I have an addiction to popular culture TV. I love X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Strictly, I’m a Celeb, Celebrity Big Brother (not the other one) and all sorts of “reality” TV programmes. Although not all, and my taste isn’t restricted to such shows either. There are two programmes I’ve recently been introduced to that when I heard of them I decided were not for me, but I am hooked.
The first one is Channel 4’s Gogglebox. If you don’t know this show, you’ll be astounded when I tell you. It’s shows people watching television, that’s all. People are filmed watching the telly and their reactions shown on prime time TV.
There is a set cast for this, there’s a couple of families, some couples, a few friend duos and the same people are on it each week. There’s a fascination in seeing how people who are poles apart react in the same way to certain things. Seeing the middle class couple watching TV with their wine and the two girl friends from Brixton watching with their Pot Noodle and Fanta (other snack foods and pop are available) finding the same things risible, annoying or touching is interesting, although not surprising.
The real stars of the show are the comedic lines that the viewers on the show treat us to. The comments on the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service will now go down in Flavin family history, we laughed until we cried, or choked, I was still giggling 40 minutes later, it was a great tonic in the middle of a busy week.
The second one is on MTV and is called Catfish. Catfish is the American term used for someone who has a fake identity on the internet. Some might say anonymous, some might say sockpuppet and some my try and give such behaviour kudos by saying pseudonymous, but it all boils down to the same thing, a fake internet identity.
There are two presenters of the show, Nev and Max. People get in touch with the show when they are in an on line relationship with someone who they cannot fully identify. Max and Nev then trace the person using the fake identity, and will take the person who wants to know them to meet them. The outcome is always interesting. Some people are exactly who they say they are, some look nothing like the photos that have been sent, some are totally different. There have been married people claiming to be single, men claiming to be women, women claiming to be men, those who, as I said, assume a different physicality on line.
The episode I found most intriguing was the story of a young lady named Keyonna who believed herself to be in a relationship with everybody’s favourite rap star, Bow Wow (me neither). What made this one so interesting was the fact “Bow Wow” had sent Keyonna $10,000. When our generous benefactor was traced, they turned out to be a young lady called Dee who wanted a relationship with Keyonna, it weren’t gunna happen.
The vast majority of people that Max and Nev help come away hurt, bruised and disinclined to ever trust again, be it in real life human, or an on line persona
Something any rational person will understand.