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You don't need tension to make a good story
Ozoneocean at 7:12AM, May 27, 2023
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I've been thinking of the perfect example of this:

Mythbusters
I've re-watched almost every episode and come to a few conclusions

In the early days of Mythbusters their format worked really well, but towards the end of the run it became excruciatingly hard to watch.
The reason just comes down to shocking editing and a post-production team at Discovery channel that had absolutely zero idea what the show was about.

In a science and discovery show like Mythbusters the type of story you have is simply about “progression”: You work steadily towards a solution. That's where the joy of watching comes from.

However the idiot editors that came on board in about the 3rd season (I think), treated it like a reality show where the common, white bread idea is that “tension” drives a story, so they hype up competition and disagreements between the cast and introduce narrative tension by cutting between two or more story-lines and introducing cliffhangers and delays in the story timelines.

But by doing that you totally disrupt the flow of “progression”, which makes the show far less interesting and very, very frustrating to watch.

In the case of this type of story, “tension” is a negative factor, it makes it a less, fun, more boring story to watch.

-Towards the later seasons everything else was good. The cast where better at their jobs, the budget was higher. they were cleverer about how they approached the “myths”, they had more resources and contacts to try bigger things etc. Everything was going for them, but the shocking reality TV/kids variety show style editing just killed it dead.
J_Scarbrough at 8:43AM, May 27, 2023
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If we're talking about reality shows, I would disagree somewhat . . . take BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR, for example: Season 1 intertwined Billy's personal life with his professional life, and that kept things interesting throughout the episode to see the drama unfold between his brother Ricky and his ex-wife Pam, or if Billy and his own wife Mary were having a little bit of drama . . . and it worked, because Billy and his whole family were rather eccentric people, so it was always intriguing to see how they would deal with the drama, conflict, and tension in their own quirky ways. All of that was omitted during Season 2, which made the show far less engaging because that element of tension was absent . . . by Season 3, however, they tried to mix things up again by having scenarios where maybe Ricky would go out on a job by himself without Billy, or Billy and Ricky are super busy so their parents go out on a job themselves . . . then there was even that whole season that was essentially like Billy and Ricky Do America.

Now, if we're talking about scripted shows, where the story is the driving force, then maybe not tension, but you still need conflict. That's Storytelling 101: if you have no conflict, you have no story.

Joseph Scarbrough
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Ozoneocean at 5:45AM, May 29, 2023
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J_Scarbrough wrote:
If we're talking about reality shows, I would disagree somewhat . . . take BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR, for example: Season 1 intertwined Billy's personal life with his professional life, and that kept things interesting throughout the episode to see the drama unfold between his brother Ricky and his ex-wife Pam, or if Billy and his own wife Mary were having a little bit of drama . . . and it worked, because Billy and his whole family were rather eccentric people, so it was always intriguing to see how they would deal with the drama, conflict, and tension in their own quirky ways. All of that was omitted during Season 2, which made the show far less engaging because that element of tension was absent . . . by Season 3, however, they tried to mix things up again by having scenarios where maybe Ricky would go out on a job by himself without Billy, or Billy and Ricky are super busy so their parents go out on a job themselves . . . then there was even that whole season that was essentially like Billy and Ricky Do America.

Now, if we're talking about scripted shows, where the story is the driving force, then maybe not tension, but you still need conflict. That's Storytelling 101: if you have no conflict, you have no story.

Nope, I'm only talking about a show like Mythbusters where “conflict” is absolutely not needed and is actually a negative factor to the story.
I'm not talking about reality TV in general.
bravo1102 at 6:24AM, May 29, 2023
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Cooking shows are an example. There's already enough tension doing the cooking and tasting good but suddenly there's this artificial conflict between the cooks and you scream at the TV to just finish the recipe already.
Furwerk studio at 9:22PM, May 29, 2023
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bravo1102 wrote:
Cooking shows are an example. There's already enough tension doing the cooking and tasting good but suddenly there's this artificial conflict between the cooks and you scream at the TV to just finish the recipe already.

Today on the passive aggressive galloping gourmet, we learn why you can't hold down that lamb and job.

I loath “tension”, as many armchair writers keep reading tvtropes and think if they feed their characters into a wood chipper than it will create tension via “if a character isn't constant mortal danger and threat of utterly random death.”

I hate it, instead of relying on other actual methods such as threat of broken relationships, PTSD, emotional scars and tons of other nasty things they go right to cheap C lister fodder genocide.

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