Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Back from t'other side of the world

OK so I didn't get to post anything about Foreignland tv from the other side of the globe. Three simple reasons:-
  • I didn't take my laptop as my slavish desire to travel hand-baggage-only trumps my wanting-to-interwebulate needs;
  • I did have net access on hotel machines in their business centres but spent that time checking work emails. Sadly;
  • My sunning/drinking/sunning-whilst-drinking time was paramount.

But I have to admit South African telly did have some genuinely odd moments.

The main soap (or "soapie" in the delightful way they refer to these things over there) seemed to be set in a coffee shop. The cast - seeming to stretch to around six people in any one episode even if there were twenty on the titles - were all fine soap actors. That is they can remember vast tracts of rubbish, spew it out without laughing or bumping into each other and hold the look of shock/upset/anger for the requisite five seconds at the end of every scene.

The plot was interminable, about someone nicking money from the till. I saw several episodes from this daily show over two weeks (it was on in between afternoon sunning and evening drinking times, I'm not that sad) but nothing happened in that plot in ten episodes. Hell, they discussed it at great length. And discussed who to discuss it with. But nothing actually happened.

So far, so Neighbours.

Except I must admit a huge admiration for this show, something I've never had for the Ramsay folk thing. Because the six cast members switched between languages at will. English in one scene, then Xhosa in another, then the occasional burst of Afrikaans. Subtitles popped up occasionally but not all the time. So these people had memorised pages of vacuous shite in three languages. Bless.

Otherwise the tv there was of a fairly standard abroad-like quality. Lots of 'empowerment' shows with people saying how they'd learned to read and got a job. Bad half-hour infomercials about car insurance. Cheapo sets. Hilariously bad graphics. Imports all over the place.

I must mention the one person who livened up every evening, the newscaster on SABC2's Afrikaans news service (or 'nuus', their cunningly disguised word). He was obviously a hundred years old, but disguised this masterfully with what must've been an inch of white powerdy makeup so he looked like Michael J. Fox's ghost. Without the twitches.

But the SABC2 makeup lady, obviously taken on after Barbera Cartland popped her clogs, didn't stop there. Mr Nuus's cheeks were wonderfully rouged up, two lovely red circles on his oh-so-pale face. And he wore one of the worst wigs I've ever seen - a full head job as well - in a fetching shade of gingery puce. It even seemed to be at a jaunty angle.


No comments: