A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

TODAY'S TV


"Hello, good evening and bollocks."

Many hundreds of years ago, when dinosaurs wandered the Earth and I was in my youth, I would sometimes read Viz magazine. And one of my favourite characters was “Roger Mellie - The Man Off The Telly”. I’m not sure whether you’re familiar with Roger, but he was a TV presenter who would approach his producer, Tom, every issue with increasingly bizarre and offensive ideas for new programmes.

It’s a long time since I saw a copy of Viz magazine, and I’ve no idea if Roger is still around, but my guess is that he’s probably been made redundant – or at least had to change his act.

Picture the scene now…in 2010. Roger is having a meeting with Tom.

“Tom, I’ve got a great idea for a new show. What we do is get a load of deadbeats, crackheads and idiots… we’ll even throw in some people with genuine mental health problems for good measure… stick ‘em in a house for 3 months, and then watch and see what happens. We can even psychologically profile ‘em so they’re guaranteed to hate each other’s guts. Something’s bound to kick off.”

Tom looks weary “Sorry Roger, it’s already been done. Isn’t Davina lovely in Big Brother?”

“What? Okay how about this one then. We get a mini bus full of washed up sports stars, ex-soap actors and various out of work Z list entertainers, ship ‘em out into the jungle somewhere and get ‘em to eat a dead Kangaroo’s cock. It’ll be great.”

Tom’s starting to feel sorry for Roger now “Sorry mate, you’re way behind the times. Biggins and Pasqualle have got panto sown up for the next ten years on the back of that 'I’m a Celebrity' programme.”

“Okay, okay, here’s my real winner. We get a footballer’s bird… you know what they’re like, they’ll do anything for money… and wait for it… we get her to toss off a pig for the cameras. It’s a winner.”

Tom’s had enough now. “Have you never heard of Rebecca Loos, Roger? Here, let YouTube remind you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNb5ZPsNGzc

The amazing thing is that if you go back 15 years or so, these are precisely the sort of ideas Roger Mellie would have been coming up with. It was all very funny back then, but I’m not sure how funny it is now we have to endure it. It was supposed to be a joke, not a prediction. In the good old days, we had successful entertainers to entertain us but now, we seem to be doing it all ourselves and in ever increasing doses.

Being a TV producer must be pretty easy these days. If you can’t come up with a ‘killer’ idea like one of the above, there’s a very simple formula guaranteed to create a one hour programme for prime time TV. Here it is…

Get a piece of paper and write down the word ‘Britain’s’ 20 times down the left hand side. Now…photocopy this page, because you’re going to need lots of copies.

Next after the word ‘Britain’s’, you write a superlative adjective… and after that a plural noun. This simple formula will create more ‘hot’ programme ideas than you can use in a hundred careers.

Confused?

Okay, let me give a few examples to bring this to life for you:

Britain’s Ugliest Grannies
Britain’s Funniest Undertakers
Britain’s Hairiest Babies
Britain’s Fattest Vegetarians
Britain’s Youngest Alcoholics
Britain’s Oldest Skateboarders
Britain’s Strongest Lesbians
Britain’s Meanest Millionaires
Britain’s Tallest Dwarves
Britain’s Richest Tramps
Britain’s Biggest Beer Guts
Britain’s Thickest Teachers
Britain’s Loudest Farters

…Get the idea? The number of alternative options is almost infinite.

Go on, admit it, you wouldn’t be too surprised to see one or more of those in the TV schedules. You may have even looked at the list and thought “Hmmm…wouldn’t mind seeing that one.” Like me, you may even harbour an inkling that they might have made a couple of them already. (Britain's funniest animals).

And this is what passes for mainstream TV in 2010.

So should we care… does it really matter?

It’s well accepted now that we become what we think about. I don’t know who first said it… it may have been Napoleon Hill… but the link between thoughts and outcomes is pretty well established. The way our life pans out usually starts in the mind. It’s only later that we convert those thoughts into actions that create outcomes.

It’s also well accepted that as a society, we’re watching more and more TV than ever before – and I think we all know how the quality and nature of that TV has changed in recent years.

So if we’re watching this ‘quality’ TV, we must be thinking about it. And if we become what we think about… well that’s a little worrying. In computing, they have an acronym – GIGO… Garbage In - Garbage Out. I think that applies here.

At the very least I think we should all question whether we’ve subliminally accepted that the collection of crackpots, desperado’s and misfits that make up the participants in mainstream TV constitute ‘normality', and whether we’ve become comfortable with the idea that no amount of degradation or humiliation is too much, just so long as it brings with it a fleeting slug of fame or fortune.

I can only write about this crap because I’m as guilty of watching my fair share, as perhaps you are. But at least now I’ve consciously thought about it, I’ll be more aware of the potential hazards… more aware that this isn’t really what I want to become.

I hope you feel the same way. Now where’s the remote?



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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