AFTERNOON TV – WORSE THAN ANYTHING I CAN THINK OF…
While at the gym last week I had the misfortune to watch what has been on the monitors at the front of the building. Normally I listen to music on a small MP3 player and can ignore the images, but I lost it and can’t afford to get a new one at the moment.
There are about half a dozen large screens at the front of the gym displaying the most depressing mix of programmes. Depending on the time of day the mix has been slightly different, but the following are nearly always there and seem to me warrant some discussion.
BTW A big shout out and thanks to all the brilliant staff at Tudor Grange!
On one screen there have been alternate showings of the awful Murder, She Wrote with sleuth Jessica Fletcher played by Angela Lansbury. I thought she was good in Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks – but this American-made program is truly awful. Every stereotype possible is portrayed
Murder, She Wrote alternates with reruns of Midsomer Murders – a badly-acted whodunit set in a fictional English county that has a higher murder rate than downtown Johannesburg. John Nettles plays the slightly world-weary detective who must pick his way through panting second-rate English actresses who have affairs left right and centre while trimming orchids with huge pairs of secateurs. The women always hate their fat successful husbands and the men are so rude and uncouth that the viewer wonders why they weren’t topped decades before. It is like a cross between Eastenders, Women In Love and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
What always amazes me about programmes like this is that murder is a crime most foul yet it is the subject of afternoon television. Bodies litter the twee landscape at a time young children come in from school and nobody bats an eyelid. Would rape or any other serious crime be so funny and titillating?
There have been a range of quizzes, some aimed at adults and some for children. On reflection these have probably been the least annoying, although I have some criticisms.
Edmonds is one of a happily dying breed of shitty deejays that cut their teeth on BBC Radio 1 and went on to annoy people across a wide range of platforms. It would have better for everyone if they’d cut their throats instead. Radio 1 deejays are the slimy wankers satirised in The Fast Show’s ‘Smashy and Nicey’
As I was watching without any sound it took me some time to realise what was going on. I naively imagined there was some skill to the programme but eventually realized it was all down to luck. One of the major common denominators of rubbish television is the link to money. We’re all short of money in this crazy era of ‘austerity’ so quiz shows and a high proportion of adverts involve ugly fools waving wads of cash.
Shitty Antiques Shows
Another programme shown at this time and concerned with wads of cash was entitled “Secret Dealers” This cheap show was another offering from ITV – Independent Television – and sadly wasn’t about exposing drugs or arms sales but followed a group of unlovable antiques dealers as they tried to buy items for less than their market value from members of the public.
If greasy men with cufflinks are your bag then this could be the TV show for you. The worst part of the programme was when the dealers paid the money for the kitsch and the cameras zoomed in on the fistful of notes as if nobody had ever seen £500 before.
I’ve decided this type of thing should be called ‘Money Porn’.
As a final tie-in with the crappy show, when the credits were rolling the audience were invited to take part in a telephone competition to win THOUSANDS OF POUNDS! Sorry to shout, but that’s how it was portrayed. All the lucky winner had to do was ring a premium rate line and answer a simple question like “Who is the current Queen of England?” I’d say they were aiming at the same customer demographic that guiltily buys scratchcards from newsagents. I use the term ‘guiltily’ as I’ve witnessed many folks, mainly female and middle-aged, buy these cards and they usually ‘remember’ to ask for the items as if an afterthought. I always feel sorry for these people but what can I do?
This brings me nicely to the next category, advertisements, or commercial breaks as they were formally euphemistically called. We rarely watch television at home and when we do I normally record the programme beforehand so we can whizz through the adverts on fast-forward at 32x normal speed. Consequently I rarely watch adverts nowadays. I’m happy to say I didn’t know what I was missing. I’d guess that nearly half the adverts involve the waving of wads of cash as mentioned above. These range across smarmy solicitors offering their services to folk who have been mis-sold pension and payment protection plans by our friends the banks, offers to buy old mobile telephones and computer games for cash, cod competitions that ask inane questions that have to be answered on expensive premium rate telephone lines and spurious life assurance schemes promoted by fading former TV personalities like Michael Parkinson.
Then there are the adverts for hair stuff, cosmetics and bath and shower products that all feature attractive women rubbing their bodies lovingly while in an ecstatic state normally only brought about by powerful psychoactive drugs, sex or direct religious experience. For a combination of all three – see crappy Christian crooner Cliff Richard.
These models are at the opposite end of the female body continuum from those used in adverts where the advertiser wants to appeal to ordinary people without using sex. So in adverts for pretend food for dieters, help-lines for dumbos – like confused.com, online bingo, banks and financial products where the advertiser wants to get across the idea that most of the clients are stupid (for that read normal folk) we only see overweight women with cheap haircuts. There is no middle ground – women are either super-slim and sexy or morbidly obese and ugly.
Please note – this isn’t how I see women – this is how the advertisers want us to react.
Tomorrow – my take on Lady Gaga’s shitty videos.
See her latest costume from her new tour below