José Pinto: Why we are so fond of some television contestants | TV

José Pinto: Why we are so fond of some television contestants | TV

The television contestants they are the mirror in which generations of spectators have seen themselves when turning on the television. In Stories of television (1965), the film by José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, the protagonists were two young people for whom the medium was an escape from the hardships of the Franco regime. Television offered that "spark of good luck spread" (in the words of the narrator of the film), which not only ignited the hope of Tony Leblanc and Concha Velasco, but that of those who watched them from the other side.

In the following years, already in color and democracy, the fortunes of the Spaniards were shown through the most popular competitions, from the apartments in Torrevieja del One two Three to the unbridled consumerism of The fair price. But you could also see in the competitions some of the national neuroses, The traffic light by Chicho Ibáñez Serrador from which he jumped to fame the unusual Cañita Brava, to Big Brother, where the Orwellian monitored isolation gave the impression to each participant of being in the hands of an imagined Spain Materialized by SMS.

In your report How to Create a Hit Format in 10 Lessons (2016) the consultant TheWIT indicates that the key to this type of television programs were scenarios that could change the life of the contestant in a dramatic structure based on suspense, serialization and emotion. The triumph of Fran González in the rosco Pass word It would not have been so moving without all his previous failures.

The key is that the extraordinary emerges from normality, from extra kilos or imperfect dentures. And with every success, the promise of a renewed existence. It matters little that Los Lobos were not childhood friends, but a group made up of ex-contestants from To know and to win: They were a typical gang giving the ball of their lives. Maybe its member José Pinto, who died yesterday, he was most aware of his role as a repository of the wishes of the spectators, who showed wearing T-shirts of local associations or small tourist gems.

When the Alcantara visited the One two Three, his victory was more relevant to his neighbors than any of his previous encounters with the great historical events: that night were the heroes of the neighborhood of San Genaro, and also a bit of the rest of the Spaniards.

Concepción Cascajosa is a professor of Audiovisual Communication at the Carlos III University of Madrid


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