Monday, 7 January 2008

Unreality shows...

Happy 2008 and all that. This is my seventeenth calendar year of working for the tellingvision, and I'm not at all jaded by it, oh no. Actually, despite having the attention span of a goldfish and the cynicism of Jeremy Paxman squared, I still love a good tv show. Be it a nice drama like Life on Mars or Torchwood (both back soon), a superbly produced factual show like Top Gear or Antiques Roadshow (and I totally HATE antiques but love the show) or a sitcom containing laughs like... erm... well, six year old repeats of Will and Grace (thanks for bringing it back on Sundays Living!)

Which is why I'm writing about reality shows.

Well, not really. I don't really do reality shows any more. Sadly, with American writers on strike, it's wall-to-wall reality shows Stateside. They've even brought back Gladiators. Yikes.

So I managed to catch some reality shows during the past few days, a situation I'm not too sure why I allowed to happen. Maybe I should call them 'people' shows as I'm including talent shows too. Here are three examples:-

I once wrote a show called... well, it didn't have a title, that was one of the problems with it. It was a talent show where people competed to be the best 'tribute act' - but I felt Britain's Best Tribute Act was a rubbish title and ended up calling it "the lookalikey/soundalikey thing". My boss thought it was a rip-off of Stars In Their Eyes but with the added boredom of the same singers over and over again - a fair point I thought. So I added in people doing famous scenes from movies, as Humphrey Bogart or Harrison Ford, as well as the Elvises and Chers.

"More!" was my boss's retort, so in went famous news events (Churchill making a speech), TV show impersonations and an improv finale that was quite inspired I thought.

The boss was very happy with it, we sent it in to the BBC and got a flat rejection from them saying something along the lines of "talent shows featuring look- and sound-alikes aren't what we're about".


Things change, and The One And Only is about as simple a talent show as possible. No effort has been expended to make it original. It didn't make me want to kick the telly in but it wasn't exactly... er, well, any good either. What's the point of doing auditions if we can't laugh at the totally useless ones? That's the fun bit. Watching a quite good Robbie Williams battling a fairly decent dead-one-off-The-Carpenters is OK but nowhere near as much fun as watching Les Dawson dressed up like Britney Spears followed by a fat trannie Cher.

Wouldn't it have been much better if they'd called it that, eh? As in the name, that'd have been down wif da kidz. The show still wouldn't have been any good because the idea, to be frank, is cack. Matt Lucas telling an ugly politician-type to tell fibs. Oh hold my splitting sides.

The only point of Sleb BB was that it was famous people all forced to be together. George Galloway dressed up like a cat. Michael Barrymore smearing egg on his face. Vanessa Feltz being autistic. That's quite funny. The Sleb Jack is just dull.

They've only themselves to blame, C4. First they broke their own format by introducing a non-sleb who actually won, in yet another case of the audience doing exactly what the programme makers don't want. Yay audience! Then they let Horrid Shouty Witches be racist to that Nice Indian Lass, and did nowt about it. So they had to 'cancel' the series and do this totally new, unrelated at all, format. Ahem. Yeah right.

(Dermot, if you're reading, you're doing the right thing getting out now. Davina, be a love, you should do the same)

Watch this. It's on E! about twelve times a day. Go on. It's a show following some tart what had sex with someone famous-ish on the interslice and her 'wacky family' of other tarts and whores. It's astonishing. Imagine a bimbo more talentless, stupid and vacuous that Paris Hilton, and then times it by a hundred, and that's this show. It's even worse than that one on MTV where teenagers shag in a bus for a dollar. Or something.

So, to conclude, reality tv: no ta. If I wanted to watch real people I'd sit by a window next to a busy street.

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