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Paul Smith: What's new pussycat?

What's new pussycat?

By Paul Smith

It's impossible to watch telly these days without lamenting the death of originality. It doesn't seem to worry the networks that they're all cloning one form of entertainment. Wish it had a name as easy as say, tabloidism or infotainment. Let's just call it Enter-samement.

It'll do to describe this genre in which contestants are chosen only to become losers - or even worse - subjects of scorn and humiliation in front of millions of viewers.

And in every programme as somebody is eliminated in these endless episodes of schadenfreude, there's always the same de-lib-er-ate patter from the host, the same doomsday background music. Then - of course - there's… Omigod… tears, bucket loads of them from winners and losers. It's unending, it's the same. It's enough to make you puke except that they're already doing that on screen in Fear Factor after stuffing themselves with a salad of spiders and snails and a vinaigrette of snake's piss.

But I digress - there are pretty young things surviving the hardships of Pacific islands, (there are hardships on Pacific Islands?) accompanied by men with six-pack abs. (Beer guts were eliminated, silly!); men compete in kitchen contests, men and women contend to lose weight, women struggle through bitchfests of banality called model contests.

Come on - there has to be an upside - and there it was screening peak time on our public broadcaster TVNZ just the other night. Yet another competition, this time pitting pussy-cat against pussycat in The Search For The Next Pussycat Doll. Once more the dread moment arrived; bass notes signalled televisual judgment was about to be made. And so it came to pass that programme's host let us know in funereal tones:

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'Jamie, it's time to hang up your boa. You will not be the next Pussycat'.

Now that's what I call an upside. And just think. After they find the best pussycat, somebody will begin the quest for the next Tomcat - and we're still talking humans here. Jamie may not know it yet, but there's a blessing in that retired boa.


Paul Smith is the founder of kiwiboomers.co.nz a website for New Zealand's babyboomers.

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