Last month, TV Land brought Candid Camera back to television after a 10 year hiatus. This version is hosted by Mayim Bialik and Peter Funt. Unlike the majority of recent revivals, Candid Camera is still the same old show, which is both good and bad.
Why is it good?
- Candid Camera is a family show in an era that doesn’t have any.
- It’s a prank show that isn’t mean spirited. As Peter Funt told The Wrap, “Here’s the thing: A lot of other hidden camera shows strike me as out to show that people are stupid. We don’t think that’s really funny, and for the most part, I don’t believe that’s even true.
- The show is familiar. If there’s nothing better on TV, you can count on Candid Camera to bring a smile to your face.
It seems like everyone wants reality television to run its course and get off their television sets. The truth is that’s never going to happen. Reality TV is here to stay. Since the late 1940s, it’s existed in one form or another and many of the first reality shows were adapted from radio. For example, Candid Camera started as Candid Microphone. While it may seem quaint now, Candid Camera basically had the audience spying on people who were put in uncomfortable situations without being in on the joke.
Even though Candid Camera still seems tame, Queen for a Day, which also started on radio and aired on TV from 1956 to 1964, is shocking by modern standards. The host would force housewives to recount all the misery in their lives, many broke down and cried, so that they could potentially win whatever they needed. Whoever the audience determined had the most tragic story would get help, everyone else was sent home without so much as fare for the bus.