Obviously, I am biased against the whole “Diva” concept or the uniformity of one character for all of the female wrestlers of the WWE. (Sure there is some variation: you can be a crazy Diva, a sexy Diva, a punk Diva; just so long as you are an arrogant, self important bitch). So take my write up with a critical lens, but I did try to objectively watch the “reality show” connected to the women to see if it was fun, interesting, or even a compelling look behind the scenes of their challenging lives. What I’m left with is hard to describe, but emotionally and mentally I think it’s a mixture of confusion, boredom and mild irritation. Often wrestling is described as: soap opera for men. I think this metaphor was taken very literally when designing Total Divas.
Total Divas is billed as a reality show, now I’m keen enough to know that most reality programming has little reality in it. Once all of the editing and camera confessionals are included, very little spontaneous material actually emerges. And of course the writers and directors, manufacture moments continuously to make anything and everything seem over dramatic. Because, in truth, real life is not really good TV. It’s filled with slow moments in which nothing much of consequence occurs and tiny moments of great significance. Real life plays more like a baseball game than an episode of the Real Housewives of Timbuktu or Total Divas.
There appears to be nothing but highly polished editing to Total Divas, the women always look camera ready, and never caught in a moment of real excitement, pain and/or anguish. Wouldn’t it make more sense to follow them around backstage say right after a match, versus watching them all perfectly made-up and dressed up to go out to a restaurant? How about having the real life chemistry or animosity between these women actually play into story lines in the ring? Nope! Instead, the show revolves around gossip, talking behind each others back, silly marital spats and family confessionals. All of it appears very staged as if every word coming out the women’s mouths was scripted, audience tested and approved. Whether or not this was the intent or it just comes off this way, I have no idea. Basically, Total Divas looks 99% edited, 1% real.
My main point of confusion in watching this show was wondering who was the target audience? It’s on the E network , so I would assume it’s meant for women. But honestly, what woman watching the E network wants to watch a reality show about female wrestlers? I noticed the cameos and appearances by the male “superstars” seems to be the centerpiece of the show. Appearances by John Cena and Daniel Bryan are teased and hinted at as if some big secret will be revealed once they arrive. With that in mind, is the mostly male viewing audience of the WWE, the target audience here? Do men in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s really want to see women, portraying fake characters, in a supposed reality show gossiping and bitching about each other for an hour, just so they can see John Cena for 10 minutes?
Total Divas is a train wreck of confusion for me. Some ladies use their ring name, some use their real name, but all stick to playing out the basic story line of a Diva. What can be expected of a reality show about women portraying fake characters in a fake world? I think expectations should be rightfully low, and the creators of this show should just admit what they have really created. This is not “reality” TV; it’s a soap opera. Whether its a soap opera for men, women or giraffes, I leave that up to you to decide.