Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Microstory 1653: Flipsides

Not all of the dichotomies from Flipverse were bad, or hostile, or violent. There was one in particular that was pretty innocuous. It wasn’t without its controversies, but it was created with the best of intentions, and designed just to be fun and entertaining. They called it Flipsides, and it was a reality show that featured a tournament style competition, which pitted two different types of people against each other. Every season was about two somewhat opposing lifestyles, if only superficially. The first, for instance, was city-dwellers against rural-dwellers. The second season was athletes versus scholars. You might imagine the criticism that the producers endured over the years—accusations of playing into stereotypes—but for the most part, it did okay. It lasted for eleven seasons, and mostly only ended because of other social changes that were going on in the world at the time, which made pursuing any entertainment endeavor difficult. The contests were varied. They took place in different locales, all over the world, and no specific contest was ever repeated. Some were in swamps, others in the mountains, and they even went into orbit around the planet. The audience would vote on various things, such as which contestants would compete in which location. Anything could happen, including the rules being changed mid-game, just to make things more interesting, but no one was ever given an unfair advantage, unless they earned it in some other way. Many tuned in, not just for the competition itself, but the drama that surrounded the contestants. How they lived together during the season, even after people were eliminated, was an important aspect of the social experiment; perhaps most important. There were group challenges, and bonus challenges, and these led to secret advantages, or better accommodations, which could result in social complications. People fell in love, and fell out of love, and had fights, and were occasionally kicked off for causing too many problems, or quit. The impact of the show went beyond the broadcast itself. Many contestants were elevated from it, and started getting noticed for the other things they did in their life. The final season spawned a documentary, where some of the most favored contestants were followed around in their daily lives, as they kept in contact with each other. While proper physics of Flipverse always had a little bit of scifi stuff going on with it, it was actually the leads of the docuseries that uncovered until then unknown secrets of the cosmos, and changed the course of history for the entire world.

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