Thursday, July 28, 2005

Das Box

One of the hidden advantages of my protracted throat virus has been the oodles of television I have been able to watch. I must start by confessing that TV is my least favourite medium. I have come to learn that I am not the target audience that most producers have in mind. I am not part of the great American middle class. Nor am I a housewife with a penchant for soap. I do not have a life which allows me to be in every Wednesday at 8 pm to follow the next episode of whatever is on offer. The only reason I have a television in my room is for me to absorb another, more intelligent medium : cinema.
Back to TV. Let's begin with the phoren stuff. The "entertainment" channels (as they have dubbed themselves) mostly have B or C grade serials which wouldn't merit prime time in any other part of the world. For example, it is not unusual to have an episode from the first series of "Friends" running on any three of them. There is the usual dose of gore and violence. The film channels are devoted exclusively to "Arnold" and "Sylvester". As I am not a Bicep Buff, these hold little (if any) charm. Unfortunately, the Turner Movie Channel does not run any longer on my cable networks and I am deprived of good queenie doses of Garbo, Hepburn, Bacall, Davis and Crawford. (No, that is not the name of a law firm.) There is the divine Oprah (where would we be without her worldly wisdom) and the truly ghastly Jerry Springer (white trash as art form?).
Onto the local stuff. Desi entertainment is, in short, one long soap opera. This usually perpetrates some of the ghastliest stereotypes in the guise of a good long weepie. The centrifugal force here is provided by the Mother/Mother in Law (twitching eyebrows, dark lipstick, a smile from hell) and the less-than-innocent Daughter/Daughter in Law (peroxide hair, tight fitted clothing and a voice to grate parmesan with.). The men in these productions are good looking drones with great profiles, tight buns and no personality. Clearly this a female dominated medium (the "dramatists" are invariably women) in which women rule and men are ruled. There's obviously some subliminal fantasy playing itself out here.
And then we have the local "hip" programming. This usually consists of music videos, some exceedingly good (dubbed "superhits") and others atrocious. The latter consist of handycams capturing some prepubescent, acne-ridden soul warbling on about unrequited love. There are several "segments" (as they are called in the trade) which deliberate about fashion, makeovers and the "celebrity" interview. The hostess (invariably called "Tina" or "Neeni") is a California Blonde with with a spray-on T shirt and platform shoes from a Swedish porn video. The one I watched had a tennis prodigy sit in a deep chair, well formed thighs splayed wide apart, crotch at camera level, while he went on about how much he loved his mother. There's hidden sex oozing all over the place here. And then there's the fashionistas flouncing across the screen bragging about their latest offshore acquisitions. ("Here's a furrrrrrrrr I bought in New Yorrrrrrrrrrk.") Little "aunties" with heads covered cook fictitious food in a sponsored cooking medium. ("And here we have Battered Chicken in a tomato ketchup-mayonaise-pineapple sauce cooked in high cholesterol Sunshine Oil.")
So what is the verdict? Is television really about having people in your living room whom you wouldn't normally have in your house? More loftily, is it true that "television knows no night. It is perpetual day. TV embodies our fear of the dark, of night, of the other side of things." More Banally: Does the sun always shine on TV? After my brief flirtation with the medium, I think I'm happier living without it. Except for Oprah.


Blogger Sin said...


The sun may not always shine on TV, but it sure as hell has on my PC today.

4:12 pm  
Blogger Sister Spikey Mace of Desirable Mindfulness said...

It's not much better in the US. I believe daytime TV is the best reason to be an employed, productive member of society.

8:13 pm  
Blogger say what? said...


dont ever watch arabic soaps man ..

i used to be a tv addict, my parents got so pissed they sent me to a military school :D ..

i think they did it right, now i hate tv more than ever, detest any medium that causes brain damage (except well when the discovery channel is on ofcourse :)).

Jerry Springer might look a lowly person who likes to do bad stuff. But search for his credentials. You would be amazed. He is a jew and a higly respectable one too. A journalist and a human rights activist. On an intervew he was asked about his show and he said thats just for fun. heh. The show his interview was aired on was Parkinson, I think.

10:43 am  

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