It’s a poorly-kept secret that reality television is in fact only partially that—situations and conflicts are contrived to create maximum drama and ultimate titillation, to make viewers return to see where the ugliness ends.
It was something of a relief, then, that the first two episodes of Jockeys were not characterized by the manufactured antagonisms endemic to the genre; my relief, though, was quickly dissipated by the realization that the makers of this particular “reality” show were absolutely shameless in their willingness to make stuff up.
Watching this hour of television, viewers would believe that horses go down in pretty much every race.
They would think that a race caller mentions the jockeys as often as he mentions the horses.
They would infer that jockey George Woolf died because of the dangers of racing, not because his diabetes most likely led to light-headedness that caused him to fall from his horse.
They would labor under the misapprehension that the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita is the most important and “most competitive” of the year.
They would think that the roar of the crowd as Mike Smith entered the winner’s circle aboard Zenyatta could rival that in a football stadium.
The essential dishonesty of such easily refuted impressions makes suspect the entire endeavor; we know that “reality” shows are contrived, but the absolute misrepresentation in this program will only make folks feel manipulated when they realize the “reality” that they’ve watched isn’t “real” at all. What a great way to bring fans to the game: mislead them.
And it makes me ask: if there’s so much dissembling that we can recognize, how much that we can’t determine has also been feigned?
How incredibly original to have the female be the only jockey who talks about the majesty and magnificence of the horse. And to cry at the thought of leaving her family.
Are there no editors on the show who might have caught the misspelling of Hystericalady’s name?
Many of the conversations are fairly platitudinous and predictable; they seemed staged, particularly the scene with Sutherland and Smith in the restaurant. Did they have to memorize those lines?
I did enjoy a few moments; I liked that the show focused, if only briefly and without any attention to narrative flow, on the starters, and the conversation between Kayla Stra and her agent was instructive and illuminating. It’s not a surprise that the best part of the show was the Lady’s Secret…but why did it take nearly an hour to show an actual horse race?
It probably doesn’t make much sense to write about something for which you’re not the intended audience; I don’t think that the producers are aiming for the dedicated race fan, and maybe it’s my own interest in the sport that makes me marvel at the genius of taking situations that are so inherently compelling and making them tedious.
I have no idea where this “reality” show might be headed, what dramatic arcs might be in store for us in the coming weeks, and I’m not sure that I’ll tune in to find out. I do have one fervent wish, though:
Please, please let them stay away from Saratoga.