Friday, September 03, 2010

Kill your television

If you’re anything like me, there are two simple guidelines to follow when deciding what television programs you want to watch.

1. Is it any good?

2. Will it annoy the living fuck out of me?

As I’m getting older the amount of televisual output meeting the first category is dwindling rapidly, whereas the second category gets larger and larger with every passing moment. Perhaps my tastes have become refined to such a stage that it takes a lot to impress me these days, but I suspect the truth lies elsewhere – that as it’s become cheaper and cheaper to make television programs, standards have dropped through the floor. And what’s cheaper than reality television, right?

I’ve enjoyed whinging about Jedward: Let Loose and found it quite carthartic, so I figure a general whinge about television in general can only be great therapy. My lovely better half watches a heckload of shit on telly – and those familiar with the standard measurement unit of a heckload know that that’s quite a formidable amount.  I'll admit to having a morbid fascination in watching certain shows solely because they annoy me.

“Four weddings” is a classic case of something which should have remained in some television production office on a whiteboard labelled “Bad Ideas”. Some bright spark saw the success of the winning formula of “Come Dine With Me” (which, in my personal opinion, is to be regarded as “Good Telly”) and thought, “Hey, what else can we plaster this format onto?”. Unfortunately, some overpaid twat in the room with him said out loud, “Weddings?” and nobody had the sense to correct him.

One of the couples in Four Weddings decided to have a fancy dress wedding, and bride and groom got married dressed as Princess Leia and a (rather portly) Stormtrooper respectively. One of the brides-to-be didn’t like her dress – namely because, I quote, “It cheapens a wedding”.

Look, love. You’re on a television program only one step away from a game-show trying to outdo your competitors to desperately try to win a honeymoon. By your very presence on this show you’ve fucking cheapened the concept of weddings. You could all wear bright neon outfits as you walk down the fucking aisle with some sponsorship stickers stuck to the train of your wedding dress (“Wedding cake indigestion? Try Rennie” or “Pre-wedding itch? Try Canesten Duo”) and you still couldn’t make your wedding look any tackier than it already is, simply due to the very fact you’re appearing on this bloody programme and have turned your wedding into a game of fucking one-upmanship.

Why stop at weddings? Why not extend the format to funerals as well? “The venue was lovely, but I didn’t like the colour of the handles on the coffin. They played “I believe I can fly” as the coffin was wheeled into the fire.. which was nice, but the triangular sandwiches at her parents house afterwards left something to be desired. Too much cucumber. I give it 8 out of 20”.

Toddlers and Tiaras is another great one. A show effectively taking the piss out of fat mums and their terrifying offspring thrust headlong into the nightmare that is the American Pageant scene. It’s a grizzly array of increasingly more grotesque parents living through their helpless children – all of whom have been plastered with so much make-up they’re in danger of cracking open if they allow their bodies to ever hit room temperature. In a desperate attempt to make their children look like Heather O’Rourke (only slightly less dead), they ironically all end up looking like Zelda Rubinstein. The mothers almost without fail look and behave identically (like some version of Stepford Wives when the mould labelled “Perfect woman” got left out in the sun and warped a bit) and most of them have husbands who are so far under the thumb that they could submit themselves for fingerprint testing to verify their wives identity if she wasn’t about. Did history learn nothing from the lesson that The Mini-Pops taught us?

Still, for your convenience I’ve created a handy “Create your own Toddlers and Tiaras Kid Name Generator” below. Simply roll two six sided dice, and there you are – your own (nowhere near unique) special overly-made-up spoilt brat kids name!

Maury. Fucking Maury. His television persona is that of a kindly uncle, although none of my uncles ever had such an obsession with paternity testing. His show has become so formulaic I’m surprised he’s needed on it at all. My suggestion to the producers is – get rid of him.

Replace the stage with a conveyor belt (Producers, you could even call the conveyor belt ‘Maury’ if you didn’t want to change the opening credits and have to reprint your stationery), and shove some seventeen year old slut onto it. When she gets to the middle of the stage, allow her to say her piece. “Aaaah know he’s my baby’s daddy, look at his eyes”. Give her ten seconds and no more. Wheel her off stage.

Dump an inbred hick male with a fetching pubic-hair moustache onto the same conveyor belt with the same routine; when he gets to the middle, allow him to say his single sentence, “I ain’t that baby’s daddy. He ain’t even not got a moustache, hyuk hyuk”. Ten seconds again – the show is nothing if not fair – restart the conveyor belt until he’s dumped unceremoniously off the end.

Loud voice announces the result; “HE’S THE DADDY” or “HE’S NOT THE BABYS DADDY”. Simple.

End of section. Bring on the next whore/hick combination.

Having saved a few quid on paying Maury’s wages (which, let’s face it, he’s only going to blow on Werther’s Original, pairs of Slacks or hookers anyhow), you could probably afford to get somebody with a decent authoritative voice – James Earl Jones, Joe Pasquale or Morgan Freeman, you get the idea.

Still, entertainment abounds when it features some cum-dumpster who is making her fourth visit to the show in a desperate attempt to find her “baby daddy”. Desperation strikes them – “It must be him, because both he and my baby have two arms”. Ha! Everybody laugh at the silly forgetful slut!

The idiot box lives up to it's name.  And the reason that shows like these continue to get made is that people like me continue to watch them.  Moan about them, certainly, but watch them nonetheless - whilst all the time crying into our Birds Eye frozen dinners and asking ourselves, "Why am I watching this?"

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