There have been many brutal TV show axings in recent years for various reasons.  Who knows what happened to those annoying contestants stranded on The Resort (dropped in its 5th week) and no one cared whether Yasmin ever got married (banished after week one).  The brilliant Studio 60 on Sunset Strip only managed one season and Cashmere Mafia was one of many casualties of the US Writer’s strike. 

 

But it was Channel 9 who set the record for short-lived programming.  On September 4, 1992, Doug Mulray fronted Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos.  Being a 90 minute special spun off from Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show, you’d expect that it’s entire season would have been played out.  However, after only 35 minutes of animal rutting and scantily clad humans, legend has it that Kerry Packer dialled the studio direct and ordered the staff to ‘get that shit off the air’.

 

Three years since Packer’s death and deep in a ratings slump, it appears that staff have been trawling archive boxes for ideas.  Someone found an intact tape of Naughtiest and it is expected to appear next Thursday night at 8.30pm. (That’s August 28th – you wouldn’t waste gold like this while the Olympics is on).

 

Let’s hope they have a ratings-blitzing Two and a Half Men repeat on hand for when this moment inevitably plays out again. 

 

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The wrong sex

August 7, 2008

 

After seeing the Sex and The City movie and being overwhelmed by excess clothes, real estate and drinking, one scene stood out as honest and real. Remember when Miranda bravely bared her soul to her three best friends by saying that she and Steve were trapped in a sex drought? Now, you’d think that was the uncomfortable bit, but what followed was the true train-crash moment. Instead of those allegedly loyal mates concurring and sharing their own similar experiences, they reeled in horror and boasted of how this had NEVER happened to them. For Samantha, it goes without saying that she wouldn’t stand for such a situation. But those other two perfectly primped princesses were incredibly disloyal. Since Charlotte hasn’t had to work since marrying first husband Trey, she probably has plenty of time to co-ordinate her underwear with her needs. But for Carrie to coyishly describe her encounters with Big and his extraordinary boudouir creativity was downright rude. It seemed obvious that Miranda had been wronged…but perhaps not.

The theme of the media’s portayal of marital sex has come under scrutiny by the US Parent’s Television Council. The same group who fuelled the fire over Janet Jackson’s nipplegate commissioned a a report titled “Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity Over Marital Intimacy”. The report found that primeteme tv has elevated illicit affairs and devalued the trysts between those who’ve exchanged vows. Their concern is that the excitement of fictional character’s affairs and constant references to boring sex between committed partners is undermining ths institution of marriage. They want the rapturous screentime devoted to immoral sexual relations limited and the image of married sex to be made more racy. According to them, then it will more accurately mimic what’s going on in the bedrooms of the married world.

So, according to the PTC report, it was Miranda who was misrepresenting those of us in the audience and the cut to the scene where Big has filled Carrie’s apartment with candles before man-handling her on the balcony is truly a moment of factually-driven empowerment that will last way after those two ever utter ‘I Do’.

It takes guts

August 1, 2008

During the 5th season of Seinfeld, I discovered that myself and Jerry had something in common.  The episode was called The Dinner Party – the one where all four characters are shopping for things to take to a friend’s place where they’ve been invited for an evening meal.  Elaine and Jerry are in line at a bakery trying to buy Babka when Jerry downs a black and white cookie that ends up making him ill, thus breaking his 14 year long run of not throwing up.

 

Now, I haven’t chucked since 1989, when I was sick with some flu.  That’s right, I’ve held on through all of the subsequent heavy drinking years and contagious diseases.  So when I heard about G4’s new gameshow, my stomach did an involuntary flip as I typed the title ‘Hurl’ into Youtube.

 

The intellectually rigorous premise of Hurl is that strong-stomached contestants (surprisingly, mainly blokes) eat a specifically scheduled choice of foods and then take on physical challenges, while keeping it all down.  The last one to lose their lunch bags $1000.  At least I believe that’s what happens.  I couldn’t bring myself to actually watch the clip, in case my own record was broken.

 

Hurl hasn’t broken any ratings records, but did top Entertainment Weekly’s list of 35 most appalling TV shows ever. It beat out Cheaters, a show about a dwarf groom looking for love and Jerry Springer. Now that takes real guts.