Well I’m not sure about some of the things that happen these days, as there often just seems to be too many horrible things to focus on. A whole aeroplane full of passengers recently disappeared from the face of the earth and there was so much bureaucratic blundering in the initial days which made any chance of finding survivors so remote and even more impossible the location of the black box which may hold some answers of how a modern day plane could just drop out of the sky. Then there was the incomprehensible fact that the equivalent of a whole year level of female students had disappeared in Africa. All those girls to be sold as slaves, all their mums so broken hearted at the loss of their darling daughters. I actually had to ask my son was it a huge trick that social media was playing on us, or was it just an urban myth or should we really be hassling the leaders of the world to be doing something to find these young women who unfortunate by their place of birth would not have the chance to grow up with the free choice my own daughter and her friends have living here in Australia. No wonder I don’t like to watch the news, or shows about the police or murder mysteries. Instead I choose to watch lifestyle TV shows focusing on buying and selling homes, home renovations or cooking shows.
I’ve always loved watching TV and have been happy with free to air offerings until I became unwell and found myself in the position of becoming an expert on daytime TV. The programming offered by free to air channels here in Australia is quite a disgrace. Good local TV programs cost lots of money, which makes it difficult for production houses to continue to keep up with a good variety of TV. So it becomes cheaper for our networks to offer us a fairly standard daily menu. Starting with morning talk shows, daily advertorials, some overseas soapie action, a few game shows, the news followed by evening current affair shows, some locally produced soapies, then many re runs of overseas shows, a sprinkling of one or two good Australian productions and some cooking or home renovation shows. Throw in some footy in winter and tennis or cricket in summer and that is about all we have. Then there is the constant barrage of advertising for funeral insurance and Internet providers in amongst ads for ahh bras and robot vacuum cleaners. I eventually persuaded my husband and we gave in and signed up for Foxtel so as to increase the daily offerings by 83 more channels and much better chances for a good variety of TV. Our children were over the moon as they had wanted us to get Foxtel for years, and now they continue to live in hope that one day they might also get that puppy or kitten they have dreamed of or the trampoline they were deprived of as young children.
Anyway I digress so back to the story, the introduction of the genre of reality TV has crept into our lounge rooms and is influencing water cooler discussions, as people are dissecting the behavior of a variety of contestants who grace our evening TV screens. The recent My Kitchen Rules (MKR) series, searching for the best pair of home cooks was such a let down as the production crew had edited the show cleverly so as to have many really good cooks who just so happened to be really mean people. I’m not just talking about mean young people either which people seem to think is a common trait of Gen Y. The MKR audience is multi aged so its contestants span the age groups and the Queensland male dubbed “The Captain’ was a prime example of a mean older male doing his best to criticize the offerings of his co contestants as no where near the standard of his and his much younger wife’s cooking, yet when push came to shove he could barely cook simple dishes. The recent series also portrayed two younger women who were friends from extensive overseas travels, as two very mean young women who had a win at all costs attitude way over and above the average person’s competitive streak. Outside of my magical TV screen they may very well be nice young ladies who were stitched up by the production crew and some clever editing, however I doubt it. The rivalry with this pair and the Greek twins from Melbourne provided the 2014 series storyline right from the start. Many families with young children sit together after dinner and given there is something about cooking shows, which young kids seem to love the 7.30pm timeslot of MKR did really well with its ratings. The number of cooking shows and recipes books appealing to children is evidence and yet MKR encouraged such mean behavior with its contestants, which in my opinion is not very good with its young audience.
Then in an adult time slot on Arena – Foxtel, the Real Housewives of Melbourne has not long ago finished its 10 week first series run. What a locally produced TV show this has been? The mean girls on MKR look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth when compared with the RHOM characters. Yes I call them characters, as I doubt any of them could be classed as real housewives. I don’t think they cook, do dishes, dust or clean a toilet given the amount of expensive champagne corks, which popped throughout the series. They might not do housework but they can shop and so much money and time was spent looking perfect. In one episode Janet and Chyka had a personal shopping experience at what looked like department store, David Jones where they stayed in a luxurious change room sipping champagne while the sales lady rushed around the store finding suitable outfits along with matching handbags, shoes and jewelry without any worries about the cost of any of the items. As part of looking so perfect some of the RHOM also spent lots of money on Botox and other medical procedures blatantly promoting the business of one of the wives and her husband, a cosmetic surgeon. Unfortunately Janet, the oldest of the housewives still looks the oldest of the women even after spending so much money on treatments to slow down the aging process. On one episode, one of the housewives was out shopping considering a piece of art at the pricey sum of $70,000. Who would spend that much money on a piece of art to decorate the front foyer of their chalet in the snow? Also unlike ordinary housewives who might be lucky to grab a takeaway coffee on the way to work, I can say the RHOM did tend to do lots of coffee, although most of the filmed coffee dates involved bitching about some of the other RHOM members behind their back or bitching to one of them in actual person. Horrible language and mean words were exchanged between these so called high society women from Toorak. The bullying between the 6 women has been highlighted and rocked the social media world. The male host of the reunion show shut down his own Twitter page as he was accused of fueling the bullying on the carefully edited reunion show.
So you might say, change channels or just turn the TV off as you are an adult and by your watching you are encouraging this poor behavior. Yes I could do that however I have found it interesting how both local TV shows evolved. I have done my fair share of talking about the mean girls in these TV shows and will think carefully when both return to our airways next year.
Finally you may be interested what took over the place of MKR and RHOM? House Rules is a home decoration competition where couples compete to renovate and transform each other’s homes and one successful couple will win their entire mortgage to be paid for. It is nearly the end of this series which was carefully filmed and edited to portray one particular couple, who happen to have left behind 7 children at home being quite mean and having that win at all costs attitude. I don’t like them at all and didn’t want them to win so was happy when they were the first couple to be eliminated. I also hope their children are not going to watch their mum and dad on TV as they were poor role models at times.
On Tuesday night a totally new type of competitive TV show aired on Foxtel, The Great British Sewing Bee where contestants show off their sewing skills to the judges in the hope of being crowned the best home sewer. I know that sewing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but there wasn’t any bitchiness or meanness as the participants worked their way selecting fabric to make an A-Line skirt showing how competent they were at following a basic sewing pattern. Each person seemed to be genuinely interested in the creative talents of the others as they completed the final task of producing a dress of their own choosing. Some had practiced techniques at home whereas others were rather brave and attempted something they’d never made before in the chance of gaining an edge over their fellow competitors. The star sewer of the day, a male costume dressmaker made a black and white polka dot dress. He’d never made a ladies dress before. Everyone seemed really happy for him and genuinely sad for the young mum whose reversible silk dress she had made three times prior to the day, just didn’t work on the day of competition and resulted in the first elimination. This show produced by the same people as The Great British Bake off, and although a competition promotes positive values of respect towards others so unlike many of the reality offerings on TV these days. If you enjoy sewing or just want to see something a bit different tune in for the next three weeks.