Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Things that make me go hmmm – on TV (Part 3)

These days almost every TV genre now has its list of cliches that can be called upon at will, but I can't help thinking that, despite the frequent pasting that X Factor and the other reality TV shows receive for their sob story-strewn inanities, the worst offender in the cliche stakes is the property programme.

The fatuous cliches of property programmes
Oh God, where do I start? The phrase 'an embarrassment of riches' is bolting to the forefront of my brain like a rampant stallion. Perhaps it's the omnipresence of these programmes that makes it seem that every other sentence contains some trite horror or other.

The unwritten rules of daytime TV dictate that every property or lifestyle programme (and here I include such offerings as Escape To the Country, Wanted Down Under, Location Location Location, Homes Under the Hammer and a myriad others) contains the following triumvirate of terror:

Talk of “going on a journey”: by no means confined to 'talent' shows, this particular abomination can now be used to describe nothing more emotionally arduous than a couple of days spent viewing property in Rutland. At least X Factor contestants have had to endure the hardship of being separated from their families and the trauma of singing live on TV with millions watching and without an ounce of originality or talent to back their quest for superstardom.

“Ticks all the boxes”: there is no other phrase that has quite the power to reveal the paucity of imagination of the average participant in these celebrations of mental mediocrity. Wouldn't you, dear reader, turn puce and go blind rather than utter such a prime example of brain-fart? I know I would! What's wrong with, “Yes, this does appear to be just what we're looking for” or “Well, we asked for three bedrooms and this has four, so it actually exceeds our requirements”?

“The wow factor”: this well-worn description is liberally applied throughout, whether the property being viewed is a sixteen-bedroom mansion in Buckinghamshire or a two-bed maisonette in Catford. Obviously some properties are genuinely impressive but the constant expectation that the featured home should be a palace fit to make Marie Antoinette weep with envy is as tiresome for the viewer as it surely must be for the presenter.

Come on, people! We really can’t be THAT short of originality and intelligence – can we?!

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