Monday, October 20, 2008

That reality TV feeling

Are you addicted yet? Have Saturday nights become a complete TV fest - from the sparkles and sequins of Strictly Come Dancing to the bright lights and bad hair of X-Factor?
I know that every year I say I won’t get caught up in the hype and yet every year I do and now, as the weekend approaches, I get a little excited at the thought of my Saturday night in front of the telly. (Which isn’t as sad as it sounds, honest, being almost five months pregnant - a girl is allowed a few indulgences.)
In fairness ‘Strictly’ has a special place in my heart. Having taken dance lessons a few years back I watch it wistfully with an air of “I coulda been a contender” in my heart. Of course my dance teachers at the time might well disagree with that but what woman doesn’t watch the likes of Erin Boag and Lilia Kopylova and not feel that pang of jealously?
There are the sparkly dresses, the chiffon, the delicate gold ballroom shoes and the hair adorned with sparkling chips and glittery hairspray. Not to mention these ladies have legs which go one for miles and tummies without a single stretch mark (stark contrast to my current roadmap status).
Yes, we may be grown up, but nothing sets a woman’s heart racing more than a bit of glitz and glamour (and the sight of Vincent Simone shaking his hips in a delicious salsa). ‘Strictly’ is my guilty pleasure. Yes sometimes the boy will look to watch it with me, but most of the time he can be persuaded into another room and I’ll lose myself in the dances and make suitably impressed or disgusted noises at the judges’ observations.
By the time it’s over, I always convince myself that once I’m fit and able, I’ll get back to those dance classes and I spend the evening daydreaming of my once around the floor with one of the hunky professionals.
Then of course, it’s time for the X-factor and this is where the real family entertainment bit comes into play. The boy arrives in to dance to the theme tune and stand hands crossed declaring he has the X-factor while my husband takes to his favourite chair to do his best grumpy Simon Cowell impression throughout.
For a man who has not a note in his head (and as an equally tuneless person, I should know) I’m constantly amazed at how he turns into a musical expert each and every Saturday night. But then I suppose part of the fun of X-factor is that we all take our place on the judging panel - passing comment on everything from the singing to the clothes to the hairstyles. (For the record, contestants could you please brush your hair tomorrow night? I don’t care if the ‘bedhead’ look is in at the moment - I want some personal grooming, thank you.)
This year we do have a local interest in the form of Eoghan Quigg - who is apparantly 16 but doesn’t look a day over 12. I have to say I watched the show last week from behind a cushion. There are some amazing singers this year - with Alexandra and Laura to name but two giving outstanding performances. How on earth would or could the wee lad from Dungiven match up? I almost, almost didn’t want to watch and when the band started up with the opening notes of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ I really didn’t want to watch. But he did good - he even made me cry (which in fairness due to the hormones, isn’t that difficult. I cry at advertisements at the moment.)
The husband, not being from Derry, made “Hmmm, that was okay” noises, and sheer loyalty to a local lad had us all phoning to vote for him anyway. But what is it that makes these programmes so appealing? Sure it’s good clean entertainment and that always helps when it comes to me deciding our family viewing - but there is more to the appeal of these shows than just that. Maybe it is because they are showing us people achieving their dreams, pushing themselves a wee bit harder and working to get to the end of the series.
Perhaps it is the fear of them falling flat on their face (literally as the case may be in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’) that keeps us tuning in. I’d like to think the biggest part of the attraction for me is knowing that they are going out there, live on stage and doing their best. That takes a certain amount of guts - putting yourself up for public praise or public criticism takes a lot of guts. Knowing that to achieve your goal you have to put yourself in the eye of the media storm and take whatever comes at you isn’t easy.
Be it one false turn on the dance floor, one dud note in a power ballad - these contestants can have their fortunes turn in a heartbeat. And that, to me, makes great viewing. So roll on tomorrow night - I’ll be there in front of the telly, cheering them all on.

2 comments:

Fionnuala said...

I too love Sat night tv - so much so I have invested in sky plus as the Hubby is keeping me out for the past three out of four sat nights. I cant have it. Sky plus was a must even in these CC times. I cannot, I will not miss STC and XF just becasue we've had two weddings and a family 21st the last 3 sat nights. It had to be done. You understand don't you?

Penelope said...

SCD is the only TV show I watch religiously, and I mean 7 nights a week - I don't miss a single episode of SITT either. I hate December when it all ends and I'm bereft for the next 8 months.
Luckily TGI is a rather keen dancer and so in between times I'm getting in some lessons too - yay!
PS Vincent and Brendon are my guilty pleasures ;o)

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