Tuesday, November 09, 2021

NOW that the clocks have changed and we are encompassed by a bit more darkness than we’ve been used to, it’s safe to assume we’ll be bedding in for the winter and watching a lot more TV.

Recently I had occasion to totally unplug everything for several days as we were decorating. Telly, Sky box, DVD: all had to be switched off and removed. The thing is, in other years that would have put me out big time and inconvenienced me greatly.  This time, it’s merely a nuisance and didn’t bother me in the slightest.

It got me thinking though, what kind of shows I go to as destination viewing as opposed to casual surfing. Interestingly, there are precious few and the only one I want to see every week at the minute is Larry David’s excellent sitcom, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Outside of that, there’s little I care to make sure I don’t miss.

Maybe the lack of urgency to watch stuff is down to endless repeats. For a bit of fun, I decided to dream up a few new ideas for shows. At the very least it might freshen things up and it would give the Gogglebox crew something to talk about. Now that was a really clever idea.

A show about watching people watching other people on the box!  On paper it shouldn’t have worked and while I haven’t seen much of it at all, from the clips I have seen I can see why it’s so compelling.

My first idea, I’m calling, ‘TD Takeover’. For a few weeks, a lucky punter gets to shadow one of our TD’s and then for a few days actually step in for the TD. If viewers feel the stand in is asking intelligent or at least relevant questions, they can vote to allow them to speak in the Dáil or appear on ‘Primetime’ instead of the TD. They might even endeavour to get legislation looked at if not changed.

I’d love to see Michael Healy Rae having a burger with a member of the public and talking turkey about stuff that’s important to all of us. Viewers would also be able to text in questions and have their say. There are plenty of other angles with this that could be fleshed out Might be a winner.

Secondly, how many times have you sat listening to the panelists on GAA, rugby or soccer programmes and agree or disagreed with their slant on the live match in question.

I suggest a competition where an ordinary Joe Public gets an opportunity to actually be on one of the panels and really gets chance to say what they think.

It’s the kind of thing that’s been going on in the pubs of Ireland for decades anyway. “That fella hasn’t a clue. Is he watching the same game at all?!”

I’m amazed at how many safe, bland and boring analysts RTE has managed to unearth over the last five years or so. I can’t remember the last time anyone got hot under the collar putting across a particular point of view with a degree of passion.

God forbid someone might be ‘controversial’. Is there any sign of a George Hook or an Eamon Dunphy anywhere out there? I wonder. They are missed.

How cool would it be though to see Harry Byrne from the Cork Road having a right pop at Ronaldo or letting loose with gusto on lousy tackles and overpaid professional soccer players falling around like old women? Better still by far would be the remit that the ‘guest’ analyst should be encouraged to take on fellow panelists and not hold back. Now that would give the ratings a rattle.

I’m not immune to watching the odd bit of reality TV. For the most part though, it’s just not for me and I just don’t get it. Love Island? Give me a break. That’s time I’ll never get back.  Even the celebrities in the jungle lost its appeal after the first two years.

However, there are many thousands that love it, otherwise they wouldn’t still be making it, so here goes with my idea.

For a dose of real reality TV, why not focus on the typical weekend night out in an average Irish city or large town.

‘Taxi Tours’ would hone in on the comings and goings of punters heading to and from nightclubs and the like on a Saturday night for example. The amount of ‘interesting’ conversation taxi drivers are privy to would surely fill a half hour slot at least.

From the fashion point of view alone, it could pull in viewers curious as to what the cool set are wearing heading out for a night on the tiles. Not to mention how they behave on the way home.

My final idea for a show might not go down too well with the more ‘religious’ among you but I’ll throw it out there anyway. I’m titling this ‘Confessions from Outside The Confession Box’. Naturally, prospective viewers would have to sign release forms and give their permission to be filmed.

The premise would revolve around penitents and the whole experience beginning with a pre-entrance on camera chat about what they think of the whole process and what they might need to unload, within reason of course. No one would need to divulge more than necessary.

It’s unlikely that any priests would be given permission to participate in the programme but you never know. I believe there’s definitely some good voyeuristic merit in watching people going into a dark box to discuss intimate things that they’re totally uncomfortable with.

Cameras would meet up with the subject upon his exiting the box and have a few moments to reflect on what had just happened and how they felt now prior to their own private time doing penance. Do you feel better for attending? How important is unloading your sins to you?

Now of course, confidentiality would have to be observed, but some participants might be more forthcoming than others. Here’s where some skillful editing pays off. It is TV after all. We all want the juicy stuff, don’t we? Who knows, it might be a huge boost for the Catholic Church?

It’s highly unlikely that any innovative production companies will be beating a path to my door to discuss developing these ideas, but they’re here now in black and white so no stealing.

Meanwhile, don’t miss the new season of ‘Curb’ on Monday nights on Sky Comedy.

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