Looking at RTÉ’s new TV schedule I am reminded of Leo Anthony Gallagher’s quip “I wish there was a knob on the TV so you could turn up the intelligence”.
Take Thursday’s new show on RTÉ2, seriously entitled, The Love Clinic. Its blurb says it offers “hopeless singletons” (is there any other kind?) “a mind and body makeover with a view to helping them find love“. The viewer is invited to watch people on their “emotional and relatable journeys”. Personally I would rather an invitation to my own execution.
I’m not sure that I can relate to cheap voyeurism dressed up as factual TV programming. There is nothing big or clever preying on the narcissistic insecurities of people. RTÉ describes these people as “hopeless singletons”. You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to see how these hopeless singletons will be portrayed.
I know what it is like to be of a certain age and be single. The auld dears come up to you at weddings and smile knowingly and say “it’ll be your turn next dear, if we can find someone stupid enough to be with you”, at funerals they look at you, like you should be the one that is dead. But RTÉ can help, they will give you a stylist and a psychotherapist FOR FREE and all you have to do is to pour your heart out and tell the nation why you’re so awful that you’re single. I’m quite sure they will have loads of success after they do the show. “Ohhhhh you’re the loon that was on The Love Clinic” followed by the sound of feet running away.
I wondered how low RTÉ could go…
It warmed the cockles of my TV heart to see that RTÉ have not cut daytime children’s programming. Dáithí Ó Sé, the unintelligible Rose of Tralee host who’s been known to make women’s knees the country over tremble at the very sound of his voice, is to co-host RTÉ’s new daytime TV show. “Today,” an hour long show will be fronted by Dáithí Ó Sé, Maura Derrane, Norah Casey and Bláithnaid Ní Chofaigh. Too many cooks in the kitchen, maybe?
The RTÉ blurb reads; “Today will be a mix of the issues of the day including entertainment news, food, fashion, books, health, home and garden, money, parenting and kids, relationships and travel”. They left out the economy, politics, sex and violence. When questioned why no sex, RTÉ claimed daytime sex on television is dangerous. Sex on television is only dangerous if you fall off.
The blurb also reads; “It will use a mix of contributors from RTÉ’s studios around the country, with viewer feedback via text, email and Twitter”. Wow how innovative is that? Cutting edge programming up there with its predecessors, Remember Live at 3, PM live or the recently axed Four Live and the Daily Show. All the same format, all axed.
The most memorable thing ever to happen on RTÉ daytime TV was when Thelma Mansfield, the co-host of Live at 3, went shopping for petrol in rural Ireland. The trip would prove to be a memorable one for all the wrong reasons. Upon entering a garage she noticed a newspaper headline on a stand. The newspaper headline read Live at 3 was going to be axed by Director of Television Joe Mulholland. She had had no idea this was about to happen and the audience shared her moment of agony.
The RTÉ budget deficit (according to its annual report) was €16.8m last year. Jobs are being cut, wages are being slashed and RTÉ still imports the vast majority of its programming. A brief analysis of RTÉ2 programming over a 48 hour period last Sunday and Monday showed that just six TV shows were home made. Two of those were the GAA Sunday Game. The trend on RTÉ2 continues the same way for the rest of the week. The vast majority of all these imported TV shows are available on other channels. So why continue with RTÉ2? It serves no public service that other channels are not all ready providing. Sell it, get rid of it or relaunch it as an adult channel, anything would be more interesting than watching The Love Clinic.
Maybe RTÉ are on the right track, television has shown humanity that we would watch anything rather than talk to each other.