Sunday 25 June 2017

A porn actress, a porn star and a supermodel all in one place? CBB must be back...

* Celebrity Big Brother, TV3
* The 2000s: The Decade We Saw It All, National Geographic
* Recruits, RTE1

Heroic: The world's first supermodel Janice Dickinson is a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother this year
Heroic: The world's first supermodel Janice Dickinson is a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother this year
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

As HL Mencken once pointed out: "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."

The great man was talking metaphorically (well, I presume he was speaking metaphorically, but he was a cranky old bugger, was Henry), but I was reminded of his sage words when Celebrity Big Brother reanimated itself this week.

I genuinely thought the days of this concept had vanished, but that may have had more to do with the fact that the show has been languishing on Channel 5 for the last few years.

But, lo and behold, it's back and as formulaic as ever and that's the weird thing, everybody, from the has-beens and never-weres who appear on it, to the producers to the people who watch it, now know what to expect.

Featuring such luminaries as Farrah Abraham, a former 'star' of Teen Mom and occasional porn actress and Jenna Jameson, an actual porn star and source of a million nocturnal teenage kicks to a generation of American men, the show has now developed an almost Hammer House of Horror style.

All those gathered don't realise that they are actually dead and doomed to spend eternity being shouted by some Yank skank they had never previously heard of.

But no, sadly. The only dead things here are the careers of the contestants, although Janice Dickinson maintains an almost heroic, if not very stoic, refusal to accept that she is anything other than a superstar and, in a weird, sick way, she is quite compelling.

After all, according to Janice, she wrote Angelina Jolie's breakthrough movie, Gia, (although there is no actual record of her having had anything to do with the project). She was also the world's first supermodel and she was even scheduled to star in the first Indiana Jones movie, until Steven Spielberg cruelly gave the role to his wife instead, the bastard.

I must admit, having a seizure in the diary room was a master-stroke in attention grabbing. Sure, the usual cynics were quick to say that she was probably faking the whole episode but I doubt she's actually a good enough actress to commit that deeply to the role, although she would undoubtedly deny that.

The thing is, you see, all these American celebrities are certifiably deranged.

Maybe it's something in the Evian water they like to drink, or the prodigious quantities of drugs some of them claim to have taken, but you'd have to wonder how these people manage to get through the day without accidentally setting themselves on fire.

There is also the question of the duty of care the producers have towards the slebs.

Jenna Jameson, the woman who did more to drag porn into the mainstream than any other performer was, briefly, a cultural phenomenon.

She was a smart, savvy businesswoman. Now, she just seems hopelessly lost and more than a little bit confused.

Having recently decided to convert to Judaism, she was incensed when Dickinson ate some of her kosher food, prompting her to blurt the classic line: "Show respect for my religion."

Now, we don't tune into CBB for lessons in the ancient Jewish law - well, I don't, anyway, but each to their own - but I'm pretty sure they don't approve of her tattoos and I imagine their stance on a career in porn is probably frowned upon as well. Still, who are we to judge, eh?

Well, actually, that's a daft point - after all, viewers decide who stays and who goes. Who cares, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely.

There has long been a theory that the current trend for nostalgia will ultimately end up eating itself and, well, we're getting there.

National Geographic's The 2000s: The Decade We Saw It All certainly managed to take nostalgia as far as it can go without becoming current affairs.

But in the midst of the economic carnage of much of the last decade, it was actually quite fascinating to look back at relatively recent events which we've now forgotten.

Hanging chads, for instance. Remember them?

For a few weeks in 2000, hanging chads was the unusual phrase on everyone's lips as the election between Bush and Al Gore hinged on a few pieces of incomplete paperwork.

It was telling that Michael Moore popped up to condemn Al Gore's passivity during the crisis, saying: "That was one of the reasons why people began to hate liberals."

Unusually for Moore, he was being modest. After all, he has done more to make people hate liberals than anyone else alive...

The job of the army is to kill people and break things.

That was the honest assessment of Mike Huckabee recently, but it would appear that most of those who watched Recruits think the army should be a caring, sharing social service.

The phones were hopping on Liveline during the week with people who were appalled at the language and behaviour of the officers during boot camp, with one irate caller saying the new recruits should be 'encouraged, not insulted.'

Call me old fashioned, but I kinda want my soldiers to be tough bastards, not cream puffs who go whingeing to HR when an officer is mean to them.

Irish Independent

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