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What do you think about TV?

Average: 2.9 (11 votes)
Danny Danny's been teaching English at EC Malta for over 10 years.

Last weekend, I spent a large part of Saturday and most of Sunday slouching in my armchair watching television. This wasn’t exactly by choice, you’ll understand…

Long story short, on Friday night I went to a party with the intention of staying there for a couple of hours and a drink or two, but the ‘drink or two’ somehow mutated into ‘a drink and then lots more than two’, and I ended up crawling home at six thirty the next morning, with the rising sun peering down at me from behind the tops of buildings like a disapproving nosey neighbour with nothing better to do and all day to do it in. When I was seventeen, partying all night was nothing that a ninety minute nap and a full English breakfast couldn’t cure, but now it’s twenty years later. Now, it takes me roughly ninety minutes after waking up just to open my eyes, and all the eggs, sausages and bacon in the world are as futile a remedy for a hangover as Coldplay is for a broken heart.

And so, I retreated to the comfort of my armchair and switched on the TV.

I have to clarify, at this point, that while I watch the television practically every evening, I very rarely watch television. Erm… what I mean is, while I constantly have a DVD spinning away in the machine, I haven’t actually watched any actual television broadcasts since pretty much forever ago.

Television isn’t what it used to be. For one thing, there are a lot more celebrities who, several years ago, wouldn’t even have been considered for celebrity status. I’m not talking about actors and singers and talk show hosts. Today, everyone is a celebrity. I watched a program hosted by a celebrity chef, whose main aim throughout the show seemed to be to scream and shout and generally be horrible to his guests, while attempting to break the world record for effing and blinding as often as possible within the space of forty minutes. Okay, so the guy appeared to be a terrific chef, and did such mouth-watering things to a fillet of beef that the cow probably gave up its life gladly in order to provide it, but I seriously doubt that “a ****ing gorgeous ****ing piece of ****ing tender meat, pan-fried, with a ****ing beautiful ****ing truffle sauce, served with ****ing caramelized onions and ****” would be a description that would ever find itself on any menu.

Next up was one of those home improvement shows, hosted by a celebrity… wait for it… a celebrity interior designer. The idea behind the show was this – the celebrity interior designer drove around Britain for “months on end” in search of the ugliest house he could find. When he found it, he would waltz in with flair and a flourish and his ‘team of experts’ and turn it from a pigsty to a palace over the weekend. He did not swear. He did not curse. He did not cook a beef fillet. Instead, he minced around the ‘lucky winners’’ house in a pair of leather designer trousers that were much too tight and a long leather designer jacket that was much too baggy, and was generally rude. He spoke with his eyes closed and through his unbelievably large nose, and used words like ‘hideous’ and ‘nauseating’ while the home owners – an old couple who didn’t quite know what he was waffling on about - stood just behind him in their cardigans and bedroom slippers, with slightly bemused smiles plastered across their faces. Then he screamed something on the lines of “I need some fishing line, a dozen empty bottles, a potter’s wheel, a dead flounder and six hundred bags of macaroni!” and got to work.

I think I passed out at that stage, so I never did find out what he did with the flounder and the macaroni. When I regained consciousness, there was a makeover show on…

… hosted by two celebrity… erm… two celebrity ‘people-who-know-what-you-should-wear-to-look-good’ women. These two witches were by far the worst of the lot.

“… you’re fat and you’re ugly but you don’t have to look fat and ugly if you don’t want to. You could be beautiful, if only you weren’t so fat and so ugly”, one of them was saying.

“Yes”, said the other, “and your clothes are rubbish and your hair is rubbish and everything about you is rubbish too. But you could be so much less rubbish if you just weren’t so rubbish”.

“So you’re fat. And ugly”, finished the first one. “And rubbish”.

Then the cameraman zoomed in for a close-up of the tears sliding down this poor contestant’s face as Witch Number One leaned in for a reassuring hug and a whispered promise of “But you’ll look and feel absolutely beautiful by the time we’re done with you! Would you like that, Brenda?”

And Brenda nodded, and gave her a tiny sad smile.

“Right then!” said Witch Number Two. “Let’s get started and throw away all your rubbish clothes…”

And so on and so forth. Over the weekend, I discovered a plethora of other foul-mouthed celebrity chefs, another handful of celebrity interior designers, three or four celebrity antique experts, a celebrity gardener and landscape designer, a celebrity hairdresser, a celebrity wine taster and a celebrity vet. All of these were people that I wouldn’t have let into my house had they come knocking at my door, yet somehow invited into my living-room via the TV. And all of them were either obnoxious, bad-tempered, opinionated, plain rude, loud-mouthed, in love with themselves or, in the case of Witch One and Witch Two, all of the above.

Who are these people? How did they end up on TV? Can anybody who happens to be gainfully employed just stride into a broadcasting company and demand their own show? In a few years’ time, will we be watching celebrity dustmen throwing garbage at celebrity road-sweepers, while celebrity bus drivers roar past with a busload of celebrity passengers?

Because, if that’s the case, then I want my own show too. I want to be a celebrity English teacher. I’ll call the show ‘Getting Tense!’, and I’ll have two teams of foreign students from different countries trying to outwit each other with their knowledge of idiomatic expressions and collocations. And I’ll shout at them whenever they get something wrong, and the losing team will have a hundred litres of fluorescent green gunk dropped on them from a height, while the winners will get a holiday to somewhere exotic where they can spend a wonderful two weeks busily engaging in some gerund or the other. Sound good?

No. It doesn’t.

Rant over. I’m off to bed. Just as soon as I whip up and polish off a full English breakfast…

By Danny, teacher EC Malta English school