Posts Tagged ‘Channel 7’

Writing for (Reality) Television 101

February 17, 2013

“Your story is only ever as strong as it’s antagonist”

                                                     – Old Jungle Saying

It’s been simultaneously fascinating and disheartening to see ‘My Kitchen Rules’ once again become an Australian TV ratings behemoth over the past few weeks, based primarily on some of the oldest character stereotypes in the book.

Every ‘reality’ show needs a villain (of course). Enter the ‘Spice Girls’, Jessie & Biswa from New South Wales…

412868-jessie-khan-and-biswa-kamila

Who, in a matter of weeks, used their unparalleled charm and sophistication to become seemingly the most hated duo in the country (sorry Tony & Julia). They tick every single ‘HAAAAAAATE-watch’ box for a Channel 7 audience. Lets count ’em off:

  • Gen Y? Tick.
  • Female? Tick.
  • Horribly entitled? Tick.
  • Dumb as a post? Tick.
  • And most importantly, an ethnicity just ‘brown’ enough to offend white Australia? Indian and Bangladeshi MEGA TICK!

Observe:

You wouldn’t have guessed, but the judges and their fellow contestants voted these clowns off of a cooking show for the piddling offense of being unable to cook. Terrible, I know. Goodbye Spice Girls! Goodbye guaranteed ratings draw!

What are we to do now, MKR???

If your answer was  to introduce a new group of muckraking, gatecrashing contestants for no real reason other than to create conflict less than a month into the show, then you win… uhh… well… not much.

They haven’t even come up with something as clever as the SPICE GIRLS this time for fucks sake!!! ‘Gatecrashers’?!?!

* smacks head *

And yes, our most notable team of Gatecrashers are…

389755-girls

  • Gen Y? Tick.
  • Female? Tick.
  • Horribly entitled? Tick.
  • Dumb as a post? Tick.
  • And most importantly, an ethnicity just ‘Asian’ enough to offend white Australia? SUPER MEGA HAPPY TICK!

From the network that brought you ‘Border Patrol’… ladies and gentlemen, ‘MY KITCHEN RULES’!!!!!!!!!!

It’s made me pause more than once in the writers room of the TV show I work on to wonder why the hell we’re bothering to try to create boring shit like ‘well-rounded antagonists’,  ‘in depth backstories’, or ‘character arcs’. All that work, when really all we need to do is make our villain each and every week a spoiled stupid Gen-Y ditz with a complete lack of self-awareness.

The Hannibal Lector era of villainy is over, people. Long live Jessie & Biswa, the new breed of supervillain, soon to be enshrined in the Richard Hatch Hall of Infamy.

Take the tour.

It’s frigging horrible, sure, but it’ll only take 15 minutes.

BPM

Eat a Dick, Channel 7 Promo Team!

June 2, 2010

Or, an alternate title:

AN IDIOT ARGUES FOR TRUTH IN TELEVISION ADVERTISING, AGAIN

'The Pacific' - Part X

With the final episode of ‘The Pacific’ set to air this week, those responsible at Channel 7 for the teaser commercial have once again eschewed logic and instead decided to use their 30 second spot to hint at storylines for the show that never happened.

Example?

James Leckie (played by James Badge Dale) is one of the three soldiers the series has followed exclusively. In the brilliant ‘Part 3’ ep, Leckie, whilst stationed in Melbourne circa ’43, hooks up with a local good Greek girl, Stella (played by Claire Van Der Boom). They share a brief romance, until she tells him they can no longer see one another anymore. Neither Stella nor her parents would be able to cope with his almost inevitable death in combat, so its best they end things now before they become any more serious. A hurt Leckie leaves, hits the bottle, and departs Melbourne forever.

What Channel 7 would have you believe however in several subsequent weeks was that this romance might be re-visited. They even hinted by voiceover (along with carefully edited images) that Leckie would have to make some kind of choice between two women… Stella, and famous American actress Virginia Grey.

Just for the record... were I Leckie... I'd a picked Claire.

Trouble is that Virginia only appears extremely briefly in a single episode, in a sequence set back in the United States. A sequence that never involved Leckie in any way, shape or form.

THIS WEEK, the voiceover intones that with the war finally over, those lucky enough to survive return home, forever changed. Who knows what the future may hold? Perhaps… (and I’m paraphrasing slightly here)… even a return to Australia…

Click here to see what I’m talking about.

Bullshit. I. Call. BULLSHIT.

I’ve watched the final episode. Twice.

WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS…

Melbourne doesn’t play any part in the final episode. It didn’t play a part in any episode after American troops left Australia. But, as we’re told (wink wink) perhaps Melbourne will come in to play, images of the soldiers reception in Melbourne flickers, as do multiple scenes involving Isabel Lucas (she hooked up with an American soldier whilst he was here, you see).

Isabel Lucas doesn’t figure in this episode. The soldier she hooked up with does, sure… he’s marrying a local gal back home in Mobile, Alabama.

The only plot-centric Australia reference comes when another troop we have not much emotional investment in, Burgin, talks about a woman he met back in Melbourne so many years ago now. With the war over, he hopes she’ll come to the States to meet him so they can be married. But it’s not a woman, or a relationship, we’ve ever witnessed on-screen. And sure enough, they do get married, but we only learn this via a title shown on-screen during the epilogue.

