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The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘big brother’

“Bread And Circuses” – The Future Of Celebrity Television

Posted by BigWords on February 10, 2010

Despite the lacklustre Celebrity Big Brother being taken off the air for good (hopefully), there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for shows featuring jobbing nonentities posing as “celebrities”. Lets face facts – shows featuring these alleged celebrities have been done to death, and no matter what new twists are introduced into stale formats, nothing is going to increase interest above the steady beep of a flatline. It is far past time to shake things up, and reintroducing people to the wonderful and life-enhancing spectacle of the Roman Empire’s one great gift to culture may be the way to go. You might think that Gladiators (or American Gladiators to those in the colonies) is cool – which it isn’t – but it hardly lives up to its’ name.

Where are the lions? Where is the bloodshed? The show doesn’t even come close to living up to its’ name.

We need the UK’s very own millionaire arch-bastard, manipulator of truth, and cynical exploiter of the vulnerable and weak – Simon Cowell is the man best positioned to usher in a new golden age of celebrity-focused shows. He’s amoral enough to see the potential of thinning out the ranks of the deluded, the has-beens, and the never-were’s, and I have just the vehicle for him. The idea is simplicity squared, though nobody else would dare come up with such a radical departure from the tried and mistrusted formulae which so many shows prefaced by the word celebrity rely on. We should look to the glory and splendor of the arena… Where even the most untalented one-hit-wonder will be able to regain a sliver of dignity before their untimely demise.

A big arena… eight celebrities armed to the teeth with swords, maces, javelins, nets and shields… One survivor victor to walk away with the greatest prize imaginable – their career life…

Who, you ask, could possibly take part? Well, nobody is really going to miss the Krankies. Or Cannon and Ball, Dame Edna, Pamela Anderson, The Hoff, that stuttering waste of oxygen from Pop Idol (no, I didn’t bother learning his name), or even Paris Hilton. Only the lowliest and most untalented need apply. Hell, stick Melinda Messenger in there with an axe and you’ll have a first-rate fight on your hands. The Russell Crowe film Gladiator was a success for a reason, and that reason is very easy to work out – people like watching other people get their heads caved in. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that by adding celebrities (however minor and uninteresting they may be) you’ll have something that is really worth watching.

Is this unreasonable? Well… No. Considering how Channel 5 have already shown Cheggers (now there is someone whom I’d pay to watch getting ripped apart by lions) in the buff and Abi Titmuss tossing off a pig, I doubt that many people would consider blood sports being brought back a dip in quality. Considering how cheap the show would be to make – what with there being only one contestant to pay off at the end of a series – this could be the very thing that saves British television.

If only the title Celebrity Death Match hadn’t already been taken…

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Real Life Still Isn’t Represented In Media

Posted by BigWords on October 26, 2009

People are so varied that sometimes, just when you least expect it, an individual will emerge from an unlikely and obscure place and their story will take on a life of its’ own. There are the bona-fide experts on subjects who make ridiculous statements with all the seriousness they can muster, and some – Edward De Bono – are even taken seriously by people who should know better. There are the bored code-monkeys who discovered how to make money from thin air, kids who fool the world with balloon-related pranks, and actors jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa.

Great way to prove you ain’t gay, Tom…

Oh the joys of seeing the things that go on. If I tried to write a novel which encompassed the absurdities of life, and kept strictly to things which have actually occurred, it would be laughed out of town as unbelievable. Life is complicated, and sexy, and hilarious, and ridiculous, and disgusting, and horrifying… Simplifications of what our existence amounts to in fiction makes reality even more ridiculous when viewed through sober eyes and a clear mind.

It’s hard to put down on paper (or type, as I do) fiction that contains just enough absurdity to reflect reality, but doesn’t fall into unbelievability. I still haven’t worked out if I should try to explain why people are so wrong when they claim that some fiction is like life ripped from reality and pasted on the page. Does it matter that such a feat is impossible? The ailments, observations, minutia, boring bits, slapstick and bowel movements of the average person (though such an individual arguably does not exist) cannot be captured on paper without some degree of editing.

