Tuesday, 4 December 2007

TV I don't like: Part 2: "Self Improvement"

What is it with tv's obsession with bossy ladies turning up and telling people what to do? There's a new one on about arranged marriages now, a show so bizarre I don't know where to start. I can just imagine the pitch meeting:-

Tasteful if quite small office, plants and nice pictures and a few awards (no BAFTAS, more TV Quick's Best Daytime Show 1992 in quality). A posh lady with a £300 hair-do adjusts her £500 glasses and looks at the similarly-dressed posh lady pitching to her opposite.

(picking at her £5000 bracelet)

Hmm, I think I'll have to pass on Fat Pet Gym, sounds a little too similar to Get Your Pets Fit Not Fat! on Five. Anything else Jocasta?

(deperately flicking through notes and not finding anything)

Well, you know arranged marriages?

(doubtful, glancing at her £3000 watch)


I thought wouldn't it be, y'know, fun to try and arrange marriages for everyone! Not just... er... well... um... Asian or ethnic people, but whi- I mean caucasian people who have no tradition of arranged marriage.

(looking at her £100 manicured nails)


We'll focus on it being fun and light, none of that coercing women to marry men they haven't met or don't like, just light and fun?

Not sure about the ethics here...

Think of it as Supernanny for women instead of kids! Or What Not To Wear but with love not frocks! Or that one about dogs but with husbands instead of dogs!

(liking the comparisons)

Brilliant! And with an Asian host and everything! Multi-cultural but mainstream. Fun and light. Let's do it!


Sigh. I'm just bored of all these shows where some well-groomed lady with a £500 haircut in a £2000 pantsuit turns up and sneers at someone's food/house/kid/dog/clothes/fat arse, and then twenty-three minutes later their food/house/kid/dog/clothes/arse is transformed through the sheer power of the well-groomed lady.

The worst one had to be How Clean Is Your House? Like lots of this genre of shows, it starts off being quite interesting. Lots of info on different ways to do something. Quirky presenters. Comedy voiceover. Nice resolve at the end.
But then after a few eps, you can almost hear the producers screaming for something more interesting. We don't just want dirty people, we've had them, we want really hideously horribly filthy people. Look, this one's never ever cleaned their toilet - yay! There is rat shit in their baby food... brill! This one poos in a bag and puts it in the microwave... fab!

So the nice simple show about telling messy people how to clean up becomes a let's-laugh-at-the-borderline-mentally-disabled, full of shots of maggots, mank and monkeyshit, all to a puntastic voiceover and hilarious comedy music. It became something unwatchable at 8pm with your tea.

How Clean...? got so bad, I swear you could tell the presenters had been told to go easy on some of the filthmongers as they were either simple or mental. The dirty people, not Kim'n'Aggie.

So when I see newer shows like How To Look Good Naked I just can't be bothered. How many times can Gok Wan 'transform' normal-looking women into normal-looking women in heels and makeup who feel slightly better about themselves?

And as for arranged marriages - well, you're better off with Cilla Black in 'er wedding 'at on a Blind Date Wedding Special.

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