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Oh, said Tim, as he came back into the room, did you switch the television off? It was getting annoying, I replied, from under the cat. Which was sad, given that I was watching a programme about sculpture -- a subject which interests me -- specifically land art -- which should at least have shown me new good things, which (like any child of the internet) I value immensely. Alas, it was less fun than feeding the keywords into google. Which then got me thinking about how much I'm finding television annoying nowadays -- it's increasingly turning into a long fight to find nuggets of goodness in an ever-expanding sea of sludge. And when I do find something interesting it usually has someone stood in front of it, waving his arms and saying something (which sounds) unrehearsed. It's not unrehearsed, of course. Like the artificial authenticity of Cloverfield, it's an authorial position, designed to denote trust and a sort of chumminess. The see! he's just like me! effect.

Why does it annoy me so much? Is it just because the person in question has no chance whatsoever of being like me, if he's been selected as an everyman? Is it because they play with the idea of peeking behind the curtain, but only show you another stage, full of cameramen selected for their smiles and researchers who classify as TV attractive? Or is it because it takes you yet further from the subject?

Whichever, there are a series of things I've seen enough of already -- even though one or two of them have only been fashionable for a year or so. Sorry, your time is over, already. Enough of:
  1. Celebrities being sent on holidays. Because I don't want to spend my time in front of the television seething with envy, resentment and irritation at the sight of the overprivileged maundering over how amazing everything is.
  2. Cure my bad behaviour by putting me on TV. This is work, for me, and hundreds of thousands of people like me. And you're making more of it by suggesting there's a career/celebrity jackpot in parading it on television.
  3. Arm-waving people saying they don't know what to think about something. Er, hello. That's what we're paying you for. I'm assuming there's a researcher and a writer on your team. If you don't know, ask them.
  4. Documentaries sexed up with artificial crises You're lying. Your crew and cast know you're lying. The audience know you're lying. The embarrassed looks are kind of a giveaway.
  5. Artificial controversies Those people with loud, unusual ideas about things are merely the rich version of that guy on the street corner whose rantings you dodge on the way to work every morning. Stop wasting time and money on them.
  6. Putting backstage centrestage We love those making of documentaries because you're making something cool, which makes us curious to see how it's done. We don't actually care about the process for its own sake, sorry -- though you do, obviously, it's your job.
Well, I'm out of rant, and the postman still isn't here with my new hot water hose. The postal depot for me, then, if I want a working washing machine! It'd be easier if anyone actually bothered putting those little missed parcel notes through the door. Although, if their stationery-ordering process is anything like mine, I can quite understand why it doesn't get done. Later!

Comments

celestialweasel
15th Sep, 2008 09:33 (UTC)
I find 4 most annoying though 2 and 3 are probably the most pernicious.
I have probably said before that one of my running jokes is a fly on the wall documentary where I work, I'd like to see the bastards make this look exciting! Episode 9 - Duncan finds that having done an update from Subversion, the software no longer links. Or maybe that should be a 3 episode special.
cleanskies
15th Sep, 2008 11:10 (UTC)
it would probably speak to me
A little bit of "modern times" style camerawork, a sarcastic voice-over. Actually, it would make for a much more relevant "3 minute wonder" than most of the ones that have me leaping for the off button after C4 news.
zengineer
15th Sep, 2008 17:31 (UTC)
I imagine they would have you doing an offensive and sardonic voice over and it might be rather better than the run-of-the-mill-fly-on-the-wall rubbish.
celestialweasel
16th Sep, 2008 12:06 (UTC)
They are my middle names after all... considering what the company does that is quite appropriate.
CSO Weasel.