Alice Shaw

Reality Bites

In Entertainment on July 3, 2011 at 4:11 am

I’m so over reality television.  Every time I turn on the television I see another ad for a reality show.  The latest is where Jamie Durie gets people to turn shipping containers into liveable houses, or something like that.  I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention.  I am sick of Masterchef, Hot French Chef in the Kitchen Rules, The Block (blockheads more like) and the truly awful Australia’s Got Talent – judged, ironically, by three people with absolutely no talent at all.  Those are to name but a few.  There are more out there but I am exhausted.  And although I will admit to devouring every second of the recent SBS offering “Go Back To Where You Came From”, if that sort of thing only comes along once a year then that’s okay with me.  To reality television I say enough already!

 When it first started, it was kind of new and exciting.  The Brits have been doing “fly on the wall” documentaries for years which were always fascinating, and a lot of the time spectacularly cringeworthy.  And that was okay.  But I have enough reality in my life and I don’t want to come home and watch it on television.  In my day job in human services, I am hit with the full force of reality every day.  Whilst some wannabe chef on the television is crying because they couldn’t satisfy the CWA ladies with their rock hard sponge offerings, I am confronted with a crying woman who is terrified of having to give up her children because they simply have nowhere to sleep that night.  When a couple desperately cling to each other because their made over room didn’t win, again, I see parents desperately clinging to their children who they hope to be able to feed the next day.  I don’t want to see first world problems via reality television anymore.

 It seems that the people who make television are just too lazy to come up with decent drama anymore.  They just stick a whole lot of incompatible, moaning people together, give them an almost impossible task, film them having the inevitable meltdown and call that entertainment.  Well it’s not.  And I’m done with it.

 This is why I love Offspring.  Funny, smart, well dressed, pretend.  Firstly, it is filmed in my beloved Melbourne which is always a plus for me.  Melbourne looks edgy and cool and just the place to be.  Of course, it’s only filmed in cool suburbs, with gorgeous houses but it’s pretend you see, that’s the fun of it!  We have the gorgeous Nina (Asher Keddie is my ongoing girl crush), who dresses brilliantly every single day.  I’ve never seen Nina in an outfit that I don’t covet.  She just does not get it wrong.  She is an obstetrician so she clearly has to be a little bit clever, but that does not get in the way of her occasional lack of social grace and her unlucky in love ways.  Offspring went off track a bit midway through the first season.  I don’t think any of us could really believe that Nina would sleep with her sister’s boyfriend, no matter how hammered she got.  But it is back on track in this new season and I say let’s just forget that little transgression and move on.

 Last season we had the impossibly handsome Don Hany as Nina’s love interest and gorgeous as he was, his indecisiveness drove me nuts in the end and I’m kind of glad he’s out of the picture.  Now we have Nina will a succession of good looking doctors available for her choosing.  First we had Baby Doctor, the student with whom Nina did the dirty and then realised her massive mistake.  He got drunk and cried but he behaved with dignity in the end.  Next we had the divine Dr Hotty McStubble.  I actually can’t remember his name in the show, so transfixed am I by his five o’clock shadow.  Now Dr McStubble it turns out, may be very easy to on the eye but he appears to have some demons, and so Nina will have to deal with a whole heap of crap yet again.

 But I love it!  What’s not to like?  Nina is fantastic!  She has cool fantasies, she stumbles and stutters in social situations, she picks the wrong blokes, she lives in an impossibly chic apartment – this is the kind of thing I want to see on television.  Whilst we can relate to Nina on many levels, who among us has not made a total idiot of themselves in front of a bloke we fancy?  We can also recognise this show for what it is – a pretend, made up, a television show!

 So I say reality begone!  I’ll take a divorced female doctor in her late 30’s whose best friend’s baby is also her half-brother, whose sister is a screaming banshee recently impregnated by her boyfriend’s gay brother and who has an endless stream of dreamy yet broken inside men falling at her feet and giving her amazing sex, over butterflying a lamb carcass and matching drapes to doona covers any day of the week.

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  1. Agreed – Offspring is the best thing on any of the commercial channels for years. I’d say since Secret Life of Us (same writer, not surprisingly!). Great stories, great casting, so unpretentious and so hilarious.

    We need to go to Melbourne, dress in our Nina outfits and stroll around neurotically looking for our Dr McStubble clones 🙂

  2. I am definitely up for a Nina outfit wearing, Hottie McStubble sourcing, trip to Melbourne. Sign me up!

  3. You took the thoughts from my head and got them all down. I love Offspring, I love Nina’s anxiety riddled thoughts, the quirky nurses, the crazy family, the fashions and interior design or everyone’s homes.
    I laugh out loud and also feel very moved each episode, it’s very well written.

    I did the Biggest Loser this year but that’s the extent of my reality tv done now- can’t stand Masterchef anymore and the rest just seem to pander to the lowest common denominator.

  4. I agree too. I do love ‘reality’ shows in terms of just the real estate type shows that are often on Foxtel (Location Location etc), but they are shows that don’t delve at all into the people’s personal lives. It’s just about looking at pretty houses:)
    And I do love shows like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Hoarders etc (bad I know!).

    The shows I hate are the competition reality shows – master chef, the Block etc. I hate the way contestants start crying from the first episode in and unloading their entire sad story about dead relatives/trailerpark origins etc. It just feels phony and a ploy for sympathy. I just want to strangle them and tell them to get it together. I do still watch Next top Model and Project Runway – mainly for the clothes/photo shoots, not the drama. And I usually fast forward through the bitching and the boring bits and just watch the photo and clothing reveal bits:)

    I have yet to watch Offspring – I suspect I would love it, so I will have to get the first season on dvd and catch up! It’s been years since I got into an Aussie drama. I think I am still traumatised by the cancellation of A Country Practice….

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