You are probably aware of the light entertainment "comedy" show Spicks and Specks. I have only watched the music trivia program a couple of times myself. It was just so lame, so puerile, so ABC I couldn't last more than a couple of minutes. Like so many of that organization's projects, it had a touch of Play School about it. You know, "there are people with games and stories to tell ...".
Amazingly, it's been one of their ABC's most popular shows for yonks. It's finally come to a close after several years and the cast are touring a live version of it as a kind of long, loving goodbye to all the fans.
I noticed a huge billboard for this production in Northbridge recently and that's what prompted this post. See, I was gobsmacked that there would be such a big, live production resulting from that TV show. Apart from the content being so excruciatingly piss-weak the format itself seems so anti-theatrical.
I mean, it's amazing that people would happily watch smug, witless knobs (badly) performing stupid music-themed parlour games on television, and for free. But how retarded must they be to actually pay to see this kind of crap live?
Answer: very. There seem to be an awful lot of people like this out there, too, if this quote from the show's official website is any guide:
Back in 2007 Adam, Alan and Myf promised Australia that they would tour the greatest ever stage show loosely based on a music trivia show. The Spicks and Speck-tacular was born, and played to more than 200,000 fans…
This tour has only just started, so it's hard to know how well it's been selling. But it's reasonable to assume it's been getting full houses.
And what does this say about our culture -- apart from the obvious fact that a depressingly high number of adult Australians are actually mental infants? Well, it reveals the vast power and reach of the national broadcaster.
ABC management gave this silly project the green light in the first place, which is astonishing itself. (This couldn't have been the best project in its category to choose from, surely?) But not only did they choose it, they stayed with it until it attracted a small but loyal audience.
Therefore deemed a "success" by the higher-ups it just kept going on and on. Over the years it appears to have got the attention, and won the affection, of every pop music obsessed simpleton in the country. That demographic constitutes the nichiest of niche markets, of course. But in a country of 22 million, it still adds up to a helluva lot of people -- people who are happy to hand over real money to see their slightly less cretinous idols make fools of themselves right there in front of them.
Basically, free of commercial constraints, and with lots of taxpayers' money keeping it afloat, the show got a leg up into the marketplace. And now it has become what seems very likely to be a profitable venture in its own right. Which just goes to show that crap subsidized by the state can actually become commercially successful crap as a result.
Sure, we knew that already ... Still, wouldn't it be great if the ABC got behind stuff that's original, creative and, you know, good instead? Just think how much more interesting our popular culture would be then.
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