While doing some random surfing on the weekend, I stumbled upon the web site for the ABC News show What Would You Do? Though the show has been airing segments since the early new year, I was somewhat surprised that I was not aware of it. While WWYD takes its pedigree from Candid Camera, the issues it addresses are much more serious. Veteran ABC reporter John Quinones is the on camera personality who takes us through each show.
The setup for each WWYD scenario is similar. At the core is the situation or question they want to examine. A location is determined and then actors are hired to enact the scenario. Hidden cameras are placed to catch all the action. Unsuspecting people then get caught up in the scenario. At appropriate time, the people are then let in on the ruse. Quinones then interviews the participants, those who chose to get involved and even those who didn’t.
The type of scenarios that have been written cover an extremely wide variety. Some of the less serious issues involve things like would a person say something if their online dating partner looked nothing like their picture on the first date? Or, would you confront a wedding crasher? How about stopping a loud cell phone talker in a restaurant?
The most compelling pieces though come from the scenarios that deal with serious issues like racism, abuse, and bullying. In one example, random shoppers are exposed to a black woman who is asked to leave an upscale clothing store. In another, people at an open house witness a realtor telling a Muslim couple that terrorists are not welcome in the community.
I was completely fascinated by the various setups and how the show’s producers always through in a different variable in each one. For example, they usually examine how changing the gender of one of the participants affects people’s responses. Other times, they’ll change the race instead. My entire Saturday afternoon was spent viewing all these segments online.
After having done dozens and dozens of these segments, the show has discovered some very interesting trends. First, there will always be people who witness the event but who don’t say nor do anything. Second, people always speak up or spring to action faster and more often if a woman is involved compared to a man, even if the situation is identical. Last but certainly not least, women by a large margin are far more willing to intervene than men even if it the situation clearly could present a danger to them physically. Quinones says in one segment that research has indicated the brain chemistry of women have predisposed them to act and intervene, more so than the brains in men. So while Hollywood might have you think that most men are macho, in reality and everyday life, there’s a greater chance that a woman will come to your aid.
In the segment you see above, the actors are a blind woman, a blind man, and a man posing as a bakery clerk. The clerk is rude to both blind people and then, in plain sight of all the customers, will attempt to short change them. Will anyone speak up? Watch the clip to find out.
If you like what you see, I encourage you to watch more segments on the WWYD web site. Alternatively, you can see them on YouTube by just searching for the show’s name.