In 1987 we had Fatal Attraction convincing us of the crazed capabilities of the Other Woman. When Glenn Close’s character Alex said: “I won’t be ignored, Dan”, she made every philanderer’s old fella shrivel in fear.
Ten years later, Monica Lewinsky cemented the star status of the Other Woman by forcing a sitting president to admit he had an “improper relationship” with her.
Her trump card came in the form of a stained blue dress, but her triumph was short-lived. In time, the only stain that stuck was the one on Lewinsky’s character.
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David Attenborough teaches us about the birds and the bees, Four Corners reveals what’s happening in the world, but for real lessons in life, I reckon you can’t go past MKR.
Yes, it’s over-produced and the cross-marketing is shameless and the catty contestants always [itals] say[end itals] they’re misrepresented and the ads go on forever ... but there’s nothing this show can’t teach us about self-respect, teamwork and how to get ahead.
Be humble, first and foremost.
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Something beautiful happened last night on Channel Nine. On Big Brother, a guy called Josh Moore whose brother died unexpectedly this week, exited the house with grace, poise and sheer gentlemanly class.
In a week when our TV screens have been filled with 50 year olds carrying on like the proverbial pork chops in a large House in Canberra, how ironic that it should take a bunch of 20 year olds in a large house on the Gold Coast to remind us that Australians can be decent, warm-spirited people.
Normally Big Brother is unwatchable. It is hour after hour of ineducable dullards lolling about dry humping, cooking inedible food and generally having the sort of meaningless, circular conversations worthy of stoners. But last night it rose several levels above all that.
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Adele was born intersex; not quite female and not quite male. Her parents decided to raise her as a boy and she was given testosterone so she’d develop male characteristics.
She did – including male pattern baldness. Later, when she realised she felt more female than male, she had dodgy cheap hair implants put in to cover her sparse hair. She also had buttock implants done to create a more feminine silhouette.
It all went wrong. One buttock implant ruptured, causing her immense pain. Her hair looked like elephantine bristles, sparse tufts coming from scar tissue.
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I am still surprised it took this long for Big Brother to return to Australian TV screens. When it finished its run on Channel Ten back in 2008, I didn’t think it would be long before another network picked it up and produced a scaled-down, low-key version for some late-night padding to help fill up their Australian content quota.
As per usual, I was wrong. Either the image of the increasingly scandal-ridden show was too tainted for our highly risk-adverse network executives, or it took the good folks at Dreamworld a full four years to come up with a wacky new hot tub design.
So, I watched last night’s premiere on Nine with a genuine professional and personal interest (being a media studies academic, and having worked in a minor role in the production of one of the show’s earlier iterations), and I really wanted to see how it would all pan out.
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By the year 2014, scientists - meaning my brain - predict that four out of every five Australians will have participated in a televised cooking, singing or renovation competition.
Unable to find anyone over the age of six who hasn’t ruined a batch of macarons, covered an ‘80s ballad or panicked about tiling patterns on national TV, producers will be forced to resort to the construction of an army of immortal robots tasked with endlessly installing water features and preparing fusion dishes until civilisation crumbles and George Calombaris becomes ruler of the rag-tag group of rebels who patrol the Earth’s shattered highways.
For years, our screens have been dominated by accountants and architects in aprons, couples having domestics on building sites and bubbly teens with floppy fringes sacrificing themselves to Kyle Sandilands - the human-shaped God of Patronising Rage.
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MasterChef is about to reclaim its crown as the best reality show on television. Controversial call, I realise. And possibly more hope than prediction on my part.
Some will argue that 3.2 million fans of The Voice can’t be wrong, and admittedly, those blind auditions were sensational. But after Monday night’s battle round episode, where the judges backed the sexy, but much less talented Prinnie Stevens over the larger Mahalia Barnes – who they pretty much admitted was the better singer - the show has lost its unique selling point.
It’s clearly not just about rewarding the best vocal performance any more, which means it’s in danger of becoming a glorified Australian Idol, with stranger rules and a faster eviction rate.
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“Some day, far into the future, this here machine will become a powerful medium with the potential to unite nations and inspire common folk through high-definition images of overweight D-list celebrities struggling to run and weeping atop rowing machines”.
Do you know to whom this quote - which is believed to have been uttered at the unveiling of the first television set - is most commonly attributed to?
