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TUBE TALK: Everything comes to an end


TUBE TALK with John T Forde

Everything comes to an end

When I was 10, I turned down Saturday morning piano lessons because they would interfere with my morning cartoon-watching regime. Years later, I still can’t read music, but I can recall every episode of The Muppets and Fraggle Rock ever made.

Such is the allure of television – it’s a guilty pleasure that provides temporary thrills when we know we should be doing something more intellectually stimulating, like learning Russian, doing stomach crunches or redecorating the country home. Sure, it’s trashy and ultimately forgettable, but it’s a fun distraction from life’s banalities, and less strenuous than becoming a serial killer.

In a year of watching and reviewing television, I’ve learnt certain universal truths that are worth passing on. Firstly, and most importantly, Hair is Destiny. The better your onscreen coiffure, the less likelihood you have of being killed off in an early episode of your TV series. (Good riddance, Cold Feet’s Rachel, you whiny flat-haired dishrag). Office desks are for rough rear-entry sex with your foxy work colleague, not for doing work on. (Thank you, The Practice). Politically correct story lines about the struggles of self-righteous working class families make tedious television. ( Shortland Street, take note). Self-obsessed American bimbos crying in thong bikinis make great television. (Thank you, Temptation Island). And if a TV programme isn’t made by HBO ( The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex & The City), then it probably aint worth watching.

The other scary reality of TV reviewing is that, sooner or later, the same atrophied shite comes back to haunt you. Just as bum-dancing Sarah-Marie made cellulite fashionable in the first, ghastly-but-compulsively-watchable Big Brother, along comes a second and even a third series, hosted by the perennially annoying Gretyl Killeen.

Just as two blonde Texans cried their way into the hearts of a soulless millionaire in The Bachelor, along comes a new series, complete with a new posse of wide-eyed, big-toothed piranhas fighting for the affections of a walking Ken doll.

And just when you thought you’d seen your last toothless truck stop hooker being cussed out by the audience on Jerry Springer, another single-celled organism with a bad perm rises, phoenix-like, to claim the White Trash crown.

The moral of the story? Like snakes in a biblical plague, TV will eventually turn and eat itself, regurgitating and reworking the same tired old concepts, until we’re all watching snuff movies instead of Saturday morning cartoons and not batting an eyelid. On the upside, since we’re all watching the same shows anyway, we TV reviewers can recycle jokes we used three weeks ago and still sound witty, erudite and fantastically shaggable.

So watch or don’t watch. Believe that buying products from shopping channels will make you thinner and more attractive, or find Jesus on Sunday morning happy-clappy broadcasts. Accept thoughtlessly the myths about men, women and nations that TV perpetuates, or train your own eye on the world.

The choice is yours. Keep on trucking, y’all.

mailto:tubetalk@nzoomail.com

This is John T. Forde’s last Tube Talk column for Capital Times. He is off to to find fame, fortune and fun in London.

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