A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Life Is Not a TV Show

Stating the obvious, isn't it?

Talking to a friend the other day about 'culture' (I know, it's deliciously pretentious. I can't help myself sometimes), the main question was why are people so averse to contemporary art, or fringe theatre? And from fringe theatre, we started talking about the next logical progression; the Jeremy Kyle Show. I actually can't watch this show because it makes me feel like I'm squeezing cotton wool whilst having to listen to someone scrape their fingernails down a chalkboard. There are two problems I have with this show:-

1) If I'd done something so despicably bad like gotten pregnant (granted, chances are low) by another man, or conned my partner into thinking we were in much less debt than we actually were, or was having an affair, there is no way in hell I'd parade my misery publicly for the entertainment of the British masses.

2) The guests are chavvy, the audience is quite chavvy, the viewers at home are probably quite chavvy, and Jeremy Kyle is such a self-righteous bastard that I wonder if he will ever get a date again (except with a chav) because of his smug sense of patronising self-satisfaction that his 'tough love' stance always works. Just imagine him having an argument with his wife; he'd never admit he was wrong, but probably bombard her with platitudes until she finally submitted and decided that leaving the petrol tank half empty wasn't worth him harping on for hours about how hard done by he was and how he managed to pull himself out of it.

Poor woman. By the way he's been divorced; I would probably have to say enough is enough at some point as well.

Anyway, the cringe-worthingly poor display of daytime television seeps from TV into the real lives of people. I hope it's not just me, but don't you always have that one friend who always has a drama in their life? A drama that seems so utterly simple to sort out (because, usually, it's by their own blundering fault they've got into the mess), and yet it merits harping on for half an hour about how confused they are?

Of course, as friends, we lend an ear and give them our honest (sometimes sugar coated, sometimes giving Jeremy Kyle a run for his money) opinion and hope they learn. Pat them on the shoulder and send them fresh, back to their dilemma. The only fault with this is that people are obsessed by drama and scandal.

I honestly wonder what happened to the days of the good, old British 'stiff upper lip'; where everything was kept in dignified silence. This, of course, excludes times of real dilemma and emotion. I'm not vindicating bottling everything up forevermore. But since the emergence of soaps and daytime chat shows, people seek excitement by getting themselves into messy predicaments.

Anyway, you can hardly blame them sometimes. Life can be so utterly dull that creating stress can add a bit of zing to what was an otherwise boring lifestyle. But I cannot, in fact I refuse, to believe that with the amount of cheating that goes on is solely a development of modern society. In fact, I also refuse to believe that those people who have cheated were so 'deeply in love' with their partners in the first place.

There are always exceptions, and I think it's important to note. Like sleeping with someone drunkenly; we can all make a mistake. Or perhaps it takes someone to make someone realise that they weren't in love with their partner in the first place.

I think it points towards a depressing ideal perpetuated by shows such as Sex and the City and Ally McBeal; we need someone to be someone. Without someone, you're no-one. So people often 'settle', claim they're 'in love' and then someone who really knocks them off their feet and they think 'Boy, how wrong was I?'. And how often have you told someone you're single and they look at you like a leper? Or your friends try and fix you up so you can be 'just as happy as they are'?

Also, people are under the misguided notion that they will be saved from themselves eventually.

"Oh, it doesn't matter if I smoke this crack; someone's bound to save me from myself eventually"

"Oh, it doesn't matter if I put this one thing on my credit card; someone's bound to save me from myself eventually"

Just like in the Hollywood films, right?


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