Reality TV Bites

>> Tuesday, 5 February 2008

So, more rubbish tv at the gym this morning. But something took my eye on the text at the bottom of one of the screens whilst I was pounding away on the treadmill, glowing prettily.

(OK, I was sweating like, like, a very sweaty thing, but I was always taught that ladies glow, gentlemen perspire, and horses sweat. Old fashioned, I know, but then so was walking around the room with a book on my head saying 'Faaahthers caaah's a Jaaaaguaaah, and Paaaa drives raaaaahther faaaast. Caaaahstles, faaahms and draaaaaughty baaaahns, we go chaaaaahging paaaahst' during my speech and drama lessons. What can I say? It was a convent school in Gloucestershire during the 1980's...)

Anyway, one of the programmes that the BBC kindly spend the license fee on (£135 at the last reckoning, so not chicken feed) is a gem called 'A New Life Down Under', or something. If you don't know it, I'm sure you have something similar where you are: a family who have professed the wish to make a new start in Australia are given the chance to spend a week there (at the expense of the programme, which, consequently, means; you and me if you live in the UK) to see if they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. Reality tv. Yuck. Give me rose coloured spectacles through which to view my fellow Brits any day.

So this morning a rather (sorry, raaaahther) unattractive family of 3 - mum, dad, 11 year old girl - were the subject of the programme. As is normal for most families, the parents were constantly reiterating how their prime concern was their daughter's happiness, that they wouldn't make the move if she wasn't happy with it, etc etc.

Must admit that I wasn't really watching since I was concentrating on not falling over, having reached the milestone of continual movement for - oh, 10 minutes or so - but I suddenly realised that the mum had just admitted that she and her partner weren't actually married - any more. They had been, but had split up for a few months when their daughter was very young, and got divorced. They then got back together, but had never bothered to remarry. As the mum said "We've never been happier than we are now. Why go to all the expense of a big wedding?" (Well, she didn't use those actual words. I paraphrased to cut out all the um's, aaah's and other prevarications). A good point though, however she put it. I have no personal axe to grind with people who don't think a piece of paper is that important, it's their choice, none of my business.


But then the camera panned round to the daughter, and they asked her how she felt about this. And it came out that she hadn't known until very recently that her parents weren't actually married, and that for her this was a very big issue. She felt that they weren't a 'proper' family, that it was all a bit makeshift, and and as a result, since she had found out, had felt very insecure. And she wanted them to get remarried - so much so that she was prepared to hold them to ransom and not support them on the move to Australia move unless they did.

I know what I think about this.

What about you?

(And by the way - I don't know what their final decision was, as I finished my workout and NOTHING was going to keep me on that instrument of torture any longer....)


Iota 5 February 2008 at 20:47  

Oh, we missed a trick. We should have made our relationship a bit complicated, invited the BBC in, and then the Great British Licence Fee Payer could have subsidised our relocation costs when we moved here. Blast (blaaaahst) - should have thought of that.

Potty Mummy 5 February 2008 at 20:50  

And then they could have come back and filmed you saying 'Good jaaaaahb' to your kids in Relocation Revisited special... (double the money, of course).

Mya 5 February 2008 at 21:58  

I lived in Oz when I was eleven and it was fantastic. If I was the girl, I'd get myself adopted by some rich cultured Australians (might be pushing it, but worth a try) and get a divorce from my unmarried parents. To avoid crap telly perhaps you should close your eyes at the gym -I don't believe you're pushing yourself hard enough!

Mya x

Potty Mummy 5 February 2008 at 22:10  

You're right Mya - I'm definitely not pushing myself (is that what it's supposed to be about then, going to the gym?)... But I have always been challenged when it comes to balance, so think I will spare myself the lawsuits for the moment and keep my eyes open.

Iota 5 February 2008 at 22:42  

Wouldn't your convent school nuns in Gloucestershire be horrified to think that those lovely elongated aaah sounds, which they so patiently nurtured in their gals, are uttered effortlessly by any oik round these parts? I don't think they would consider that a good jaaahb at all.

Were you serious about those elocution lessons? I thought that kind of thing went out in the 1940s. You're going to have to do more posts on your school experience.

Tracey 5 February 2008 at 23:00  

I just hope that the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) doesn't buy that show and screen it here! Gah. (Mind you, there have been other ones shown of Poms (sorry!) moving to Australia, and trying to settle in, and, well... they should have just called the series Whingeing Poms and been done with it. [Maybe with these reality shows there's a conspiracy to weed out all the whingers and send them out here - like the convicts!]

(I do wonder, Mya, just how easy it would be to find some rich cultured Australians! - well, you'd find them. "So-called." But would you really want to live with them?!! )

GoneBackSouth 5 February 2008 at 23:15  

Hello this is the first time I've seen your blog and it's great! It's a whole brave new world to me, this blogging business, but I like it. And I've enjoyed starting mine off. I think the couple in question should just jolly well get re-married and let the poor girl move on. So what if it costs a few bob - it's their fault for not telling her the truth in the first place. Anyway reality TV - I hate it. But what I hate even more is people whittering on for hours about rubbish programmes about stupid people, as if they know the subjects personally. Ugh.

aminah 5 February 2008 at 23:20  

If the little girl felt it was a bit makeshift, then I am with her on this one! make shift it is! But no bit of paper with guarentee anything...including the longivity of the relationship in question...

like ur blog!

