There’s trash TV and then there’s good trash TV

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catfish

 

There are two shows that I’m watching just now – one I only popped in to visit and got stuck the other Jill was watching and now I’m watching it.

I haven’t watched Celebrity Big Brother, or regular flavour either come to that, for many years and I had no intention of watching it either. As always we had a look at who was being thrown in so we could laugh and carp at the nobodies that were going to sit in a house with only a handful of people watching for three weeks and then I saw Lionel Blair and Jim Davidson. Now I know I’m of a certain vintage these days but these guys were a big deal when I was growing up – maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but you had to admit they were near the top of the entertainment tree in the 80s and even 90s for Davidson.

It’s when you realise that the people you grew up watching and listening to are dying, being arrested for heinous crimes and appearing on reality shows you know that things and times have changed. It’s trash TV, in fact I find a lot of it an embarrassment and it’s a bit like watching the decline of someone who although you were never a fan of or terribly keen on there is an investment in them. There’s a real sadness to watch people who were once successful have to act up for the cameras in this way. Davidson was always a Marmite figure but he was prime time Saturday Night Marmite and not many can say that. Blair was a huge name across entertainment from his theatre shows to Give us a Clue and Name that Tune. Watching them dress up and be humiliated for the cameras is addictive, but not in a good way. you almost will them to escape with some of their dignity intact.

There were a couple of moments in the first week before the show turned into a pervert’s paradise where you thought the two of them and others would be interesting – almost back to the original style of the show back in its heyday. Blair was talking about his friendship with Sammy Davis Jr, Jim opened up about being arrested and then released on sex charges and Linda Nolan was talking about her struggles with the death of her husband her own illness battles and being on the dole. Now it’s like I can’t leave them, I’d feel guilty that these once rich hand famous faces would lose the last ounce of decorum they had when they walked through the door of the Big Brother house.

It’s Trash TV, but there are things you think are trash but then discover are more than that. I’d heard of Catfish the film and the idea that people would be online pretending to be someone else on social networks to hook someone in and toy with them. Jill was watching the MTV spin-off TV series and I sat down to play about on the iPad but soon got hooked on a show that is about real people, situations that are more dramatic than any soap or reality show and shows humans at their most vulnerable.

I was surprised that something like this would appeal to me but the fact the show doesn’t over-do the shock factor or play with people’s emotions makes it one of the more genuine things I’ve seen for a long time. The presenter/main figure in the show is Nev who himself was Catfished in the original film and since that happened he received numerous emails and messages about similar situations. The result is a warm, interesting, shocking and troubling show that exposes a whole spectrum of society who have fallen in love on the internet.

Some are horrible realisations of betrayal by those they know, others have complete strangers who were interested but “out of the person’s league” and thankfully some are genuine love stories. It’s easy in this cynical world to assume the worst but this show avoids the histrionics of other shows and has the capacity to move and to make you laugh. The reactions and participants are hugely varied but when dealing with something like love or feelings like it you see reactions you wouldn’t expect.

I am going to start watching the Breaking Bad and House of Cards Box Sets I treated myself to, but I’ll finish watching these two shows first.

JD

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