Saturday, February 14, 2015

8 out of 10 cats

The show is based on statistics and opinion polls, and draws on polls produced by a variety of organisations and new polls commissioned for the programme, carried out by company Harris Poll.

When eating and unable to do anything else with my hands I turn to back episodes of 8 out of 10 cats. Not the greatest show, but a reliable featurer of Sean Lock and Jon Richardson.

Normally something like a British Panel show would not be worth writing about, but 8 out of 10 cats is noteworthy not just because it has no Australian spin off that I know of, but also because it's poorly made.

It's first segment which despite being first, takes up 2/3rds of every episode consists of sort of open conversation between panelists on what were the most 'talked about' topics in Britain.

This is the thing, almost every week in Britain, one of the three most talked about things is one of 'The X-Factor' 'Britain's Got Talent' or 'Strictly Come Dancing'

I imagine this reflects news coverage, twitter trends and whatever other social media platforms that their diagnostics can glean.

I suspect I shouldn't draw too many conclusions from low budget comedy panel shows, but I do suspect that this is objectively verified.

It isn't just a perception that everyone's disillusioned with politcs, the economy etc. and obsessed with celebrity. But people's attention really is on 'reality tv'. The people aren't just disillusioned, but willfully illusioned.

I stopped following news quite some time ago. And more recently stopped reading my news feed on facebook even. This for me was the realisation that nothing in the newspaper is particularly important for me to know.

But in the UK at least, news coverage is dedicated to reality tv shows. Shit that isn't just unimportant to know, but at best a synopsis of shit that isn't news, because they are covering events that transpire on air.

I don't really live in a world of TV viewers, and haven't for quite some time. So I'm simply not qualified to make any suppositions about Australia. My work occassionally has me experience the bizarre phenomenon of 'My Kitchen Rules is on.'

But I couldn't characterise the public at large as a bunch of reality tv feasting slack jawed yokels. I don't think that is going on. But it certainly could be, and at the very least a lot of 'talent' shows are being produced and advertised.

In 1993 'Red Faces' was a rip of the US 'Gong Show' that was a segment in the middle of the program 'Hey Hey It's Saturday'. It quite possibly found more stars who made better livings than everything from Idle, X-Factor, Australia's Got Talent, the Voice etc. combined. The thing is, now though our whole TV program appears to be reality-talent shows, and disillusioned as you may be about the state of politics, These shows have an even worse record at producing competence and longevity.

And that's worrying.

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