Research via Remote

I watched a new reality show on the tube last night. TLC’s broadcast of the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding ( ).  It is a rebroadcast of a show filmed in the UK, following (at least last night) the lives of Irish gypsies as they deal with the highs and lows of trying to preserve their culture.  I’ve got to say, I found it fascinating.  My parents were first generation Americans, and I recall my father’s admonitions not to get my ears pierced, saying that was something “only gypsies do.”  As if gypsies were somehow different.  I grew up imagining that their lives were romantic and mysterious.   I found the TLC series fascinating.  I even took notes!
It’s not the first time I’ve utilized documentaries or reality television as a research tool.  I’m also a big fan of Billy the Exterminator (A&E ), Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs,  (Discovery Channel )

and Say Yes to the Dress (TLC ). 

Where else can you get a feel for the attitudes, language, mannerisms, and culture of a milieu that you might not ever have access to?  We don’t have alligators in Boise, nor do we have a lot of gypsy weddings.   Thar’s gold in them episodes, even if you subtract about 10 percent of the most intense reactions as being due to the presence of the camera. Before reality TV, a writer had to physically visit and spend time in an environment that was unique or previously undescribed.  With PBS ( ), and the National Geographic Channel ( ), viewers (writers) have access to excellent documentaries on a wider variety of subjects than ever before.   It’s like having your very own living encyclopedia at your fingertips.   Channel surfing isn’t just for Spongebob anymore.    

This entry was posted in Billy the Exterminator, Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, National Geographic Channel, PBS, Research, Say Yes to the Dress, TLC. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Research via Remote

  1. I hadn’t really considered this resource, since I usually don’t have access to TV during the time I would be doing research, but you’re absolutely right. With a little adjustment, I might find this very useful. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Yes, I totally agree. I have travelled the world via the television!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.