There’s nothing more pathetic than an ageing star
Earlier this week, Liz Hurley tweeted about the nation’s obsession with the movements (or lack thereof) of Shane Warne.
“FYI Slender Shane ate very rare steak and chips for dinner. Hold the Front Page,” she wrote, while totally not attention-seeking at all. She did, however, have a point. Why do we still care about the various boring things Shane Warne does?
No doubt it’s the same obsessive curiosity that saw him land a chat show late last year for no particular reason whatsoever. We seem completely unable to discard our celebrities once their usefulness is at an end – and it’s killing Australian television.
Anyone who shows any sign of popularity is hurled at the public until they become background noise, destined for endless Dancing with the Stars appearances and Kerri-Anne advertorials.
The whole thing’s like a giant snow globe - once everything has hit the bottom, give it a shake, turn it upside down and watch the inevitable descent begin again.
There is also so much cross-promotional inbreeding going on that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a game show hosted by a grinning, two-headed, taxidermy fusion of Grant Denyer and Karl Stefanovic. There’s potential there for at least seven or eight seasons, followed by 20 years of random and inexplicable appearances on 20 to 1 panels.
Then, of course, there was the time Channel Nine execs cracked open the Hey Hey It’s Saturday sarcophagus and resurrected its embalmed host, Daryl Somers.
It was as if the entire cast had spent the past decade in that giant, bad guy-trapping glass thing at the start of Superman, tumbling around the universe while endlessly discussing Cold Chisel, Allan Langer and the Minogue sisters.
The result was an awkward and embarrassing attempt to bring an Aussie TV icon back to life in a new era of television without making any effort to make it relevant to its new audience.
And, of course, the Logies are always there to cheer on these mediocre efforts – even if they do hand out a few token awards to whatever Underbelly series is airing.
If anything, the Logies should be used as a clever way to entomb ageing celebrities with several hundred trays of gourmet sushi and a few crates of bubbly.
We could lure them into the venue with a trail of Australian Idol winner-endorsed fragrances, swimwear designed by former athletes and the possibility of being patronized by Richard Wilkins.
Then, when the orgy of self-congratulation reaches its zenith, we chuck in a handful of New Ideas and roll a giant boulder across the door. “It’s for the best!” we’ll shout as panicked publicists frantically claw at the entrance.
Lazily regurgitating celebrities, you see, is not just a disservice to Australian viewers - it’s a disservice to our ageing celebrities, who are forced to wither in plain sight.
We deny them the privilege of slipping quietly into irrelevancy behind the curtain, leaving them unable to create the carefully-crafted illusion of graceful ageing.
Their glory days should be their legacy, not a bunch of Dancing with the Stars appearances. The brightest moments in a star’s life often herald the beginning of its demise.
Perhaps it’s better for all involved if we avert our gaze while there’s still a bit of light left.
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