Nobody. Absolutely no one said this.
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A new report has found that women on MTV reality television programs call each other rodents, skanks, trash bags, tricks (whatever that is) and hoes. The study condemns reality television’s negative depictions of female and male behaviour, as the networks compete to reach the next level of shock value. It can’t be denied that reality television often exploits and humiliates its participants for entertainment value.
There is, however, a notable exception in Junior MasterChef 2011, which has made a visible effort to protect the emotional and mental health of its young participants. I’ve observed the previews of both Junior MasterChef seasons with a resolve not to support a competition that places unnecessary, national pressure on children. But I’ve been won over by the optimism and resilience of the young participants.
The challenges are colourful, the judges gentle, and each negative comment comes wedged in a compliment sandwich. Children aren’t alienated from their families – a stark comparison with its adult counterpart, where participants must resign from society. The judges focus on celebrating the leaders of the scoreboard rather than exploiting the losers, and deliberate strategies are implemented to build upon the children’s self-confidence.
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Hold for applause… and that’s a wrap, people. Altiyan - thanks for coming.
It must have been so promising to be voted number one on X Factor - the poor man’s Australian Idol - but ultimately Australia was done with reality singing contests years ago.
We’ve had Guy Sebastian (easily the most successful, praise the lord), Lisa Mitchell (a real winner who was kicked out early), Jessica Mauboy, (good, but still filling the support role) and Damien Leith (to handle Mother’s Day releases).
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More than 90 per cent of people who finish Snooki’s book A Shore Thing reportedly Google the phrase: “If I hold my breath for 45 seconds while repeatedly head-butting a wall, will I get amnesia?”
A more pressing question for many of you, however, is probably “who or what is a Snooki?”
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is the result of an innovative reality television show called Jersey Shore which places a bunch of potential sexual harassment lawsuits in a house in New Jersey and leaves them to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned ‘roid rage, borderline alcoholism and painful acronym-inventing (eg. DTF).
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This week one and a half million odd people who tuned in watch the NSW fork lift driver Altiyan Childs take the top prize on the X Factor.
Finally Seven got the kind of ratings they had surely been hoping to snag for their big-budget import throughout the season after an overwhelmingly apathetic response from viewers.
As the series limped along, each week it failed to reach the stratospheric numbers the network must have been praying for after shelling out that sort of big bucks.
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It seems the gloves have come off recently, and everybody is climbing on their high horse about the level of stupidity on television.
I’m not sure why there seems to be this sudden upsurge of feeling superior to those who tune in to such things as Jersey Shore—which seems to be a major culprit in the upturn—but it’s reached the point where it requires examination.
As though tuning in to the National Press Club Address somehow makes one less stupid than changing the channel to a ludicrously scripted bit of televised nonsense.
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“Dead in the water” is how industry insiders have described Channel 10’s So You Think You Can Dance in the wake of reports it’s the latest reality show destined for the scrapheap.
Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that the combination of a poor fourth season and Natalie Bassingwaithe’s extended abscence due to maternity leave, has left the program the “worst-rated” since it debuted in February 2008.
Ouch. But what do you think, are there any disappointed fans out there?
Or, if the decision was yours, would it really be the first reality show you’d be happy to see the back of?
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There was a time, not so long ago, when critics predicted the end of reality television.
Big Brother had the infamous ‘turkey slap,’ incident, Extreme Makeover and The Swan filmed people surgically mutilating themselves in order to look like Barbie and Ken dolls, while programs like Survivor, The Bachelor, Boot Camp and even the Biggest Loser, not only revealed the depths to which human nature would sink, but invited competitors and viewers to revel in displays of excess: flesh, emotions, psychological reactions and banality.
Cheap to produce, it seemed that ‘actuality’ programming had reached its nadir. Lately, however, there is a rebirth of the genre.
After three months, 7500 applications, a top 50, then a top 20, MasterChef Australia now has a Top Six to duke it out in the final week of this extremely popular TV show.
The eliminations start on Monday, and there will only be two left standing for the Grand Final on Sunday 19th July.
Who will win? I rate the finalists:
The beer merchant from Melbourne has barely put a foot wrong in the competition with strong innovative cooking. However he is starting to look like he could do a Greg Norman, and choke as he gets near the finish line.
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