“Literary” still has some growing up to do before I take it seriously.

Any ‘reality’ is a skewed one when put on paper. The digital superhighway – such a stupid term, but a useful way of comparing the internet to a neverending traffic jam – is filled with supposedly ‘real’ moments in private lives. I’ve got no time for moronic “Lookit me, I’m setting my head on fire” videos, and even less time for ten-minute-long videos of people bemoaning their pathetic existence. It isn’t real, because the artifice of display gets in-between the truth and the viewer. Big Brother, whilst listed as a ‘reality show’ is merely the end result of focus groups and sadistic producers. No reality involved.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and websites this past week which seem inclined to accept stories in newspapers at face value. The habit certain individuals have gotten into, of merely saying whatever in the news interests them, is a bad one. I’m tempted to start linking to these blogs and taking apart the news they hold dear, but I really don’t want to re-read their take on the news. Which is, as any intelligent person can see from the cover of a newspaper, nearly always skewed and distorted by reporters and editors.

One of the funniest things about British news is the insistence that half-naked women are of urgent importance and news worthiness. No. Sorry, but I’m not impressed. It’s trifling and irrelevant scum journalism which borders on the stalker-ish. Two-page spreads on forthcoming television shows? Hackery of the worst kind. Giveaways? That’s a sure way to increase readership, especially when a national tabloid decides that cartoon DVDs will boost readership. Can I say “The Sun / Daily Star / Daily Record was grooming children” without a lawsuit? Fuck yeah. Try and stop me.

Only when all barriers between subject and audience has been removed will reality be represented in anything other than a superficial and meaningless way, and we ought to start taking what we see, hear and read with a pinch of salt. It is especially important that people come to realize that Hollywood – that legendary vile den of iniquity – shoulders a fair proportion of the blame for ills which are now, sadly, all too common. Anorexia? Thank the airbrushed posters of skeletal good-for-nothings celebrities.

The rise in breast implants? Posters of Keira Knightley with massive tits ain’t fooling anyone. I’m shocked that people believe the ‘perfect people’ are free of cellulite, blemishes and zits; elevated individuals who have never experienced the delights of either diarrhea nor broken noses… It’s dangerous portrayals of ‘the body beautiful’ which infect minds and begin the slow descent into self-awareness in teenagers. And younger. Can’t we, as a species, accept that we’re fed so much bullshit from the media?

Yeesh, that’s a rant and a half… I’m stopping before I upset anyone else. If I’ve missed any targets, please let me know who to lay into next.

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The Pain Never Ends…

Posted by BigWords on June 30, 2009

It continues and continues and continues… I am, of course, talking about the endless stream of sub-par, quasi-retarded ‘reality’ television shows. The worst offender is, by a large margin, Big Brother, whose selection policy for contestants seems to be asking them a handful of rather simple questions:

  1. Do you know your own name?
  2. Can you tie your own shoelaces?
  3. Are you insane?

If they answer ‘yes’ to all three questions they get in. Lord Reith must be doing pirouettes in his fucking grave.

I don’t blame Channel 4. Not in the slightest. I blame the people who keep watching the show, hoping to catch the three minutes of actual entertainment broadcast in any 24 hour period, who gossip about the mundanities of the talentless, underachieving morons who parade their inadequacies to the nation in a series of humiliating and demeaning ‘challenges’. If there was a God, then the house would burn to the ground with all the contestants still inside.

Why do I care?
Well, apart from the fact that these kinds of shows are taking valuable television air-time away from shows which have writers, whose production needs actors, and whose shelf-life is a little longer than a bottle of milk, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with reality television. If the UK can’t create some new series, which have intricately crafted plots, subtle acting and intelligent messages, then the reputation for class and elegance (which we have been fooling the world with) is gonna be screwed.

There’s a thin line between populist broadcasting and whoring, and Channel 4 is pulling up her fishnets and scribbling “£20” on the side of her white stillettos.

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