Writing today in Tablet Magazine about an Israeli reality television show, columnist Etgar Keret argues that the genre—normally “shallow mush,” he admits—has here produced a strikingly original, self-conscious work of art:
Watching the program, you have a strong sense that the five documenters feel they are engaged in a sacred mission. Their need to be honest and open seems almost pathological.
This pathology seems heightened by the show’s immediacy. Because the episodes have such a quick turnaround, it is possible to see one of the participants lie his way out of a family dinner only to hear, in the next episode, his mother’s reaction when her friends called to tell her that they saw her son lying on TV. In another episode, the participants and their wives and girlfriends reacted to viewers who commented online about their relationship. The fact that hundreds of people plead online for Ishai, the broke tech millionaire, to leave his wife develops into a marital crisis, when the wife accuses Ishai of putting her in a bad light in his self-documentary. In another surprising moment, the sitcom writer’s mother confesses that although she is suffering because of the show and the exposure, it has also caused her son, hungry for a bit of conflict and drama in his drab life, to visit her more often.
The show is called Connected.