As a person who is not generally inclined to go sit in front of the television, I am shocked to say that I have been completely hooked on a show. Airing on ABC, What Would You Do? creates everyday situations where people are forced to see how they would handle themselves when morality comes into play.
This show has become one of my new favorites mainly because it actually gives me something to think about, rather than making me sit as a vegetable on the couch. The only issue that I find with this show is it has been airing for about five years, and there are many episodes online for me to watch when I should be doing my homework.
Actors portray characters in scenes where prejudice or law-breaking is present. Hidden cameras catch what random people do (or not do) in reaction to what they see. After they have carried out their decisions, host John Quiñones appears and explains that the situation is staged and that they are on television. Sometimes the experiment is repeated with a change in one variable, such as changing a Caucasian woman with an African-American to see if different results will be produced.
Examples of scenarios include a Muslim woman being denied service in a bakery and teenage girls bullying another girl in a park. Completely staged by actors, it is up to the general public in the area to decide if they will try and alleviate the problem.
As I watch the show, I am always so bothered by the fact that most of the time people won't bat an eye to whatever is happening, saying that it is “none of their business.” Depending on the situation, I would assume that people might be scared of the personal risks possible by interjecting, perhaps of a physical injury or a lawsuit. Other times, more unfortunately, I think that the only reason people don’t do anything proactive is that they don’t care.
I was talking to some of my friends about this show and the topic came up of what type of decisions we thought that we would make if placed in such a situation.
At first we all rushed to say that we would definitely speak up and try to fix the problem. I believe that this is typical of people. We would all like to think the best of ourselves. However, after putting in a little more thought we all came to the decision that we weren’t really sure of what we would do. In fact, we probably wouldn’t be able to come to an accurate conclusion about our behavior until we were actually put on the spot and forced to make a choice. Until then, I’m not completely sure if it is okay for viewers like me to complain about other people’s choices because we don’t know if we would be any better.
What Would You Do? makes the viewer reevaluate his or her own character and morals, and encourages one to speak up for others. If one wasn’t already motivated to be one of the “proactive people,” seeing all of the people who ignored the problems in the scenarios should fire one up to make a positive difference.
From a girl who doesn’t really find anything worth sitting around and watching on TV, I highly recommend What Would You Do?
Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.