Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Reports of Television's Death are premature, I'm happy to, er, report. There's some excruciatingly great TV on at the moment. Currently doing the dishes in my inner sink are:

"Surviving Nugent": irritating 70's Reactionary/Reaganite Rocker Ted Nugent hosts a Survivalist 'Reality' Show featuring a supposedly tokenist demographic (a lesbian, a vegan, a ghetto Black, a thick Italian Himbo/Adonis/Beefcake, a Hippie, a female fashion victim, blahblahblah...) who I'm convinced are actually actors or Stage-School kids from various failed US Boy/Girl bands.

These so-called 'contestants' are forced to hunt and kill animals with cross-bows, bathe in liquidised food and lick it off each other, etc....entertaining televisual 'tension' is hamfistedly generated when the vegan is forced to skin dead animals (and thus provokes Nugent's wrath by refusing) or the Token Middle-Class Arsehole is plied with alcohol and winds up the Fake Ghetto Girl in Backwards Baseball Hat ("Fuck you, dude!" "No, fuck you, white boy bitch!").

Nugent rides around on a quad-bike type affair that looks like a child-sized pick-up truck, mouthing hollow platitudes about Mother Nature and laughing like a cross between a hyena and Uncle Fester. He takes himself pretty seriously for a guy whose nose resembles a detail from a Francis Bacon painting. Still, it's unmissable stuff, purely for its complete lack of tension or genuine emotion or anything resembling an interesting human being or a sympathetic character. After a while, you can't even be bothered to hate Nugent: it's like watching corpses or a group of people nod-off on heroin. It's hollow and flaccid nonsense; relentlessly fake and empty: a perfect metaphor for TV itself. Meta-Television, anyone?

"Scream Team": a busful of weirdos and students travel around the countryside irritating the tits off the locals and solving 'spooky', pseudo-Fortean mysteries. Scooby-Doo, it ain't. Last night, they attempted to find out who (or what) had killed and decaptitated a wallaby in a animal sanctuary. Was it possibly the Black Puma of Durham, wondered a fat, bearded cryptozoologist.

An eccentric, extremely hyperactive Animal Psychic was despatched to take 'readings' from the dead animal's enclosure, concluding that it had been killed by some (other) psycho on crack who had broken in with his friends and mutilated the animal...bizarrely, a forensic vet confirmed this when he conducted an autopsy on the wallaby and declared that it had been killed with a hatchet, and along the way discovered a wound on the base of its spine that the Animal Psychic (gasp!) couldn't have possibly known about. Meanwhile, some young girls who were members of the team and whose purpose was never really explained wondered around giggling, wetting their knickers and generally behaving like Girls Aloud. One of them squealed and looked like she was about to puke at the autopsy. Ah, so that was her job...

The Psychic made a complete nuisance of himself by telling one of the sanctuary volunteers (a grown man) in front of his girlfriend that his chakras were out of balance and this is why he regularly wetted the bed. The guy went bright red with embarrassment, but the Psychic (obviously low on social skills) continued obliviously: "Ah, don't worry: it's just caused by emotional insecurity. Come and have a chat with me later and I'll tell you how to fix it..." What a bastard. Dunno who I felt more sorrier for: him or the wallaby...

And if that wasn't enough: "Scream Team" was followed by "Crime Business" featuring a blinged-up Goldie: "Tonight, we'll be talking about the business of crime. I'll be telling you who the major playas are and how they make their money. But first, we'll be looking at criminals who are hated by coppers and by other criminals. That's right: Grasses. We'll be investigating why people Grass on their friends and the terrible things that happen to them when they're found out..."

Priceless stuff.