: television.

4. blubbering: crying noisily.


Text 1

1 What is the nature of this document

2 Which statement best corresponds to the passage

1. It deals with reality shows in general.

2. It compares two reality shows.

3. It explains how to become a candidate on a reality show.

4. It describes a reality show.

3 Fill in the blanks. Each blank corresponds to one word.

If you take part in “The Great Escape” you may win … money than in … … …, however the competition will not last … … and it will demand … physical effort.

Text 2

1 What is the nature of this document

2 Choose the statement which best sums up the action in this document.

1. Brian Marley is a contestant on a TV reality show and has decided to abandon the show.

2. Brian Marley is a contestant on a TV reality show and has managed to become the last contestant in the tropical forest.

3. Brian Marley is a contestant on a TV reality show and is waiting for the helicopter to come and take him home.

4. Brian and a schoolteacher from Swansea are two remaining contestants on a reality show.

3 Find one quotation revealing why Marley and the other contestants wanted to take part in the show.

4 Say whether the following statements are right or wrong. Justify each answer with two quotations.

1. Marley has found the whole experience very difficult. 8b5951a6ac634dcbf4a934447db8cb9e.png5faa74c9a36ae9b7b607ef54c9211825.png

2. He has never considered abandoning the TV show. 0b497b0944d3d03a3f514bc78f6c149e.pngd435ce94c336aaf89737d5460a2e649a.png

Both texts

1 Which shows (“The Great Escape”, “The Amazing Race” or “Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Two Million”) do the following statements refer to

1. A treasure hunt

2. A chance for families to work together

3. A show where the contestants can decide whether to stay or leave

4. A show where contestants are eliminated

5. A show where contestants are transformed physically and mentally.

2 Which show in text 1 corresponds best to the TV show in text 2 Give two reasons to explain why. Use your own words.

Seuls les candidats de la série L traiteront les deux questions suivantes (3 et 4).

3 In a few words, compare and contrast the names of the reality shows in both documents.

4 1. Which adjectives from the following list best describe the tone of text 1

Uncritical – romantic – critical – humorous – sarcastic – impartial.

2. Explain in a few sentences what the name of the show in text 1 tells us about the intention of the narrator.


> Les candidats des séries S et ES traiteront un des trois sujets. (150 mots au moins)

Les candidats de la série L traiteront deux des trois sujets. (total pour les deux sujets : 250 mots au moins)

1 Do you personally consider that reality shows are great television

2 Marley becomes a celebrity after winning the show. A journalist interviews him about the changes that have happened in his life since the end of the show. Imagine the interview.

3 Would you personally be tempted to take part in a reality show Explain why.

Texte 1


Mary McNamara est critique télévision au Los Angeles Times, journal fondé en 1881 et qui est le quotidien américain à plus fort tirage après le New York Times.

Pour en savoir plus :

Le thème

L’article compare deux émissions de télé-réalité à succès. Toutes deux mettent en compétition des équipes de deux partenaires, mais The ­Amazing Race emmène les joueurs dans une chasse au trésor à travers le monde de plusieurs semaines, tandis que The Great Escape les met dans un labyrinthe dont ils doivent s’échapper en moins d’une heure tout en surmontant un certain nombre d’épreuves. La brièveté de l’émission a l’avantage de préserver les candidats d’une trop grande célébrité en leur donnant un simple rôle de joueurs, mais de ce fait les spectateurs n’ont pas le temps de s’attacher à eux.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

To feature, l. 1 (présenter, avoir pour vedettes)  Emmy-winning, l. 4 (vainqueur aux Emmy Awards – récompenses télévisuelles comparables aux Oscars pour le cinéma)  amazing, l. 5 (extraordinaire, incroyable)  a clue, l. 8 (un indice)  frantically, l. 12 (frénétiquement)  to labor, l. 13 (s’escrimer, travailler dur)  demanding, l. 18 (exigeant).

Texte 2


James Hawes (né en 1960) est britannique. Écrivain diplômé d’Oxford, il y anime des ateliers d’écriture. Speak for England, dont le héros participe à une émission de télé-réalité, est son cinquième roman, remarqué pour son ton satirique.

