Charlie, Cheaters and Chavs- Trash TV

Back when I was on the dole I used to watch a lot of daytime TV, you have to, its in the non-job description. I used to particularly like the old crime shows- Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Magnum PI and TJ Hooker. I also had a soft spot for Charlie’s Angels, which was lovably naff and featured the charms of Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson.

The Original Angels- Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, I've always preferred brunettes

The Barrymore-Diaz-Liu film version was okay, the first one anyway, the sequel was utter dross.

Anyway, they were remaking it as a TV show, and I kinda wanted to see it. Then I saw the trailer and my enthusiasm waned, it looked awful. But, I still wound up putting on the first episode.

It was just as bad as I’d feared.  To kick it off the opening showed the three angels as a dirty cop, a cat burglar and a former US marine. Say what? Your heroine is a dirty cop? And a poor little rich kid turned thief? I’m already a little bored, the marine might be interesting though, a genuine badass character.

She got blown up in the first 10 minutes.

So they teamed up with her friend who had a connection with the child trafficker they were trying to put away. See that’s a problem right there, Charlie’s Angels is supposed to be daft fun. A murder here, a kidnapping there. But child trafficking? Its a bit heavy.

The tone was all wrong as well, they tried to play it straight and serious, which totally backfired it didn’t help that the Blonde Angel gave a performance that made you hope they planned to blow up an Angel every week. Blondie clearly was trying to go for tough and sassy, but missed the mark and just came across as a total wanker.

Also the Angels’ confidence and swagger was undermined by the fact that the opening mission to rescue a girl kidnapped by the traffickers seemed to imply that Charlie had done all the work. He told them who had the girl, where she was being kept and when they were going to move her. Umm, I thought they were supposed to be detectives?

It wasn’t helped that the script had some truly dire dialogue, my favourite being:

Blonde Angel: I never thought my heart could hurt this much.

And some out and out cheese, such as when Blonde Angel said that Dead Angel didn’t have any family, to which Black Angel responded: “She had family, she was our sister.” Vomit.

From there on out it was like cliche bingo- “I’m no angel”, “If its the last thing we do” and “bring it on” all cropped up.

But the worst thing? Bosley.

In the original series Bosley was the group’s buffoonish handler, who was kind of like an uncle figure to the group and served as the show’s comic relief. He looked like this:

Clearly, however, the new producers decided this wasn’t good enough and so Bos was reborn as a hunky hacker who’s first appearance was in a hot tub with two bikini clad girls. Now, it might be that they intended to have a Bosley-New Angel romance develop, but we’ll never know because thankfully the plug was pulled on this show after only 7 episodes were made. Judging by the pilot that’s 7 episodes too many.

As bad as the trailer for Charlie’s Angles was, another trailer filled me with even greater horror, for the reality TV show, Cheaters. This looked like a truly horrible, exploitative piece of trash TV.

Basically, the show features hidden cameras and surveillance of various blokes going off and cheating on their girlfriends (it appeared to be mainly guys doing the cheating, which seems a tad unfair). The injured party is then shown the footage and zoomed over to interrupt their straying partner in the act, leading to an on camera confrontation, including yelling, violence and tears, the three key ingredients in any reality TV show.

Now, a case could be made that these guys deserve it, they’ve been misbehaving and deserve to get caught out, but the show isn’t doing this as some kind of romantic version of Frank Castle, dishing out punishment for relationship crimes, its doing it so the audience at home can enjoy the spectacle, and lets be honest laugh at the people involved.

But the trailer then showed something that clearly lost the show its tenuous grip on the moral high ground completely. They were talking to a girl and told her that the guy she was seeing had another girlfriend. And was getting married that day. Cue them crashing the wedding to confront him at the altar.

Not cool.

I mean, okay, he shouldn’t have been cheating and his bride-to-be probably deserved a warning, but crashing the wedding? That’s pretty low. I mean, number one, you’re embarrassing and humiliating the bride in public, in front of her entire family, which is bad enough, but also, what justification does the other woman have, she’s not the hurt party here, she’s the other woman. Sure, let her know the truth, maybe have the confrontation before the wedding, but clearly the bride-to-be is merely collateral damage, and is made to suffer as a result.

The classy move would be to meet and talk to the bride before the wedding day and explain the situation. The guy’s the villain of the piece, but the altar ambush? I’m sorry but the other woman just became just as bad as the fella.

Also, I think in cases where it turns out the bloke is innocent they should maybe tell him that his girlfriend has contacted a TV show to tail him because of her suspicions. Like I’ve argued before, how can you have a relationship where there’s that level of mistrust. And the producers would still get the arguments and crying they want.

I can’t get on too high a horse though, because I do regularly enjoy schadenfreude and will watch a fair amount of exploitative TV, including Britain’s own The Jeremy Kyle Show. But of late JK seems to have been slowly trying to move upmarket and more serious.

The most punchable man in Britain?

The last few weeks I’ve seen shows about abuse victims and how assaults have torn families and lives apart. Yes, these issues are important and public understanding of them needs to be raised, but there’s a time and a place, and the Jeremy Kyle Show is neither.

JK exists as entertainment, yes its cruel in many ways, but its entertaining. Lie detectors, DNA tests, tracksuited louts yelling at each other. You laugh at the idiots involved, you pick sides (if the mother ever says she’s 100% sure that he’s the dad I automatically root for him not to be) and marvel at the horrible everyday stupidity people are capable of.

At 9:30 I want to be able to sit on my sofa in my pajamas, eat some muesli and feel superior, its not nice but its true.



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