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Tube Talk: ‘Tis the Season to be Brain Dead’

Tube Talk with John T. Forde

‘Tis the Season to be Brain Dead’

If Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Son of God, then Christmas television is proof that the Apocalypse is nigh.

For most of us, the holiday season is a demolition derby of overeating, hideous Christmas presents, drunken attempts to make conversation with inbred relatives and mustering courage to snog a passing tourist on New Year’s Eve. On TV, Christmas is a glossy Lotto-ad, full of glassy-eyed people dancing on rain-free beaches and buying each other presents they actually like.

It’s evil propaganda, of course, concocted to make us buy more crap we don’t need. Or, in the case of last week’s filling-gratingly-bad Kiwi Christmas, it’s an excuse for TVNZ’s PR department to showcase some seriously day-old celebrity bread.

Hosted by everyone’s favourite old TV slapper Kerre Woodham (complete with toothy smile and gravity-defying boobs falling out of a low-cut top), the show intercut mundane footage of old Santa Parades with even more mundane interviews with freshly exhumed has-beens like Ray Woolf. The horror!

After five minutes of terminally smug How’s Life host Charlotte Dawson chirping on about childhood Christmases, I was reaching for the razor blades and gin bottle. Couldn’t she have just spilled the beans on whether Russell Crowe really does yell “Go, Russ, Go!” in the sack?

Thank God for TV3’s last minute programming change on Sunday night to screen the thrillingly awful Truth Behind The Sitcom Scandals. Forget New Zealand celebs pretending that they’re just normal people – this show paints celebs as the morally decayed and ruthlessly ambitious whores they really are.

For those of you whose cultural references don’t pre-date Britney Spears, Diff’rent Strokes was a mildly progressive early-80s sitcom about two African-American boys living with a kindly white millionaire and his daughter. Pint-sized child star Gary Coleman fared worst: lauded for his cuteness (it was, in fact, a growth disability), he made millions before being ripped off by his pimp-like parent-managers.

“I treat women with respect”, the adult Gary barked. Cut to footage of Gary being trialled for assaulting a female fan, and later, working as a security guard and throwing himself, leech-like, on someone’s car windscreen. “Get him off!”, the driver screamed, as Gary started attacking the windscreen wiper with his teeth.

Fellow star Dana Plato feared worse, hitting career Skid Row and making a softcore porn film (entitled, naturally, Diff’rent Strokes), before ODing on painkillers and being photographed dead by her white-trash boyfriend. Showbiz ‘aint pretty, possums.

The moral of the story? If you’re going to be a celebrity, lose the family friendly Christmas spiel and develop an interesting addiction instead. Sell out ruthlessly, then blame everyone else for your failure when your career combusts. Sleep with everyone, binge-eat and get photographed with chicken on your face while you’re falling out of a limousine with an underage rent boy. And then, pray like hell that you’ll get your own trashy TV special to make a comeback on.


© Scoop Media

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