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The Daytime Review

February 17, 2011


After an hour of wrestling with acute ennui, I finally crawl out of bed, pour myself a bucket of coffee and switch on the television, blankly staring at the first thing that comes on for 10 minutes before realising I’m awake and I’m watching a cartoon called Zoo Lane (BBC2). The only thing I can remember about it now is the following dialogue:

“Mr Platypus wants to tell you a story”
“Oh yay, a platypus story!”

And who can’t relate to that? We all love a platypus story. Who can forget when the Platypus strike in America ruined Heroes and Lost? I look away from the screen for a minute to pour more coffee and when I look back some children, a dog and a puppet are dancing around a fire and it all looks vaguely tribal and worrying.


Homes Under The Hammer (BBC1), and a couple are hoping to spend £5000 to “flatten the ceilings” of their house, as a bearded man says “I tend to put a more artistic spin on things. I see property more like making a sculpture.” The narrator explains that this guy, lets call him Fuckhole McGraw, has spent £147,000 to give his house a “facelift” and is unhappy that if he sold the house he would only make £30,000 profit. Ah, this must be the ‘squeezed middle’ I’ve been hearing so much about. “These homeless shelters and libraries are costing me money that I would rather spend on extending my boiler room. Where else am I going to set fire to all these tramps and books?”

Two cups of strong coffee later, Homes Under The Hammer ends and Save My Holiday begins. By this point I’ve drunk enough coffee to end a life and simply can’t focus on these ungrateful, over-privileged sacks of basted orange flesh, droning on and on of their “grief” that their Turkish hotel hasn’t provided enough night time entertainment. They should have gone to Pontins.

The TV guide tells me that BBC1 is carrying on with this vicarious conspicuous consumption for the rest of the morning, following Save My Holiday with Cash In The Attic then Bargain Hunt, so I quickly click over to Channel 4. Things don’t get better, as I’m greeted by Help! My House is Falling Down, a paranoid consumerist horror story in which it is made very clear, over and over again, that we are all in constant danger of our houses suddenly collapsing. At this point death by plummeting ceiling tile seems a better option than the fresh hell gushing out of terrestrial television. Its time to go digital.


Judge Judy, (ITV2). Ah, Prejudice Judy, perpetually shouting at the poor based on a strict Daily Mail ethical and moral code. MORE COFFEE!


QVC, and the host attempts to sell a £75 skin cream while applying it to the face of the world’s shiniest woman, who is silent but permanently grinning despite looking like she’s had her head smeared in olive oil. The host’s exact words: “What we’ve done is we’ve taken anti-aids, erm, aids… erm, aging ingredients and we’ve encapsulated them in a vegetable… ecasia. If you take this with you in your handbag and reapply it throughout the day then it will help to smooth all those lines you get from laughing and smiling”. Oh, THOSE lines. I’ve heard of those. I think they might be called “facial expressions”.


Dave is showing a Top Gear marathon.


I’m disappointed by the lack of Climbing Great Buildings in today’s daytime schedule. If you haven’t seen it, the basic premise is a guy explains the history of a great building and then, for some reason, climbs up the side of it. Its genuinely quite informative and refreshing, at least when compared to the rest of the stuff you see on daytime TV, and I’m looking forward to the spin off series- Pissing On National Landmarks.

Maybe its somewhat futile these days to try and differentiate between daytime and primetime TV based on anything other than the time slot. The lines have become blurred. If you added a tense score, some tight camera work and a nauseating sense of emotional instability to a show like Ready Steady Cook, you’d have something not a million miles away from last night’s episode of Masterchef (BBC1, 9PM), which this year has added an X Factor-esque audition process. The basic premise of the show is two drunks sweat and gurn as a succession of unmedicated manic depressives watch them eat. While all this is happening, a female HAL from 2001 Space Odyssey narrates, saying things like “Jeff has made belm chicken with a red wine joie, a slow parade of red cabbage and a devastating blitzkrieg of citrus”. After eating, the judge that looks like a toothy egg will say something like “I like what you’ve done- that blast of bacon is curvy but vivid, then the brown sauce sneaks up on you, like a playful lover” then the other one will respond with something along the lines of “The bread is excellently buttered, the bacon is perfectly fried, the brown sauce really brings the whole thing together. I don’t like it.” At which point the contestant, who had previously been grinning and twitching like someone desperate for the toilet, suddenly begins violently sobbing, occasionally provoking a similar reaction from the judges. Half an episode of watching people go on this sort of emotional roller coaster is enough to make you wish somebody would cook some medical strength mood suppressants.

To summarise, Masterchef is unbelievably awful and stupid, and so I love it because it makes me feel superior to everyone involved.

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