Saturday, November 17, 2012
Cosy wosy mind slurry for the proles
*Disclaimer: If you haven’t already guessed David is not a very positive person. He is not able to just sit back and enjoy things and finds ways of needling criticism out of even the nicer elements of the world. He has come to terms with this and admits this is curse and not a blessing. If the following offends you please don’t read it.*
I found myself watching Surprise Surprise the other day - another sign that ITV has given up on innovation entirely and is desperately trying to turn back to more prosperous times in the early 90s (funnily enough when advertising revenues for TV had no competition from the internet). For those of you who have never sat down to watch it before, it’s very simple TV. Unsuspecting do-gooding members of the audience are taken by ‘surprise’ and rewarded for their positive work in the community. It’s got a nicey wicey tone, is presented by the cuddly auntie-like Holly Willoby (I’ve been giving her a lot of stick in the last couple of posts, it’s not intentional) tries to lull you into cosy self-satisfied oblivion. A bit like this.
The show’s biggest crime isn’t even that it’s contrived and cheap TV. The biggest problem with Surprise Surprise is that it’s a bit dull; it lacks punch. The people rewarded on it do good things but it feels like a scattergun approach to celebrating the selfless people in society. So you reward one cancer nurse, or one social care volunteer. Does that then absolve the viewer from not rewarding the others? Not only that, but the gifts the people on the show are given are a bit limp. One lady was given a life-time subscription to Love Film, which isn’t a bad prize but isn’t really all that impressive in the scheme of her unselfish work. A couple of the guests get holidays but that’s about it.
Let me just emphasise, I want to believe in the world of Surprise Surprise. I want to feel rosy and warm inside; satisfied that the world is being run by the right people, with the kind and selfless being rewarded appropriately for their good deeds. Unfortunately that’s not the world I see.
The world I see contains recessions, war, signal failures, corrupt leaders and gloom amongst other things. Don’t get me wrong these aren’t the only things but they do suck a lot of the niceness out of existence and that can’t be undone by saccharine do-gooding celebrations.
I wonder if Surprise Surprise exists as an antidote to the grinding misery of papers like the Daily Mail. I have a feeling a lot of the people within the Daily Mail’s demographic watch this programme. It uses that same kind of lowest common portrayal of good and bad in the world.
Worst still it makes the person watching it feel good about themselves and their position in the world despite not doing anything. The viewer can feel like everything is right with the world and that people who perform thankless tasks no one else wants to do are being taken care of by the faceless mass of the community at large, whilst they shed tears of self-gratification and absolution.
I can’t get behind it personally.