Sunday, August 27, 2006


Chav TV.........


An interesting report here
on the denigration of the white working class on television. While I found 'Little Britain' amusing and am not one to jump on the pc bandwagon, it is a worrying trend that so many of those surveyed thought Vicky Pollard to be a realistic depiction of working class youth. And I can't deny the reactionary tones of that show. Neither actor was from a working background yet the targets of their satire tended to be such, apart from a few exceptions. It would be refreshing to see the 'chattering classes' being satirised for a change.

As for 'reality shows' like Big Brother and 'Wife Swap' I've long thought them overdue for the kill. Like the game shows in Stephen King's Richard Bateman novel 'The Running Man' they appear to be the modern equivalent of freak shows, with many of the contestants having mental health problems of some sort. Or simply desperate for money or fame. If it continues such TV will only get worse and more potentially exploitative. The audience appear to be treated as condescendingly as do the participants.

But in a celebrity obsessed consumerist society (a spectacle) fame is everything, even if it is only fifteen minutes of it. Appearance is everything. Reality TV, however distasteful I find it, is a mere product of this, of alienated people aspiring to 'be someone' and taking their gamble. So it would be utopian of me to simply wish it away, or god forbid call for any censorship. I just don't watch it (and to be honest it bores me anyway). But then I don't watch much TV anyway.

5 comments:

Paddy Garcia said...

Dont know if you read this some months ago:
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1751277,00.html
A s a latte drinker and pesto eater who is NOT a member of the chattering classes I must say that you are absolutely right.

Jim Jay said...

I didn't get your point about BigB (apart from not liking it) are you saying this is a depiction of the working class? If so - why do you think that?

Also Little Britain - which I liked initially but it quickly got repetitive and dull - doesn't single out the working class it lashes out at everyone.

I've just tried to list their characters and I don't think it's true to say it's anti-working class 'specifically' - stale yes.

"Bitty" man - posh
Teacher going out with ex-pupil - middle class
Tory ladies who puke on things - middle class
Dennis Waterman (which *is* still funny) rich
Bubbles (woman who lives in health club)rich
Sebastian and the Prime Minister - helps run the country
Weird pipes man who runs a hotel - owner

Fat fighters woman - who knows
"I'm a lady" - who knows
The pedantic man in the shop - who knows
Only gay in the village - who knows

The guy who lusts after his mates gran - working class
The wheelchair guy - poor, although let's not get into a discussion about definitions of w/c
Oh and Vicky

Which makes

7 posh / middle class
4 indeterminate
3 poor / working class

Doesn't look like a specifically anti-w/c character list to me.

Liz said...

Hi Jim. I wasn't saying BB is a depiction as such of the working class, but it seems to be an exploitative form of television, a modern freak show.

LB - the people it has had a swipe at were if not working class then at least marginalised in some way i.e only gay in village, tranvestites, fat, mentally ill (woman in mental home, remember?). That's what I was getting at. Don't get me wrong, I have watched it and found it funny, I can laugh at humour that isn't pc. The targets of their satire were not well adjusted, middle class men.

Jim Jay said...

Thanks - sure BB, particularly this year, has been very dodgy.

Mmmm... Matt Lucas is, I hope he wont mind me saying, a fat, cross dressing homosexual and if he isn't allowed to take the piss out of these groups who is?

No one is well adjusted in LB but that's probably true of most comedy - but there are lots of middle class men they target (see list)

However, it's not *that* funny - relies on repitition and stereotypes, is a shift away from politically aware comedy and without any women on the team I have always suspected there *might* be an element of mysogony.

The most ground breaking/ controversial characters are the disabled ones - which i find toe curling... but the moment you start segregating who can, and cannot, be taken off i think you get problems

Liz said...

Jim - surely the producers of BB can be more responsible in who they select? That's not segregation.

As for there being an element of misogyny in LB, I must say I've never noticed it, despite their fondness for cross dressing. They take the piss out of both sexes evenly. I think you may be looking for something that simply isn't there, no offence!