I WATCHED episode three of Gogglebox on Thursday night, because I had no idea other episodes had already aired. My life was better then.
Gogglebox is a Channel 10 program which shows various people watching Australian television and captures their reactions. It's not as bad as it sounds. It is so much worse.
Here is why:
- Predictably, the entire show is an advert for Channel 10. When the participants watch Channel 10 programs they absolutely love them. When a Channel 10 program starts one person must say "I love this show".
- The viewers watch shows from opposition channels and absolutely hate them.
- Apparently everybody watches television in the exact same position every day.
- Everybody is way too conscious of being filmed. They even talk slowly and exaggerate their laughs, like they had a briefing on how to behave from the producers 10 seconds before filming.
- It's not (all) scripted at least. Case in point, one mother of teenagers, whilst watching a news segment about the hepatitis A berry scare: "We have berries in the fridge too. Kids, donâ€™t eat them until I throw them in the bin." Mmmm, bin berries.
- The program is diverse. It features stereotypical young men, young women, a Sri Lankan family, the working class couple, the gay couple, , the middle-aged friends, the alternatives, the old people and the regular Aussie family (times two!). Unfortunately it is for naught. All have the same damn opinion about almost every show.
- Untrendy people may be allowed to find a show from a competing network okay. Case in point, the old lady thought Downton Abbey, on Channel 7, was okay. In case you didn't understand only old people should like Downton Abbey, the very next scene was a younger woman saying, "I think you have to be over 85 to like this show". Subtle.
- All participants were slightly okay with the ABC. But of course they watched an expose about animal cruelty, just to make sure no Gogglebox watchers would be tempted to flick over to ABC.
- Above all else, it is astoundingly unrealistic. Every person was glued to the screen. Not one sat there playing with their phone. In the real world, at least eight out of 10 people under 30 would be texting, on Facebook, playing a game or looking up much more entertaining videos on Youtube.
THIS week is the culmination of our 150-year celebrations.
IN honour of season two of the Real Housewives of Melbourne premiering on Sunday night I have taken the time to review some of the other instalments of the show.
I spent the past few weeks studying the first season of each instalment I could get my hands on. I'll admit I had trouble obtaining the short-lived Real Housewives of DC and international series such as the Real Housewives of Isreal, Athens, Vancouver and France.
The show follows the extravagant, drama-filled lives of wealthy women.
It started with The Real Housewives of Orange County in 2006. Within six years there were seven US city instalments of the show.
Real Housewives, from worst to best:
7. Orange County
My least favourite for the fact it is the first instalment and producers were still working out the direction of the show.
I didn't dislike this instalment but it was obvious some of the storylines were fabricated and some of the characters were just out for their 15 minutes of fame. During the reunion special all was revealed and the claws really came out.
5. New Jersey
Everything is better with a New Jersey accent. I'd contribute the show's success to housewife Teresa Giudice who changed the direction of the franchise when she flipped a table and ranted against another cast member. She is so vital to the show there has been talk of shelving the show while Teresa does a stint in prison!
I wanted to make this number one because it is home grown but, while watching, I realised how bogan Australians are. These women claim to be all class but it's clearly the opposite. The producers handpicked a great cast. They threw a cat among the pigeons by including psychic Jackie Gillies, wife of Silverchair drummer Ben Gillies, who has no filter.
Atlanta is full of huge personalities and features a predominately African-American cast. The characters are over the top but that just adds to the entertainment value.
2. New York City
What happens when you put five women with superiority complexes together? You get drama, drama and more drama especially when you mix "old money" with a pretentious social climbers.
1. Beverly Hills
Probably the most glamorous and affluent housewives of the franchise. These women have overinflated egos and aren't afraid of conflict. British restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump's dry wit adds to the excitement while Kelsey Grammar's now-ex wife Camille is the clear villain and provides excellent viewing.
TWO Country Times journos with very different views about music both watched the Grammys, or at least the highlights, and have compared their thoughts on some key aspects.
The red carpet
Sonny: The Grammys are probably the one high-profile event at which it is both expected and acceptable to sport kooky fashion. As for the most outlandish outfit, Madonna won hands down, but Rihanna took the cake quite literally. If you didn't see her dress, which looked like it was inspired by a Barbie cake, google it now.
Nick: I thought we were watching the highlights. Therefore, I did not see a second of the red carpet. Little did I know there would be no highlights during the actual event either.
The live performances
Sonny: As a fan of Lady Gaga I was excited for her jazz performance with Tony Bennett. She has a great voice, which shines when she is stripped of her crazy outfits. Sia performed her mega-hit Chandelier, but again had her back to the crowd which I am completely over -- it's rude!
Nick: There were plenty of challenging performances. As in they challenged me to stay awake. Why did almost everyone choose to play unenergetic ballads? Madonna and AD/DC showed the most life of any performers, perhaps because they have the least life remaining. Ed Sheeran has a lazy eye. He's okay, but I can't un-see this.
Sam Smith's domination
Sonny: Great Britain's Sam Smith invaded the Grammys this year with six nominations and four well-deserved awards. However, I was disappointed our Aussies nominations, Sia, Keith Urban and Iggy Azalea, were robbed. Its obvious Sia has huge talent and Chandelier deserved something!
Nick: It was a nice touch when Smith credited his success to just being himself. But really his success is thanks to Latch, by Disclosure, plus a massive advertising budget for his new album. Give any schmuck with decent pipes that much exposure and people are going to buy his album.
Kanye West's stage invasion
Sonny: Are we really still acknowledging this guy? I'll admit he has talent but his arrogance and disrespect for veteran musician Beck crossed the line!
Nick: Beyonce's album is better than Beck's. Kanye said what many were thinking, aside from maybe, "Who is Beck?" Beck is awesome, but he peaked in the mid-90s. I didn't go much on the latest Beyonce album but it was modern, fresh, artistic and relevant. Beck's album was not.
AS a lover of trashy television I waited with bated breath for the premiere of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here on Sunday night.
However, I soon discovered Channel 10 doesn't understand the meaning of celebrity and really should have called the show I'm a Has Been Looking for Another 15 Minutes of Fame.
For those who didn't tune in, the concept is simple, throw a bunch of "celebrities" into the jungle with no luxuries and watch them fight it out in a series of challenges to be titled king or queen of the jungle.
The show has been a huge success in the UK where it originated attracting models, actors, journalists and even former politicians -- this year filming will begin on the 15th season.
Watching the short bios I, and I assume most of those who were watching, kept asking, "Who the hell was that?"
To be fair Maureen McCormick is a big celebrity, or was more than 40 years ago when she starred as Marcia Brady in the Brady Bunch.
Clearly the former child star has been pampered her entire life and will be the first one to crack under the pressure, which will be great viewing.
It's great to see Merv Hughes, Andrew Daddo and Barry Hall get some work after being famous all those years ago.
For the guys Miss Australia 2008 Laura Dundovic has been thrown in as eye candy and I'm definitely not complaining!
Tyson Mayr is in for the ladies, who will now busily Google him to find out who he is.
There is something endearing about Chrissie Swan and I think Australia will fall in love with her all over again just as they did when she was on Big Brother.
I think the show will be the most difficult for Chrissie as there will be some physical challenges but my money is on her to win.
I love these warts-and-all shows which allow you to see another side of celebrities.
Chris Brown and Julia Morris are great but, as hosts, are trying too hard to be funny.
Despite not knowing most of the celebrities I will continue watching and I can't wait for the first juicy meltdown.Â