Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wondering about TV

Okay, I admit it, I'm currently probably watching too much TV. But as I start working in a new job next week, I feel I'm entitled to enjoy the little vacation beforehand. After all, being unemployed isn't the same as being on vacation. But what I've been watching shows me that TV seems to get worse and worse.

I don't mean the TV series, they aren't that good, but they aren't that worse either, just mediocre. Admittedly, we're getting too many daily soaps (considering that 20 years or so ago the first weekly soap was aired and every critic predicted a quick end ... it's still running), but that's an international trend, I think. At least we get German daily soaps now, not just the imported stuff from the United States or Latin America (which, I know, aren't daily soaps as a such, but "tele novelas" that only run for a certain number of episodes - they can still seem endless in the middle). That doesn't necessarily make the new stuff better (I'm not a fan of daily soaps myself, anyway), but at least it's a little bit closer to German reality this way. Not that the stories or characters seem very realistic to me...

What I mean when I'm talking about TV-programs getting so bad, I mainly mean the reality TV and the talk shows.

Talk shows have been digressing for years. The great hype was at least 15 years ago and the 'good' (or at least interesting) topics have been dealt with by now. These days it's just who slept with whom, who has fathered that child and so on. If you can predict the outcome of a show after two minutes, then what's the point in watching?

In addition, the number of reality formats has increased considerably. There are some which aren't 'real' reality, like all the 'court shows' that have bloomed over the last couple of years (and are getting fewer and fewer by now). Then there are formats with 'real people' - shows about family upbringing, about three or four people fighting to get one job (of course that makes people fear about not getting a job much more then) and so on. The only good thing all those formats have brought is the genre of TV shows about those formats.

One of the worst has inspired me to do this post: "Frauentausch". The show basically is about two women changing their families (something I find quite dubious anyway) for a certain number of days (ten, it seems - I've only seen a couple of them, mostly during my times of unemployment, because they have reruns in the morning). Apart from the fact that a lot of the matches don't 'match' at all (sending a woman from a large city to a family living on a farm and vice versa, for example), the whole idea of a woman - quite often with young children - just going away and a new woman coming into the family, is quite strange.

I don't really see the point in it, too. Families are different, that's a simple fact of life. Every family works differently, too. Of course, there's quite a difference between a woman with one child living in four rooms somewhere in Berlin, for example, and a woman taking care of her own business and three children in a small town somewhere in Bavaria. It would be strange if their lives and days were alike.

And of course there's a lot of 'drama' happening in the show. Women are missing their children, children are missing their mothers, husbands are missing their wives (or at least they're missing their partners, the couples don't necessarily have to be married) and the other way around. This, too, is one reason why I find this format stupid.

Then there are at least two formats about professional cleaners going into peoples homes to teach them how to clean everything right. Apart from the fact that most working people can not spent hours cleaning their homes, the whole idea of exposing the 'dirty secrets' (in this case in the real meaning of the word) to the audience isn't my cup of tea either.

My rooms certainly aren't that clean either, they'd probably find a lot to clean there as well. But first of all I'm not a great believer in disinfecting everything (and the fact that I'm rarely getting some sort of infection and don't have any allergies I know of, apart from a slight one to sunlight, seems to prove I'm right), and in addition I happen to like my flat the way it is. There might be some dust on the TV set and other surfaces, but I don't see the point - or want to take the time - to do a complete cleaning every week. Once a month is enough for the dusting - of course, I hoover my rooms once a week and clean my toilet even more often. Everyone has a different view on what's important. On my list dusting is at the bottom together with cleaning my windows (and ironing, but luckily I have few things to iron).

There are other formats I find a bit dubious, even though they have more useful information (like one about families in debt). But then, a lot of those formats probably work that well because people don't see certain things as normal. My mother taught me how to cook and how to iron (and do all the other things of my household) - I can even sew and knit (though I'm not doing it regularly). A lot of the young women these days don't get that kind of education. In addition, my mother also taught me how to do all those small repair jobs around the house, too. She really believed in teaching her daughter how to take care of a home herself - without a man around. But she couldn't get me to do a regular dusting as often as she does it...

I really wonder why TV stations spent so much money on making those shows instead of doing some good TV movies themselves - or at least buy some good TV movies and shows somewhere else.

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