I have been made aware that, since leaving all forms of higher education, it has become solely my responsibility to feed my brain and quench the thirst for knowledge in a continual search for more and more valuable information. Instead, I shirked my obligation, and turned to daytime television.
Waking up late allows me to miss any news shows or culturally relevant programmes and head straight for the good stuff, and what better way to kick-start the day’s mind numbing entertainment than to head over to PickTV and into the dirty Hawaiian underbelly patrolled by Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman and his wife, Ric Flair. This of course is the long-running series ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ where the audience can witness a leather clad, chain-smoking lionesque bounty hunter, accompanied by his extensive bounty family, hunt down and arrest the constant supply of reoffending criminals. Not only can viewers be entertained with the thrill of the chase and little scuffles that break out between the bear mace toting Good, and the crystal meth toking Bad, but as an additional treat get to be parley to the life lessons and teachings doled out by the Dog as he escorts the captured bail jumper to jail. He does deliver the dog gospel in a nice and meaningful way though; he always takes his sunglasses off and screws one last cigarette into the offender’s trembling mouth before leading them to the big house. You couldn’t hope to be caught by a nicer guy, once he’s finished pushing you to the ground, cuffing you and celebrating your capture in your grazed face with his ponytailed family that is.
Once the hour of the Dog has passed, we journey in to the realm of the unexplained and the disturbing. Yes it’s Scouse medium Derek Acorah and his band of believers in Most Haunted. Here we follow a troop of susceptible and terrified explorers as they wander around old houses and repeatedly soil themselves as floorboards creak, wind blows and generally things happen. Basically think a group visit to a National Trust house with the lights off and sinister string music playing. The highlight of the show is invariably when Derek’s body is used as a host for the distempered, and surprisingly all Liverpudlian ‘spirits’ which inhabit the ‘haunted’ houses which feature in the ‘programme’. Embodiments range from friendly old ladies lamenting their ability to protect children or something, to the more menacing, aggressive male characters which particularly love to get in our hostess’, Yvette Fielding, face or look directly in to the camera. It’s amazing to think that these centuries old spectres, who had only candles for light and fires for warmth, are fully au fait with the concept of electricity, I mean, who would have thought it? What’s best is that after an hour of misinterpretation, coincidence and abject terror for the participants, the show invites on a parapsychologist to examine the ‘evidence’ filmed on the night. Unsurprisingly, the footage of Yvette shitting herself rarely satisfies the expert and yet another episode is archived under the heading: lies and deceit.
A relative newcomer to the world of daytime TV, but instantly worthy of recognition is Lizard Lick Towing. This is one of those reality hybrid shows which manage to, by their very nature, entertain and appal simultaneously. For those who are not aware of this miracle of television allow me to summarise it for you in a selection of keywords; redneck, towing company, guns, fighting, more rednecks. Now if that doesn’t get you googling instantly then I don’t know what will. Despite the obvious dramatization, it is impossible to not be amazed by the lengths that these people will go to prevent their beloved cars being towed. Best of all, after the Lizard Lick boys, Ronnie and Bobby (what else would they be called?) cunningly trick the dim-witted car owners into somehow allowing them to remove the vehicle, it is practically guaranteed that the angry party will follow them back to the lot, backed up by a South Parkesque rabble. In fact, so regular are the ruckuses in the Lizard Lick office, that Amy (Ronnie’s powerlifting wife) took to gluing the furnishings down after repeated attempts to use them as weapons. One thing that this show has taught me while siphoning the remnants of IQ out of my wilting brain is that, when a redneck says he’s going to tow your car, you can be damned sure that’s what is going to happen, especially if that’s what it says in the script.
So there you have it, instead of using my spare time to further myself, to learn and expand my mind and my world, I sit glassy-eyed and half comatose while PickTV and Dave spoon feed me no-thought-required, easy watching programmes while my mind crumbles and erodes through the sheer lack of stimulation. I best be going now, I’m sure there’s a programme starting somewhere involving some kind of law enforcement and/or law-breaker to hold my dwindling interest at least until the next advert break.