Expatmum 6 February 2008 at 02:59  

Let's face it - from what we've seen of reality tv so far - people will say and do anything to get their 15 minutes' worth (as well as a paid holiday). It probably wasn't even their daughter!

Potty Mummy 6 February 2008 at 10:27  

Iota, hi - and yes, I was serious about the elocution lessons, thought it wasn't actually from the nuns (obviously they were far too busy being holy to think of anything as worldly as speech patterns. Obviously).

Tracey, I tend to agree; those Poms who are happy to be shown on these tv programmes are probably NOT the ones you want moving there...

Hello GBS (apologies for the abbrev., hope it's OK, let me know if you prefer your full 'given' name), and I agree with you on practically all your points. Though I must say that if the couple were worried about the cash what's wrong with going to a registry office in your lunch hour? I mean, if it really is just a piece of paper, why make a fuss?

Hi Aminah, thanks for dropping by and you're right of course. Marriage does not guarantee a relationship. But then again, as I said before, if they don't care either way then why not do it to make their daughter feel more secure (and more importantly, that they value her opinion)? But that's just my two cents...

EPM - you're right - but she was their daughter. Trust me. Genetically, you could tell... ('nuff said?)

aminah 6 February 2008 at 14:17  

hi Potty mummy, I agree with you - if it would make all the difference for the children, then I definetly think it's important that their say is heard and hopefully respected!
and thank you for popping by to my blog! I love discovering new blogs which are fresh and inspiring ...I'll link u to my blog! (is that OK?)

Potty Mummy 6 February 2008 at 14:57  

Hi Aminah, yes please, that would be great! And vice versa at this end (when I can find two child-free minutes to sit down and sort it out...)

aims 6 February 2008 at 17:32  

Well - first I was of the mind - why let the child dictate your life? and then I got swayed - poor little thing - all upset and all.

Now - I don't know - so much of that stuff is staged...and I keep thinking of the stout little girl from Weeds who is so manipulative....saaaahhhhrryy

Jonny's Mommy 6 February 2008 at 18:22  

I think the parents should have told their child before they went on sticking TV. emotionally damaging is that? She's going to need some stinking therapy. Some people can be so selfish..not thinking of their children, just themselves, if you ask me.

Pig in the Kitchen 6 February 2008 at 20:57  

oh, i so love car crash telly! Who are these chavs?!
btw...i don't recommend taking MYA's advice and closing eyes on a running machine, you'd look like Ronnie Corbett on Peter Kay's Way to Amarillo video...

Potty Mummy 6 February 2008 at 22:20  

Hi Aims, haven't seen Weeds (thought I know of it), but whilst my first instinct is to agree that kids shouldn't run their parents lives, I do think that children need to be listened to (even stout little girls - and isn't 'stout' a great word, by the way?). I also think that if we say to them 'whatever you say, we will abide by, albeit moving to Aus or getting married', that such promises should not be made lightly. If you say it to a kid - mean it. (EG - I mean it. If you don't put your shoes on in the next 5 minutes, no tv after dinner! God, I'm tough...)

J's Mommy, therapy, definitely. But then some of us - me included - need (and get) that anyway...

Hi Pig, car-crash tv of the crystal chandelier sketch on Only Fools and Horses style; you know it's going to end in tears but you're too busy watching to stop it. Much like you would all be, no doubt, if I tried a running machine with my eyes closed...

GoneBackSouth 6 February 2008 at 22:40  

Hi Potty Mummy, thanks for the tip about sitemetre. I've only just figured out the uploading photo thingy, but it's early days!

The Rotten Correspondent 7 February 2008 at 01:22  

I think they all need a little help. The parents should never have let the kid find out that way and the kid shouldn't be telling everyone else what she wants them to do.

Solution? I'll go to Australia and they can all stay where they are.

ped crossing 7 February 2008 at 04:59  

Can I just go to Australia to get warm? My kids don't have issues yet. I wonder if that will be a problem.

Potty Mummy 7 February 2008 at 09:19  

Hi GBS, good luck with that. I predict hours of fun whilst your son checks out all the places people can read your blog...

RC, great solution. But what about the creepy crawlies?

Hi Ped, I think her issue was more that they hadn't told her they were divorced than the fact that they weren't officially married. And being a kid, it's her job to have issues - if it wasn't that, it would no doubt have been that they didn't / did let her stay up until 2am to watch her favourite soaps...

Omega Mum 7 February 2008 at 18:47  

I don't know. Seems to me that if this little girl is a bit insecure the desire to get remarried is a symptom, possibly not the cause. Personally, I'm not convinced that any family benefits that much from inviting cameras in for a warts 'n' all dissection of its relationships but, hey, what do I know. Please take that microphone away from the keyboard while I'm typing.

Mom de Plume 8 February 2008 at 07:59  

Hi, have just found your blog, care of Reluctant Mem, and am hooked. I will be back for more! As for reality tv, if that drivvel is the best reality they can come up with, what is the world coming to?

Potty Mummy 8 February 2008 at 15:13  

OM, you're right of course: anyone who lets the cameras up close and personal like that is clearly not completely all there.

Let me know when the docu-drama of Bad Lindsay's exploits is due out, by the way?

Hello Mom de Plume, thanks for the visit, and yes, based on the reality tv output in this country (and probably most countries), we are all going to hell in a handcart... So frankly, I may as well have another glass of wine and a chocolate bar.

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