In February I returned home for one week. A most needed of breaks and very positive. One thing was a bit of a downer and that was UK television. Never before has UK TV been so poor. Filled with game shows that are little more than visual scratch cards with heart stopper moments for the gullible who phone in at peak rates. That perhaps is the bottom of the barrel but the barrel is also filled with appalling reality shows and talent shows. These talent shows are perhaps not as fixed as I would at first think but the producers certainly influence the way people vote with partial editing.
You would think that in Korea I would not be subject to this kind of television. and you'd be half right. On the Korean cable channels that I have there are talent shows but there is no voting involved. There is no chance for the public to fall for the latest sob story and phone thus wasting their own money. But on some of the (limited) English speaking channels these kind of shows span the length of their schedules. From Top Model to Hells Kitchen to America's Got Talent etc etc, whatever America throws out onto the networks, they usually crop up here in Korea. Hey I don't have to watch them do I? No I sure don't and I often don't but when faced with a Nicholas Cage or Steven Segal choice of films, or Beauty and the Geek...well damn, it's a tough one. I may just have to watch that TV show because sometimes you just need to hear English speaking voices.
Whilst I am busy at work in Korea, it would seem that the sheep who eagerly lap up this fare are loving Britain's Got Talent. I know little of this apart from what I read on the BBC and what has been shown on CNN regarding some of the more high profile contestants. I read this article today. Skipping to the end of the story there is a staggering quote from Simon Cowell. Make of it what you will as perhaps it is more than a little flippant but it is full of self importance and arrogance.
Simon Cowell on TV talent shows "It gives the underdog a shot, and I think it's brilliant. The fact that we're allowing the public to make the decisions most of the time is a really good thing. The great thing about it is when you start seeing it in places like China and Afghanistan. It's democracy. We've kinda given democracy back to the world."
The power of TV making rich people even richer. Another reason not to watch junk like this. I must reassess my viewing habits and read even more.