Rewarding bad behaviour

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I think Ant & Dec are great and I enjoy their Saturday Night Takeaway, (it’s got the same vibe and elements as Noel’s House Party which I enjoyed growing up) but there’s a recurring issue I am having with it – rewarding bad and dishonest behaviour.

On Saturday’s show they had a woman on who had done things to family, friends and employer which were not very nice at all. She exchanged a very expensive gift from a friend and had them lost the replacement item, had thrown out her partner’s favourite clothes, and had faked an injury to take time off work and it became a laughing matter apparently. If you were told this by someone how would you react? Ant, Dec and their production team seem to think that this terrible woman deserved a prize of a trip on a luxury cruise.

This is not the first time that they have done this type of thing. Grab someone from the audience, reveal that they have been a poor friend/husband/wife/employee and then give them a treat for taking the mickey out of them. I’m sure in every audience there will be dozens of decent hardworking people who are trying to make ends meet and would love to be given a holiday or other prize – so why are we rewarding bad behaviour and what message does it send out?

Saturday Night Takeaway is not alone in this practice – several shows on TV now appear to celebrate bad behaviour: Geordie Shore, Jeremy Kyle and anything with Gordon Ramsey for example. I don’t want to be a miserable git about this but why can’t we have more positive and upbeat shows that reward skills, abilities, being a good person? There are so many carers, charity workers & fundraisers, nurses, teachers, paramedics, fire fighters that would love a break, a prize or something nice to happen to them rather than watch a liar be made a fuss of on prime time Saturday night TV.

We see the same things in schools where the worst behaved are often taken out of school and rewarded for “Behaving” as if it were a serious achievement rather than a norm. I know there are exceptions for those with specific needs or disabilities, but in general some kids are rewarded for next to nothing. I always got annoyed that the kids in the middle who weren’t average academically and behaved were ignored – where was their reward for doing what was expected of them?

We live in a strange society that seems to celebrate the wrong things. Competition in school sports and awards is frowned upon and becomes a homogenized mass of celebrating everyone rather than holding up the real role models and achievements. So we have those who achieve not allowed to be celebrated, those in the middle ignored and the people who cause trouble are rewarded.

I’m more than aware that they do give gifts and prizes to very deserving people as well so it’s not one-sided. Last week’s surprise for the young lady who had been travelling with her boyfriend was funny, heartwarming and entertaining. I’m in no way saying that Ant & Dec are solely responsible for it, but to promote that type of idea on a family show just seemed wrong and misjudged. I can thing of dozens of people who would be deserving of a nice cruise or holiday but instead a woman who lied to her boss, faked an injury for months and laughed about it with the cast of Corrie and Ant & Dec is packing her bags.

Let’s see the Geordie Duo leading the charge in celebrating those who truly deserve it and not the worst type of people.

JD

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