Not owning a television receiver, being an off-peak gym member, and having friends and relatives with small children, I consume TV in odd ways. I rarely watch the box on purpose, and when I do it’s usually breakfast, daytime, and/or children’s TV.
Yesterday morning, as I stretched on a mat, I read the caption on Jeremy Kyle and saw that he was interviewing a woman (girl?) who claimed not to care who the father of her child was, but felt that it was in her daughter’s interest that she should know the result of a DNA test. This isn’t odd—for The Jeremy Kyle Show that is, a programme that might better be titled “Chav Wars“. As I passed the newsagents on the way home and noted from the front of one of the tabloids that, like her mother, Elizabeth Windsor is an Arsenal supporter, I wondered what Jeremy Kyle captions would be like if the participants were middle class*:
“He dumped me because my mum chewed gum and I said ‘toilet’.”
“Son Hugh wants to turn down his place to read French at Cambridge to do European Studies at Cardiff.”
“Our neighbours hate us because we like privet.”
“My ex-wife lied to the authorities to get Lucy into Thomas Telford School.”
“We don’t make our own soup.”
“My husband thinks opera is silly.”
And as for national children’s television: watching it, most newcomers to this country would come to the conclusion that Britain’s population is about 40 percent non-white. They’d be hugely wrong to do so, and that’s not the only reason why I’m not sure if this is a good thing.
Thanks to Amazon’s DVD rental by post system, I do however get to watch lots of excellent TV series and films—as you might have guessed from all the parodies of old films here and my hatred of spoilers. But this doesn’t mean I don’t deliberately sit down in front of rubbish. I choose much of what I order on the basis of friends’ recommendations. Rome was outstandingly good. Green Wing is excellent. But I thought the first series of 24 started well and sometime around noon began, hour by hour, to suck. In The Thick Of It disappointed for a different reason: being partly the creation of Armando Unfunnucci I wanted it to be bad, but it wasn’t. (I did laugh out loud when he talked in the DVD commentary about “lazy lazy journalists”. Anyone who has ever read his column at the back of The Observer would probably have done the same.)
But I wanted to talk about rubbish. Last week, based on my previous rentals, Amazon recommended the movie DOA—Dead Or Alive to me. I think the All Knowing Brain did this because (out of the kind of insane curiosity that tempts you when you have lots of free DVD slots to fill) I once added the shockingly bad B.E.I.N.G. to my rental list. For those of you who know Bowfinger, Steve Martin’s satire on low-budget Hollywood movie-making, B.E.I.N.G. is the mythical feature “Chubby Rain” made real. My theory was supported by one review that describes DOA—Dead Or Alive as “possibly one of the most gloriously stupid things I’ve ever seen”. Here’s more:
This one is apparently based on a videogame where a bunch of hot girls fight each other in small outfits. The story for this film is that a bunch of hot girls fight each other in small outfits, so I’m going to assume this is an accurate adaptation.
*[Having just read this back, it sounds as though I am using “chav” to mean a member of the British underclasses. I use the word “chav” to refer to a subset of people whose behaviour is irresponsible or illegal. There are rich chavs out there.]