Leckie never sees Stella again. He returns to New Jersey, becomes a journalist/writer, and marries the young woman who lives across the street that he’s pined for his entire life.

I’ll say it again. Bull. Shit.

I enjoyed the series, like a lot of people perhaps not as much as ‘Band of Brothers’. It was grittier, even more depressing and bereft of hope in a way. I can understand why Channel 7 perhaps felt the need to imbue some of their teasers with romantic elements, to try to lure an audience beyond just male 15-60 year old war enthusiasts.

But don’t, Don’t, DON’T presume to re-write story with your shitty advertising. You cheat your audience, create expectations that are never paid off, and betray the intent of the writers, directors and producers.

And if you DO insist on doing this, why not just go hog-wild? Give me teaser commercials where after Hiroshima, Godzilla is awoken and the Marines must return to Peleliu to try to bring him down.

War in the Pacific - this shit just got REAL!

Give me Emperor Hirohito turning in to an enormous Transformer who attacks Pearl Harbour once again.

Give me Eugene ‘Sledge’ Hammer returning home only to be elected President of the United States in his mid twenties.

Give me Stella finding Leckie back in the States, only to reveal she’s not Greek, but instead she’s really a Nazi super-soldier who’s used his sperm in the hopes of creating a new Fuhrer.

Give me John Bassilone re-animating as a Zombie Grunt who hunts down the great military brains of Patton, MacArthur and Rommel.

Imply ANY and ALL of these retarded scenarios…

Because you’re halfway there already, assholes.

BPM

The TV police are coming to gitcha

May 16, 2010

This will probably be a little sprawling, but bear with me, please.

Da Authorities

Anzac Day came and went this year, and for an Essendon supporter like myself, way too much of the day focused around the AFL.

Well… at least for the first quarter… friggin Collingwood…

What was especially notable about Channel 7’s coverage of the game, and earlier the morning services, was their commitment to cross-promoting ‘The Pacific’ whenever and wherever the opportunity might arise.

I mean, I dig that score by Hans Zimmer too, but playing it non-stop for 3+ hours? I’m sure if Channel 7 had their way not only would they have flown cast members in to appear at the dawn service, but Joseph Mazello would also have lined up at Centre Half Forward for the Bombers.

Might be worth actually considering Joey M, Essendon. This dude has already schooled Velociraptors AND Jap's... you barely beat Carlton this season

“Yes, we’re here to commemorate the incredible sacrifice so many men and women made for our country. But surely we can kill two Jap’s with one stone… right?”

In between spruiking the next incredible installment of the most expensive television series ever made TM, Channel 7 did go out of their way to point out some of the other quality viewing they have lined up in 2010. One of these promo’s, with dramatic thumping music and voice-o-God narration, almost made me fall off my couch giggling.

Australia, prepare yourself for… ‘THE DOG SQUAD’!

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a reality based show about a police dog squad. For half an hour. Over several weeks.

It just sounded so much like some of the mock television shows ’30 Rock’ has created (‘America’s Next Top Pirate’, anyone?). But apparently, ‘The Dog Squad’ has enough of an audience to screen it at 7:30pm on a weeknight. Who knew?

Not only does ‘The Dog Squad’ have the juice to get up and air on a regular basis, but it’s not even the only dog-squad related program currently airing (see ‘Send in the Dogs’ on Channel 9).

One look at a programming guide is enough to make you weep when it comes to the amount of procedural, bust-your-ass reality TV brought to you by Channel’s 7 & 9 alone. How’s THIS for a roll call:

‘The Dog Squad’, ‘Surf Patrol’, ‘Trauma’, ‘Customs’, ‘Send in the Dogs’, ‘Highway Patrol’, ‘R.P.A’…

Channel 9 even has 2 MORE shows waiting to air. They are ‘A.F.P’, which focuses on the Australian Federal Police obviously. The other? ‘R.B.T’.

‘R.B.T’ is a half hour series about Random Breath Testing.

While I personally subscribe to the idea that if I don’t likes it, I don’t watches it, I STILL can’t help but feel irked by this kind of shitty television.Because do I feel like we live in a ‘Nanny’ state nowadays? Hell yeah. And how are we to effect real societal change? Is it by more stringently enforcing laws? Harsher penalties? A greater police presence?

Nope. Nope. And nope. Instead lets just air these crappy TV shows about how you WILL get busted the second you deviate from dead-eyed obedience, as soon as you step out of line at the airport, the pub, on the roads, in hospital, etc (provided there’s a camera around, of course).

And then, THEN we can just trust to hope that keeping the people in a constant state of fear via ‘entertainment’ and the media will be enough.

Cos that’ll work. It has to. Right.

Right?

People don’t even realize that there’s an attempt being made to indoctrinate them. And the police don’t seem to realize that you can broadcast as many shows as you want to ‘educate’ the public – so long as ‘Underbelly 24′ keeps pulling in a million plus viewers a week with stories about crim’s and crooked cop’s who are above the law, it’s all for naught.

And in the interim it means that I have to wait til 11pm on a good night to watch non-important broadcasting like ’30 Rock’, ‘The West Wing’ or ‘The Wire’.

‘COPS’, you’ve got a lot to answer for.

See, that clip kind reinforces my point, but in Spanish. Classy, no?

Latino Snake rocks,

BPM