From Couch Potaters to Procreaters
If you are searching for a waterline marking the decay of modern society, switch off ABC24, ignore Tony Jones, and don’t whatever you do read The Courier Mail, you goddam idiot. Turn the television on at 3PM.
Gone are the likes of Tommy and the Rugrats. Now there is something called It’s Academic (which clearly isn’t), The Shak (which is a share house of twenty somethings that don’t seem to have a job and co-exist in a sexually-charged but platonic environment, continually repressing their adult desires in favour of riding the wave machine at Dreamworld) and the hernia of pre-teen Australian quiz shows, Pyramid.
For those of you who haven’t seen Pyramid it is a show where C grade celebrities including former cast members of Neighbours and Nitro from the before mentioned Shak (whom, incidentally, a friend of mine lost her virginity to), pit their questionable intelligence against primary school students in a competition where the objective is to describe inane objects without actually using their name.
While there is nothing more bolstering than watching horse meat celebrities flounder to describe the word ‘bread’ without saying the word ‘bread’, it’s not very exciting.
Pyramid is boring, as is pretty much every other show in the afternoon ‘fresh off the bus now to down a milo and watch TV’ time slot.
I don’t want to be one of those people who waxes lyrical about how fucking great the nineties was, but I feel sad the current generation of after-schoolers have to deal with the innocuous shit that is Pyramid and The Shak.
I remember a game show where contestants played Donkey Kong and Bubsy and ran around in a smoke filled maze. Foam burst from giant pots and monkeys with flashing red eyes made terrifying noises. A game with crazy light tricks and bad-ass knee pads where the major prize was a motherfucking Gameboy. It was A*mazing.
THAT is the kind of quality game show television I got to come home to as a snot-nosed-Gwen-Stefani wannabe in Primary School. What do kids have to look forward to now? And what the hell is with this new generation of Degrassi? Not one of them got pregnant or had a sweet Mohawk or got their period all over the hallway or developed an eating disorder in the month and a half I was watching.
I know it seems as though I am just another nostalgic loser who can’t walk into a supermarket without rueing the day they stopped stocking Doctor Pepper in the regular aisle and put it in the special import section, but I am trying to signpost something grim here.
If entertainment and culture are related, and culture and society are inextricably linked, then we are fucked. The kids are going to get so bored they will soon be forced to become procreators instead of couch potaters. Keep a watchful eye on truck stop newsstands for the day Bindi Irwin goes Nikki Webster and sheds the good girl image with a spread in Zoo Weekly. That will be it, your indication on the flood chart marking the humiliating point after school TV (and society by extension) is in danger of rising to before the mediocrity recedes. A cultural revolution resting on the breast development of a girl in crimped pigtails and khaki shorts.
– By Angie Plummer.