Pour en savoir plus :

Le thème

Marley est le dernier concurrent en lice d’une émission de télé-réalité se déroulant dans une forêt tropicale très hostile. Les conditions de vie y sont insupportables, au point qu’il a failli abandonner. Seul l’appât de l’argent et de la gloire médiatique permet de retenir les concurrents. Tous les concurrents de Marley ont été éliminés, récupérés par hélicoptère, le dernier dans un état déplorable. Marley doit tenir encore seul pendant une semaine pour gagner, mais sa santé mentale semble faillir…

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

That’s the stuff!, l. 1 (bravo ! chapeau !)  unbearable, l. 6 (insupportable)  vigil, l. 6 (veille)  horrendous, l. 6 (épouvantable)  to beggar belief, l. 7 (défier la raison)  to be on the verge, l. 7 (être sur le point de)  contestant, l. 10 (concurrent)  a well-strung-out choice, l. 11 (un choix étendu)  soaking, l. 12 (détrempé)  pitch-black, l. 12 (d’un noir d’encre)  lust, l. 20 (désir)  unspeak­able, l. 21 (épouvantable)  chopper, l. 25 (hélicoptère -fam.)  doomed to, l. 27 (voué à, condamné à)  sole, l. 30 (seul)  utterly, l. 33 (complètement).

Les points de convergence

Les deux textes ont comme thème commun la télé-réalité : abordée dans le cadre d’une critique télé dans le premier, et dans le cadre d’une fiction, à travers le vécu d’un concurrent, dans le second.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Pistes de recherche

La notion de « grande » télévision varie selon qu’on considère le succès des émissions ou bien l’enrichissement ou encore la distraction qu’elles peuvent offrir. Réfléchissez aussi au genre du reality show, qui montre le comportement de gens ordinaires placés dans des circonstances extraordinaires : faites la différence entre un rallye autour du monde comme The Amazing Race (Pékin Express), Survivor (Koh Lanta) à laquelle le second document fait penser et des émissions en lieu clos comme Big Brother (Loft Story). L’élimination concertée de concurrents par leurs adversaires est un thème que vous pouvez aborder, ainsi que l’accusation faite à certaines émissions qu’elles auraient un scénario écrit à l’avance. Vous pouvez aussi argumenter que la télévision est faite pour tout nous montrer de la réalité humaine, au travers de reportages ou de télé-réalité. Ou bien défendre le fait que certaines émissions nous transforment en voyeurs.

Vocabulaire utile

Viewers (les spectateurs)  to be involved (être impliqué)  to identify to (s’identifier à)  a TV channel (une chaîne de télévision)  a wider scale (une plus grande échelle/dimension)  the thrill (l’excitation)  voyeurism (voyeurisme)  to feel uncomfortable (se sentir mal à l’aise)  trash television (la « télé-poubelle »)  entertaining (distrayant)  enriching (enrichissant).

Le sujet d’expression 2

Pistes de recherche

Il s’agit donc d’un dialogue où Marley répond aux questions d’un journaliste. Vous pouvez imaginer que Marley a gagné, et donc remporté une forte somme d’argent, et que l’interview a lieu un an après. L’interview pourra porter sur les motivations de Marley (argent  notoriété  défi personnel  ) et sur les conséquences de sa participation au jeu sur sa vie actuelle (une nouvelle vie  impact de la célébrité  utilisation de l’argent gagné  etc.).

Vocabulaire utile

Sporty (sportif)  a reason why (une raison pour laquelle)  to endure (subir, endurer)  gratifying (gratifiant)  cynical (cynique).

Le sujet d’expression 3

Pistes de recherche

Question personnelle, qui reprend les thèmes de réflexion abordés dans les deux autres questions. Réfléchissez à vos motivations et au type d’émission qui pourrait vous tenter. Préféreriez-vous un rallye ou une situation de survie dans une nature hostile ou encore une cohabitation en lieu clos sous le regard quasi permanent de caméras  Accepteriez-vous d’être soumis(e) au jugement de vos adversaires ou co-concurrents  Seriez-vous tenté(e) par la notoriété  Par l’argent 

Vocabulaire utile

To depend on (dépendre)  I wouldn’t mind + V-ing (ça me dirait bien de, ça ne me dérangerait pas de)  an opportunity to (une occasion de)  clues (des indices)  to solve (résoudre)  to overcome (surmonter)  to reveal (révéler)  to cope with (gérer, s’accommoder de, faire face à)  to be at stake (être en jeu)  to matter (compter, avoir de l’importance).


