Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Language of Creativity

I know a lot of people don't like reality television. Believe me, there's a lot of it that I don't like either. But, there's some of it that I do enjoy. I've been hooked on So You Think You Can Dance for years now. Master Chef is a more recent discovery. I've been thinking about why, despite all the cheesy drama, I still watch week after week, season after season. Here's what I've come up with. The creativity.
I love watching the contestants who get up on that stage and amaze me with their unexpected humor or   blow me away with the raw emotion of their performance.

(She starts dancing at 3:20 if you want to skip forward.)

Yes, I tire of those who take the stage because they "just know they're meant to be a star." What touches me are the people who are brimming over with creativity and their dance communicates a universal truth to their audience. Not look at me, I'm a star. But I'm a human being, I know what you're feeling. I've felt it too.

On Master Chef the contestants communicate with food. I personally, don't like to cook. (I do plenty of it, I just don't usually enjoy it.) But it's rewarding for me to watch these people who speak a whole different language - the language of food, which often has deep ties to their families, their childhoods, the community they were raised in.



I guess we all feel some of that each time we make a favorite dish for someone we care about. When my dad was alive, my sister and I would visit him every weekend in the nursing home. He had quite the sweet tooth and we'd take turns making things that he loved. After his ability for words dropped off, the food was a way to communicate.We'd open the cooler to reveal a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, or tiny squares of homemade fudge and his eyes would light up. He would open wide for bite after bite as we fed him. Sometimes he smiled. Sometimes he kept his eyes closed and remained in his own world. But I believe those tastes held more than calories. I believe they unlocked memories.

So even though I can't dance and I'm not much of a cook, I am captivated and inspired by these forms of creativity.

24 comments:

  1. DD adores competitions, and many of the reality shows are about competitions of one sort or another. I do get their charm, because they are so easy to watch. If I believe something is really real it is, curiously, so much more interesting.
    The sad thing is that most are, to a great extent, scripted. But seeing a variety of less polished actors is interesting. We humans love watching ourselves and each other.

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  2. The passion in the contestants is what draws me to watch some of the reality TV shows. I love MasterChef (especially the Australian series) and recently, Got to Dance UK. It really isn't about proclaiming to the world you are a star, but showing your best efforts in a thing you love doing. I'm not much of a cook or a dancer, but like you, Ruth, I am captivated and inspired by the creativity and passion.

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  3. Interesting. I think I watch reality TV just to get away from the trash they show these days. I don't know about the USA, but here we watch the same films over and over. The reality programs just give that welcome change we all need occasionally.

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  4. I'm a huge fan of SYTYCD and of MasterChef (although I like the Australia version more than the US one). I agree that the people's creativity is wonderful and their enthusiasm, too. Like, not just the dancers are thrilled to perform, but the choreographers, the audience and even the judges are so happy to watch - they're all really passionate about dance. I'm a dreadful cook and hate it, but I love how some people can do magical things with simple ingredients. Great post, Ruth! :-D

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  5. What a lovely story about your dad, Ruth. I'm sure you're right - every bite held memories.

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  6. I keep trying to watch So You Think You Can Dance. I love that show, but it is at a really bad time for me. I don't think I can dance at all, although I wish I could. I love to watch the dance and the art and the emotion that the show brings out of the contestants and the audience alike.

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  7. I LOVE So You Think You Can Dance. It's such a great show. I respect their talent so much! It's inspiring.

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  8. I do enjoy some of these shows. They provide all sorts of examples of drama, that is for sure!

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  9. You really touched me w/your story about your dad. And my eyes light up for fudge, too, lol!

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  10. It is interesting to consider, especially from a writer's perspective. I think this is why certain reality shows catch my interest sometimes. The Celebrity Apprentice grabs me for the same reasons.

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  11. I love Master Chef, too, and I do like to cook, though I'm by no means very good. I think you're right, that many people communicate through food. Certain dishes can offer comfort, honor traditions, and show love.

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  12. What a lovely post, Ruth. I think you captured it so perfectly with "Not look at me, I'm a star. But I'm a human being, I know what you're feeling. I've felt it too." That's the thing that matters in all forms of art - touching that humanity. Loved your story about your dad too - so touching. You were lucky to have each other.

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  13. Oh. My. Gosh.

    You just highlighted my two favorite shows! We're sisters.

    *love*

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  14. It's true that we can communicate with more than words. This is an insightful post.

    I don't watch reality shows, but I do watch snippets like these online.

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  15. Isn't that what creativity is all about? Communicating that understanding to others. :)

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  16. I agree. Communicating in any form of art is simply amazing!

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  17. I have watched So You Think You Can Dance, but am not hooked on it. However, I am addicted to all the singing competition shows. I love to see how the contestants that make it start and grow by the end. I'm truly jealous of all of them!

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  18. What a great post! I have never watched So You Think You Can Dance- but I have watched a lot of cooking shows and contests (even though I do not like to cook). It is amazing to think about all of the creative outlets out there. :)
    Jess

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  19. Lovely story about your dad. Food evokes all five senses, and I'm sure he was reliving many happy times as you shared your sweet gifts with him.

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  20. Great videos and I must admit I love cooking shows. They are so fun. And what a great story about your dad. Thanks for sharing. All those yummy foods make me want to open the fridge for a slice of cold pumpkin pie.

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  21. Cooking shows also interest me even though it's not my strong point. And who can forget hearing the amazing voice of Susan Boyle? Creativity is certainly not limited to writing or painting. :)

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  22. Hi Ruth, I like that way of putting it -- that we can communicate the same timeless truths through media as different as cooking and dance (not to mention underwater basket weaving).

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  23. My favorite part of Top Chef is the quickfire, when the contestants only have a short time to come up with something. I get so curious to see where their creativity will take them. I usually have to tune out the end part of the show--I never like listening to the judging. :)

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  24. It's true: There are many wonderful ways to be creative. I love the way you illustrate this with the story about your dad and the goodies that you made for him.

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