Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Word in People Magazine - Docureality

The November 24 issue of People includes a review of the VH1 show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Interestingly, the review labels the show a docureality series. I have heard of documentaries but never a docureality. When looking into the word docureality, I was unable to find any definitions, though there were numerous references to the term in relation to different television programs. The majority of these references spelled the word as docu-reality with a hyphen or as docu reality with a space (I wonder how People magazine decided to use the docureality spelling). Regardless of the spelling, I think the word docureality is a poorly constructed portmanteau word. A documentary is considered to be a factual movie or television program and as a factual movie or television program is based on reality combining documentary and reality is redundant.

1 comment:

José Miguel said...

i have come across this term pretty much in the same way as you did. i came back to my country, chile, and found that pretty much every tv program has been labelled as docureality. what is interesting is that i've been researching around the concepts of reality, illusion, simulation, etc. fro the last year. i'm an actor and theatre maker and feel that an argument about the definition of that we regard as real is extremely relevant... anyways, i disagree with you when you define as redundant the term docureality. my interpretation is that the main characteristic of a documentary, as you said, is its factuality. i tend to believe that the 'reality' part refers to a 'reality show' quality which is that of simulation of reality. i am convinced that reality shows participants are the best actors ever and that nothing in them is real. it is a playing in the edge of what is real and what is premeditated. i have the feeling that this docurealities arrived to satisfy teh necessity of treating the real as orchestrated, almost as rehearsed... uff this is long enough, what do you think?
jose

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