Text 1

1 A newspaper article.

2 2. It compares two reality shows.

3 If you take part in “the Great Escape” you may win less money than in “The Amazing Race”, however the competition will not last as long/several weeks and it will demand less physical effort.

Text 2

1 It is an excerpt from a novel, it is fiction.

2 2. Brian Marley is a contestant on a TV reality show and has managed to become the last contestant in the tropical forest.

3 “Their greed for money and their lust for that modern sainthood, media fame” (l. 19-20).

4 1. Right: “his seventh unbearable, sleepless vigil in the forest” (l. 5-6) “soak­ing, sauna-hot, pitch-black forest” (l. 12-13) “nightmare of the rainforest” (l. 21).

2. Wrong: “he had been on the verge of quickly giving up” (l. 7-8) “Marley had hesitated” (l. 15) “he had almost cracked” (l. 18).

Both texts

1 1. “The Great Escape”. 2. “The Great Escape”. 3. “Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Two Million”. 4. “The Amazing Race”. 5. “Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Two Million”/“The Amazing Race”.

2 “The Amazing Race” best corresponds to “Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Two Million”: first it goes on for several weeks, not just one hour like “The Great Escape” then the contestant’s “greed for money” in Marley’s show does not really correspond to the mere 100,000 you can win in “The Great Escape”. Besides, in “Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Two Million” the contestants are eliminat­ed one by one while in “The Great Escape” the best pair wins, there is no elimination during the treasure hunt.

Uniquement pour les candidats de la série L

3 The adjectives “amazing” and “great” are very positive and the titles suggest adventure and fun. On the contrary, the title show in the second text has a negative tone: there is something very nationalistic in “Brit Pluck”, “hell” suggests something dramatically difficult, and “Two Million” suggests that contestants are only interested in money.

4 1. Humorous, sarcastic, critical.

2. The title is intentionally too long for a TV show, which makes it a parody, as the three elements of the title refer to all that he wants to criticize and denounce: the excesses of such shows as well as the contestants’ greed and desire for fame.


1 Guidelines

For producers, surely reality shows are great television, as they are a great success. But for us does this necessarily make great television

Reality shows can be quite different, but most of them list among the most popular programmes on television. Big Brother or Survivor have been produced and adapted in many countries. To sum it up in a few words, most reality shows present ordinary people in all sorts of extraordinary situations. Viewers are supposed to feel more involved than if they were watching celebrities or actors in a film: they are watching people like themselves and somehow identify with them. After all, we can watch on local or national channels reports or interviews of people in our city or area when something happens, why shouldn’t this be staged on a wider scale

But there is quite a difference between watching a show like The Amazing Race and watching Marley and his fellow contestants in the worst conditions of the jungle: the “thrill” sometimes seems to come more from watching them suffer and lose than watching them win. One could say that there is some sort of voyeurism in this. This is still more obvious in shows like Big Brother, where you can watch nearly every moment of the contestants’ lives. Despite the suspense, one can feel uncomfortable when contestants have to decide which of the group they are going to eliminate: isn’t this organised exclusion the image of the worst aspects of our highly competitive society

Some people will say that this is great television as it entertains the viewers and shows how humans behave. Others call this “trash television”. Personally I think that television can offer more entertaining and more enriching things than this.

2 Guidelines

Journalist: So, Marley, you have won two million dollars and have become a hero for lots of British people. How do you feel, one year later

Marley: Well, much richer, of course! That’s why I signed! I’m rather sporty, and I couldn’t find a job, so I thought, why not

Journalist: So, money was your only motivation

Marley: Do you know any other reason why anyone would endure such a horrendous nightmare as two months in the jungle At times I thought I was going to die!

Journalist: Come on! You knew the choppers would come to pick you up!

Marley: They didn’t save Jimmy’s leg, he lost it to gangrene! Now of course, being watched and admired by millions of people is rather gratifying. They greet me in the streets and it’s much easier to pick up girls! But I know they will forget about me as soon as someone else wins in another show.

Journalist: You sound a bit cynical after this experience.

Marley: Well, I was before the show, but I think the producers are even more cynical, aren’t they I know, I’m one of them…