If the performance of TV programming were judged from the deployment of its productions, Who is the mask? it would immediately rank in one of the highest boxes in any ranking or stat. The visual and staging merits of the most flamboyant of all the great shows presented in recent times on the open channels of Argentina are visible, in a position to even surpass The Argentine voiceso far the undisputed number one in the field.
But the measure of success does not have a single measure on a screen conditioned, like so many other things in our suffering reality, to the need to achieve the greatest number of positive results in the shortest possible time. All the restless world attentive to the movements of the screen does nothing more than register in these hours, well above the content of Who is the mask?the abrupt drop in audience measurements that the program had in the very short period that went from its debut to its second and third broadcast.
Between the optimal 19.7 average points of the opening on Monday night and the not very encouraging 11.2 the night before last (Wednesday 14) there was only 48 hours of difference. Has the public’s reaction to a program changed so much that in its first three broadcasts it showed exactly the same thing? That first verdict leaves open many questions (and also clues) regarding the future of the most recent bet of a channel accustomed to playing hard in the prime time and not miss any of your chances.
The first factor that helps us understand the reason for such a jump It is the “Argentinization” of the shows that local open TV designs as replicas of successful global formats.. Who is the mask? is the last exponent of a long series preceded, among other examples, by the different versions of the Dancing…, The voice, Argentine talent Y Your face is familiar to me. Ideas that have a common denominator (festive and raucous musical competitions) together with some very significant and marked differences.
As in the rest of the cases, the version presented by Telefé of Who is the mask? reproduces at first sight everything that we can appreciate thanks to YouTube under the same title (The Masked Singer is the international title) in very distant geographies. The scenery, wide and very colorful, allows the participants to move with great comfort in front of the space in which the jury of four members and the public are accommodated, summoned to a large studio to celebrate each appearance.
who have already seen The Masked Singer in other latitudes they find a well-known panorama. That media jury (Lizy Tagliani, Wanda Nara, Roberto Moldavsky and Karina Tejeda, better known as La Princesita) must guess with the help of various clues and their own intuition who is the “famous”, hidden from head to toe behind a very striking and bizarre costume, which is encouraged to sing in front of them.
The local version reproduces the basic rules that the program imposed everywhere since it was created by South Korean television. Until at one point, as always happens among us, that reiteration ends up colliding with the main “requirement” imposed by Argentine television customs. As if we had to always make a difference with the rest of the world, Who is the mask? It is broadcast every 24 hours, in a daily strip format, from Sunday to Thursday. There is not a single reasonable basis, other than the anxiety to achieve immediate results in the midst of a competitive frenzy, to explain such behavior.
Attached to a reality that never goes beyond their own (and capricious) observation, those responsible for our TV will justify themselves in the name of “what the public asks for”, an argument that is not supported by a single logical or reasonable fact. Why believe that the temperament of our average viewer would be different from his equivalent in any other country? The reactions to a program of this type here, in Mexico, in Italy, in the United States or in Australia are the same: curiosity, enthusiasm, euphoria, contagious effect, desire to participate from home. Why then do we have here five weekly broadcasts of Who is the mask? for each of The Masked Singer in almost all the rest of the world?
Being broadcast once a week in the vast majority of its versions, The Masked Singer ensures (as occurs in most shows of its kind) a growing social debate around its participants and the unknowns that surround them. It’s one day of airing and another six of pure discussion, with the show leading the conversation on social media.
Here it is argued, instead, that such an option would be unfeasible due to our inability to keep secret the identity of the figures that lend themselves to playing hide and seek behind suits and masks that have a visible family resemblance to the characters of children’s series in the style of Sesame Street: Willy the Turtle, Luna the Alien Woman, Cambiazo the Chameleon, Nieves the Leopard, La Mulita Pampa and so on.
Undoubtedly, revealing in advance who is behind each of these costumes (the first to do so were former tennis player Guillermo Coria and plastic artist Marta Minujín) would make the whole idea of the program meaningless. Unfortunately, this type of indiscretion became a habit in our midst, sometimes with malicious intentions. But surrendering in advance to a reality unwilling to accept fair play and healthy competition also has its costs. This kind of insurance against possible infidences automatically becomes a certificate that guarantees the premature (and unnecessary) wear of the formula.
From this option, the reason for such a pronounced (and rapid) decline in the rating numbers could begin to be understood. A latent risk, and at one point also understandable, for a game show musical that luckily distances itself from some exaggerations adopted by local TV to develop its own versions of globalized hits.
Who is the mask? has in its television DNA enough resources to give back to the big show television its ludic essence. And that natural propensity for unpretentious entertainment that identified some of its good ideas from the origin of the medium. In this program there are no suitably sweetened life stories that condition the choice of the participants and sometimes push the audience’s emotional chord too much. There are also no rewards that often work as a forced incentive to stimulate participation. Just play for the sake of it.
Are we so used to this type of resources that we can no longer tolerate a television proposal that invites us nothing more than to play for fun? Seeing things that way would prevent us, for example, from going out to look for alleged intentions in the sayings of a group of jurors surely chosen for their extremely high media exposure.
Such a thing is not necessary in this case. When they join the game, the four “judges” have a good time in their role as guessers. And being wrong often is part of that fun. There’s not much difference between their performance on this show and what they could do in the public or private arena by participating in, say, “put on the act”-style entertainment. Something similar could be said of the place that Natalia Oreiro occupies as a host, who, from her innate ease, offers an ideal profile to join this type of proposal.
From this perspective, Who is the mask? moves away from competitions such as The voice either Argentine talent and it’s much closer Your face is familiar to me, another good TV idea. At the same time appears as the reverse of sing with me now, whose “argentinized” version takes away almost all the meaning in a competition based on artistic skills to the function of a jury multiplied in this case to infinity.
Who is the mask? comes to a TV accustomed for quite some time to understand this type of competitive show of great production and search for high in another way, with a considerable load of drama and emotion, often too calculated. Time will tell if there is room in this field for a proposal that uses nothing more than the game as a means and also as an end.
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Who is the mask? He went out to conquer the public from the pure game and the competition without prizes, will it reach him?