Following on from Valentine’s Day, Channel 4 has a documentary series going about people who have allowed themselves to be paired up by scientists and specialists, signing up to meet on their wedding day. (It turns out that this is actually the third series of it in the UK – and the results on the previous two series haven’t been all that promising!)
They’ve done it with some run-up in order to do all the stuff like declarations of intent to marry, telling family and friends, and make all the preparations. So they get told that they’ve been paired up (and are now ‘engaged’) and then six weeks later they’ll meet for the first time and get married.
Thursday’s episode was the first one, and basically all the set-up and preparations. From there I assume it’ll be about the aftermath, and how they work out once the wedding is done.
Marriage is something that, to be honest, leaves me cold – it really hasn’t ever appealed to me at all, and it’s never been on the list of Things To Do. And so far, there’s never been anyone I’ve been with who’s changed that opinion, or made me think differently about it at all.
But I do still find it an interesting concept, and the whole arranged-marriage type thing, of seeing how people handle that and so on. Whether I continue watching the programme or not is a different matter, but for now it’s at least vaguely interesting. We’ll see.
In general, I don’t watch loads of TV – and I’m fairly selective on what I do choose to watch. I’m also utterly rotten at binge-watching and spending a day just watching TV.
Taking that into consideration, there’s one programme/series where I break those rules – and it’s Masterchef Australia. I really like it, for a range of reasons – mainly, it’s *so* Australian, and so unlike any other version of the programme. The credits are bloody awful, but the rest of it is just something that appeals to me.
On the downside, it’s also frigging huge. This year it ran for 13 weeks, five nights a week. Thankfully it’s usually only 45 minutes per episode, but that’s still nearly four hours of TV a week, for 13 weeks. That is, for me, a lot of TV.
It’s finished now, and as always it feels like it’s been a slog to get through it. You have to keep up with it, or the backlog rapidly gets insurmountable.
As usual, I’m glad I’ve seen it – but I’m also glad it’s complete, and that this particular drain on my TV time is done.
This could almost be a PIDU post – but it’s not, and I don’t quite know why myself. But anyway…
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching Botched, a programme about Plastic Surgery, and primarily fixing the bad jobs that’ve already been done on people. It’s a ‘reality’ series, and kind of annoying, but also weirdly interesting. I find it fascinating to see the things that people have had done to themselves, the things that they feel insecure about, and what they put themselves through in order to feel better.
Personally, I don’t get that whole surgical self-improvement thing – I’m far more of an “accept what you are/have” person, which seems to result in a lot less stress. Then again, I’ve never been pretty, so I don’t have that innate vanity that sees Just One Thing that’s wrong. I don’t feel the need to “fix” things, so it’s all just a bit… alien to me.
The people who do want work done (and in the greatest number of cases, it’s definitely ‘want’ rather than ‘need’) are of interest to me, looking at the mindsets that are so obsessed with that One Thing that needs ‘fixing’, that if they fix that, then everything will be fine (while also never actually addressing the underlying insecurities that are driving the desire for surgery in the first place) and wondering why they only look at fixing the physical, rather than the mental and emotional issues that cause them to focus on these things.
More than anything, I think I feel sad for a lot of the people, to have lives that are so focused on something like that, and to be so desperate to get it fixed.
Anyway, it’s a rotten reality programme, but it still interests me for the people involved. Which, I suppose, is the whole point of reality programming.
Of late, I’ve been watching a few more TV programmes on commercial channels, and as a result I’ve been seeing a lot more of the ident/sponsorship captions at the start and end of each ad break. (I’m sure there’s a proper name for them, but ‘ident’ will do for now) However, they primarily stick in the mind because they annoy me.
I know advertising is supposed to be all about brand recognition, making things that stick in the mind so we remember the company when we’re looking for whatever product they’re hawking. But all the idents (and a number of the primary adverts as well) only stick in my mind in order to be companies that I never, ever give any money to. (Which has happened several times now, looking for a product or service and knowing I won’t use [x] because their adverts annoy me so much)
Part of it, and the part that grates with me the most on idents, is a lack of range. I assume it’s a budgetary thing or something, but lots of them seem to make five idents, and think that’s enough. However, there are four ad-breaks, so there’s should be eight idents. Instead, we end up repeating at least a couple of idents – in just one programme! – and all that makes me think about the company is that they either haven’t thought things through, or they’re just cheap. Either way, I can’t see that as being the reaction/perception that the company is aiming for when they’ve spent a bundle on buying the slots and making the idents.
I mind less when they’ve only done the one ident – even thought it means it can end up being seen eight times per episode – because at least it’s simple and easy. It’s the supposedly-funny ones that aren’t amusing in the first place, let alone once you’ve seen it twice in an hour, and even less so over the full run of any series.
Over the last couple of weeks, one of the satellite TV channels has been repeating one of my all-time favourite series, “The Closer“, and I’ve been recording and re-watching them. In some episodes it shows its age (it first went out in 2005) with the technology, phones etc., but that’s pretty much to be expected now.
Right from the start I liked it, each episode contained all the clues and ideas needed to solve the crimes, which raised it above an awful lot of the procedural dramas around. It was intelligent in a number of ways, but there was also a focus on personalities, clashes, and idiosyncracies.
I was well into it anyway, and then the last three episodes of the first season hooked me completely. I won’t go into the details, but the final episode of Season One has the best apology ever seen on TV, and it still makes me laugh, even knowing it was coming.
However, it also has a bit of a downside. The writing is so sharp, the characterisation so good (in my opinion, naturally) that I watch it – and a couple of other things, particularly “The West Wing” – and just find myself thinking that I’ll never be able to write like that.
I’m going to damn well try, don’t get me wrong, but yeah, it still makes me a bit demoralised about the whole thing. Fun and games.
Once again, the BBC has a series of the Apprentice running. And yet again, every single contestant currently appears to be an inveterate fuckknuckle with all the business skills of a bundle of second-hand scrotum skin.
What I don’t understand about the competitors (more even than being so massively underprepared and underqualified) is what think will happen afterwards. This year, there’s 18 competitors, and that means that 17 are going to lose, and go back to reality.
But anyone who has seen the programme will know that they’re insufferable, incompetent, and in most cases utterly vile human beings who couldn’t truly run a business if their lives depended on it.
So – what happens when they look for new work? Or even just return to the job where they’ve managed to negotiate a break or sabbatical? (Come to think of it, that situation might be even worse, with the added weight of expectations etc.)
I know that if, regardless of whether I were interviewing or being interviewed, any single one of them were in the room, I’d know they’re (at best) useless, gobby, opinionated, and shit at their supposed job; and wouldn’t work with them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d do the same.
All told, pretty mind-boggling.