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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The art of alienating people

This week on TV,we learnt how to say simple things the hard way

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Published: June 14, 2012 3:19:53 am

This week on TV,we learnt how to say simple things the hard way

IF WE gave BBC a royal bashing last week,it’s time for a 24-gun salute now. By pure chance,chanced upon Twenty Twelve. No,its not another variation of the game of cricket although it is sporty,does involve running around — often in the same circle — with a high degree of competitiveness. It’s a comedy on London’s preparations for the Olympics 2012 and stars the Olympic Deliverance Commission (ODC) and its OCC (obsessive compulsive characters): the dogged and most earnest Ian Fletcher,Head of Deliverance; Siobhan Sharpe,an energetic but clueless Head of Brand with her PR company,Perfect Curve; the evergreen Kay Hope,Head of Sustainability,a muddled Head of Infrastructure and Sally the Secretary who’s in love with boss Fletcher,whaddya know?

It’s a marvellously well-timed idea,funnily executed,peppered with dry wit and a saucy sense of the ridiculous: for instance,Sharpe conjures up a countdown clock that works backwards 1,000 days before the Olympics and starts counting from the first day of the Games — truly bizarre. And Head of Infrastructure has planned a new traffic management system which is tested on the day of the clock unveiling — result? Chief guest Sebastian Coe is lost in traffic. Good show.

Meanwhile,who are Berenice Bejo,Asia Argento,Clair Julien? Most of us know not and perhaps care not but FTV should have when it paraded them before us on the Red Carpet at Cannes. It seemed stunned into silence by the vision of them,so we watched them sway,sachet without knowing who they were because FTV offered no accompanying commentary and sometimes,not even the names of the lovely bodies we beheld in garments it would be unjust to call “gowns”’. These were confections,installations installed on the actors and actresses attending the film festival. Surreal to watch in mute wonder,Bejo in Alexander McQueen and McQueen on Bejo while Stella McCartney was on Asia Argento. Whatever.

There is something offensive about Indian Idol (Sony) and it’s the language. The way the judges speak before and behind the contenders during auditions for Season 6 should have an X-rating and should not be telecast during family hours. Imagine being one of the youngsters who auditioned,or their families,as they watch the episode featuring them. They would break down and cry — as they frequently do — listening to the dismissive ways of Anu Malik,Sunidhi Chauhan and Salim Merchant.

Heard Chauhan mimic a rejected contestant. Heard Malik declare a boy’s voice too “feminine” for his macho ears. Say “no” to a poor singer,by all means; but why denigrate,mock contestants? Why the “mock” (can they be anything else?) tantrums and disagreements between them if not to generate more entertainment,TRPs? It’s wickedness. And wrong to invest so much in that ticket to Mumbai for the actual contest that winners and losers react like they’re either Rafael Nadal after seven successive French Open titles or,Novak Djokovic after none.

Everyone involved in a reality TV contest,could learn something from Junior Masterchef Australia (Star World) that ended earlier this week: and that is this: thou shalt applaud the losers and send them off with a small gift — even if it is a word of appreciation; thou shalt not sneer at them because it is unkind and makes you look ugly.

Once you overcame being awed and appalled (in equal measure) by children as young as nine (Siena Johnston) whipping up Cordon Bleu dishes,you enjoyed Junior Masterchef for playing the game in the right spirit: it is not about winning or losing but how dirty you left the kitchen that counted! Honestly,the judges were firm but kind and gentle. Which is as it should be: This is not Gunfight at OK Corral,okay?

Don’t know about you,but find TV commercials like for men’s deodorants like AXE,a riot. There’s one where a perfectly ordinary man suddenly strips his torso and sprays something that looks like a room freshener or rodent repellant all over himself,whereupon women in all shapes and sizes and even gorilla clothing are maddened and irresistibly attracted by the smell of him. The ad must be the creation of a bunch of hopeful men who believe that a spray is all it takes to win over a woman.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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