Monday, August 14, 2006

Shit Happened One Night

Given the desperately low quality of Australian television in general, it seems unfair to take one particular night, hold it against the wall and have Roman Polanski slice its nose open. Yet if ever an evening of tv deserved such treatment it is Sunday night. I realise that later in the evening you might strike it lucky with a mini-series on the ABC or an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and those with a taste for elaborately disassembled corpses are well served by the eight hours of CSI Nine routinely schedules, but for sheer density of televisual shite, Sunday night between six thirty and eight thirty is hard to beat.

Take last night. Come six thirty, one could either be enlightened/terrified by SBS's World News, or one could have one's brain removed from one's head with a straw by a quartet of truly sucky programmes. Reading from left to right - but not necessarily from smart to dumb, even in relative terms - the ABC served up another suspenseless instalment of The Einstein Factor, a game show hosted by a man with no obvious comedic or even English language skills in which contestants face off against a panel of alleged celebrities with alleged brains in order to win, well, bugger all, actually. Apparently the title of the show was suggested by the famous paradox used to illustrate special relativity in which one twin travels into space at almost the speed of light, leaving his brother behind. When the space-travelling twin returns to Earth, he finds that his brother has aged faster than he has, yet they are both still significantly more talented than Peter Berner.

On Seven, Kochie and Mel asked Where Are They Now and, unfortunately, received an answer every time. Guess what - Rick Springfield is still not dead! And the woman who played Liesel in The Sound of Music is...somewhere! Doing something! Fascinating stuff, but if nothing else Where Are They Now demonstrates what you can do with CGI these days - for a moment I was fooled into thinking the slavering gibbons in the studio audience were actual people, but surely that can't be true. Nine ran a repeat of 20 to 1, an arbitrary countdown through a loosely-themed collection of iconic phenomena, "iconic" in this sense meaning whatever was nearest the door of the network archives when they were assembling material. Bert Newton must be so pleased to have returned to prime time hosting not one but two absolute turkeys. And what happened to Bud Tingwell? Perhaps that's a job for Kochie and Mel.

The less said about Ten the better. Something called Girlband was followed at six thirty by Australia's Brainiest BB06 Housemate, yet another squeeze of an already-wrung-dry chamois. Then, at seven thirty, the coup de merde was delivered with Australian Idol, which doubtless featured yet more "hopefuls" warbling whatever shite it is they're all warbling this year. Utter crap.

Of the other channel's seven thirty offerings, forget 60 Minutes (tripe), Lost Worlds (probably tripe) and In Search of Myths and Heroes (given it was hosted by Michael Wood, I'd say almost definitely tripe). No, the big premiere last night was Seven's new quiz show You May Be Right. Taking its cue from (read: blatantly ripping off) the likes of Spicks and Specks, RocKwiz, and Good News Week, You May Be Right managed to combine comedy, music and trivia into something you might consider taking home to mama, if your mama was Myra Hindley. I only watched it until the first commercial break, but that was long enough for me to recognise You May Be Right as the single dodgiest new show on commercial tv this year, even worse than Clever and Yasmin Wants To Get Pimped By A TV Station, or whatever it was called. Put it this way: it's hosted by Tod McKenny, the poor man's Hugh Jackman, and features the Scared Weird Little Guys, a combo who manage to simultaneously perpetrate crimes against both music and comedy. Ugh.

See what I mean? Two hours of crap viewing on all channels, at the precise moment end-of-weekend lethargy kicks in and other entertainment options - reading a book, listening to music, restoring an antique sideboard - cease to appeal. All you want to do is plop down and watch some tv, yet there is nothing watchable on. That's why, when God rested on the seventh day, he made sure he had his DVD player set up. That way he could watch Chinatown for the hundredth time, instead of having to deal with the folksy smarm of Mel and Kochie. Not even the Lord is that tolerant.


Tony.T said...

You May Be Right was dismal in the extreme. I managed 'til the second ads then just turned the telly off in disgust.

I seem to recall Seven recently boasting that Nine News was just copying Seven's gear. At least TV news in partially worthwhile. Unlike YMBR. What a load of unmitigated shit!

Tony.T said...

I mean, audience members sang, for fuck sake!

TimT said...

I was cheering for that kid on The Einstein Factor - what was her name? Cassie? Gave back to Peter Berner plenty of shit. Can't figure out why she was obsessed with Stargate, though - I mean, if you're going to have an obsession, have an obsession. But Stargate?

Tony.T said...

The only reason that kid won is because she was marginally less moronic than the other two idiots.