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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

jinty
15th Sep, 2008 10:27 (UTC)
This is why I only have 1 or 2 programs on my telly list at any time
...and often not even that. (Currently, to no-one's surprise, it's QI.)

I hate that mean-spirited sort of telly where people are supposed to enjoy the sight of people being horrible, to each other or at the world. Like where Gordon Ramsey is humilating his kitchen staff or whatever.
cleanskies
15th Sep, 2008 11:05 (UTC)
Re: This is why I only have 1 or 2 programs on my telly list at any time
Actually, I should have had "Bullying behaviour presented as entertainment" as number seven. Possibly with "I can get this from my workplace any time I feel the lack" appended as the comment.

undyingking
15th Sep, 2008 11:28 (UTC)
Re: This is why I only have 1 or 2 programs on my telly list at any time
(Currently, to no-one's surprise, it's QI.)

Hmm, I like the idea of QI but whenever I've seen it it always seems to have at least one irritating tosser among its guests, which has put me off pursuing it.

I did quite enjoy the land art programme though, I must have a higher threshold for that sort of thing. I'm sure I could have found out more by Googling the key terms, but it wouldn't have occurred to me to do so: it wasn't something I was particularly expecting I would be interested in. (And in fact I did spend part of this morning's tea-break looking for stuff on Roden Crater.)
jinty
15th Sep, 2008 12:17 (UTC)
But surely Stephen Fry in his magnificence outweighs them all
And Alan Davies' doe-eyed sweetness, of course!

There are some annoying other people sometimes, but the main thing I'd wish to change would be the paucity of women in the teams. Jo Brand is good when she's on, but often it's four blokes being quite blokish, and Fry.
undyingking
15th Sep, 2008 13:28 (UTC)
I wish he did, but
sadly blokes being blokish is something I have an extremely low threshold for. Especially if one of them is Jimmy Carr.
cleanskies
15th Sep, 2008 12:33 (UTC)
land art is teh awesome
It's possible I switched on during a bad bit -- he'd gone from introducing us to a sculptor by telling us who her husband was (presumably another sculptor, but I didn't recognise the name) to an "ooh I'm just an ordinary bloke fish out of water look at me aren't I embarrassing" type monologue on a train. I just couldn't get past the presenter to enjoy the subject. Shame -- the photography was good, what I saw of it.
crazycrone
15th Sep, 2008 13:06 (UTC)
Re: land art is teh awesome
I find WJ very annoying,especially the shorts and the lame quiff... In fairness, though, I really enjoyed that series. The photography was ace. The husband of the woman land artist (both names forgotten at the moment!) was the 'Spiral Jetty' man, who he'd just been talking about, so maybe Vladimir could be cut some slack on that one. (I'd love to give him a wedgie, though...)
cleanskies
15th Sep, 2008 13:11 (UTC)
I figured he probably had a reason, but it's still a poor line to introduce anyone on
Yup, wedgie.
undyingking
15th Sep, 2008 13:33 (UTC)
I just couldn't get past the presenter to enjoy the subject
He's no Tim Marlow, that's for sure. But then again, who is?