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"Liveness" on "Pretty Wild"

by Sarah Elaine Wilson

In Mark Williams' article, "History in a Flash: Notes on the Myth of TV Liveness," Williams discusses the idea that all of TV, even prerecorded shows, are considered to be live. Television cultivates a sense of liveness and immediacy by implying that what we see on screen is happening live while we watch.

This clip from reality show "Pretty Wild" exemplifies and complicates this notion. The show was originally intended to follow the lives of three sisters, Tess Taylor, Alexis Neiers, and Gabby Neiers, as they traverse the Hollywood party scene. However after Alexis is arrested for her involvement in the Hollywood burglaries (aka the Bling Ring) the show also begins to chronicle her subsequent trial. The fact that the show was being filmed while other media outlets were covering the Bling Ring arrests and trials contributes to the sense of "liveness" and "reality" that has come to be associate with all TV programs.

This clip particularly showcases this sense of liveness. After Alexis is interviewed by Vanity Fair journalist Nancy Jo Sales, Alexis is upset by the way Sales portrayed her in the article so she attempts to leave Sales a voicemail expressing her displeasure. The episode aired one month after Sales' article was published in Vanity Fair. So anyone watching the episode could link these events together outside of the show. Although there is a delay between when the actual events occurred and when the episode aired it still contributes a sense of liveness by connecting the events on the show to real events being covered in other current forms of media.

"Liveness" on reality show "Pretty Wild"

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This is a brief clip from the reality TV show "Pretty Wild" in which Alexis Neiers attempts to leave a voicemail for journalist Nancy Jo Sales after Sales' article about Neiers involvement in "The Bling Ring" is published.

from Pretty Wild (2010)
Creator: Dan Levy
Posted by Sarah Elaine Wilson