Don’t think I watch it, because I don’t. Ever. It just happened to be right there in front of my eyes one evening because someone had walked off and left the gogglebox turned on. I couldn’t believe it anyway. Who could? The World’s Funniest Something-Or-Other. A mind-boggling sortie into the life of the common-or-garden suburban family – though in this case it happened to contain both common AND garden.
What appeared to be going down was this: some people – who were obviously not the brightest chickens in the henhouse – had taken their video camera outside while they were having a barbeque. Just on the offchance, as you do. And they’d filmed these rooooolly exciting things like a fat kid falling through the middle of a rotting trampoline mat, the family cat igniting as it walked past the birthday cake and Uncle Dumbarse being whacked across the back of the neck by Auntie Doofus – who was on the other end of a cricket bat at the time. Hilarious? Not. The only funny thing involved (peculiar, not ha ha), was how these people had actually had the bright idea (you can hear the ‘ping’ of the little lightbulb coming on above the head), of sending this appalling crap to a TV station – which, even more amazingly, had nothing better to do than air it!
You can imagine this family sitting around the box on the evening in question, sated with barbeque fare but tucking into beer and Cheezels anyway, laughing their wobbly bits off as they replayed their merry antics – again and again and again. Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk! Then Auntie Doofus would say (insert light bulb special effect here): ‘Hey – we oughta send it in to ‘Straylya’s Funniest Home Oxymoron … we moyt WIN!’
And win they certainly did! They won another camcorder, which is pretty terrific, as there’s now no holding them back. They’ll be able to re-record the fat kid (which, due to its own padding, miraculously survived its death-defying plummet through the dilapidated canvas); this time hurtling from a minibike into the guinea pig hutch. They’ll record the remains of the guinea pigs. They’ll record Part 2 of the Dumbarse’n’Doofus Show. In which he kills her.
While the show was in progress, a voice-over man gave a running commentary. Just in case the audience couldn’t get a handle on what was going down. It was both witty and enlightening: ‘… and here comes Auntie Doofus … WHACK! He’s down for the count!’ There followed much canned mirth. ‘Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk!’ The studio audience had obviously been fed a cocktail of amphetamines in red cordial in order to cope with this frivolity. They just couldn’t get enough of it. A blonde hostessy creature came on in between events and made a few witty and enlightening observations re Auntie Doofus in a voice akin to a not-very-eloquent parrot. ‘What a woman, eh? She could bat for ‘Straylya! Hyuk, hyuk!’
Give us a break. Please. Does this rate? Do TV executives actually think it’s amusing to encourage the terminally brain-dead to set fire to their pets and hurl their obese offspring head first into garden furniture, just on the offchance they might acquire a camcorder? Or do these people really take video recorders to family barbeques? If so – why? Will anybody want to look back in 20 years at Uncle Dumbarse sucking blissfully on the fat of a greasy chop with half a dozen empty beer bottles lined up beside him and his right testicle escaping from the leghole of his vile old Stubbies? Will they look back fondly at the grubby teatowels flapping behind him on the Hills Hoist and marvel at how the bindies had really gotten a hold of the lawn that year? Memories, eh? Not to mention the chance of spin-off shows – up to date, more pertinent to the times – such as ‘Australia’s Funniest Bungled Home Invasion Attempts’, or ‘World’s Most Side-Splittingly Hilarious Bag Snatches’, or even ‘Candid Office Dunny’, where lavatories in high rises are bugged and the whole country gets to check out your butt and see who doesn’t wash their hands afterwards.
Isn’t it great how technology has boosted our intelligence to levels never before imagined? How it’s given us insights into life we didn’t used to have? We’ve come such a long way since Shakespeare, baby!
If the Bard were alive today he’d probably be firing up the barbie …