Thursday 29 June 2017

'Bashful Late Late Valentine's special shows we're still too coy about sex'

Our columnist on how The Late Late Show Valentine's Special episode reflected how we are still awkward and coy around all things of a sexual nature

The Late Late Show Valentine's Special
The Late Late Show Valentine's Special
The Late Late Show Valentine's Special
The Late Late Show Valentine's Special
A real dead ringer for love - Linda Martin and Al Porter opening The Late Late Show Valentine's Special. Photo: Andres Poveda

Anna Nolan

On Friday night, as I slouched on my couch, I wondered why I was feeling so uncomfortable.

It wasn't the over-eating; I do that most Fridays. It wasn't my itchy heels; I'd applied lots of cream. It wasn't the fact that my bottle of red wine was running out; there was another in the kitchen.

No. I was feeling uncomfortable because I was watching The Late Late Show Valentine's Day special.

This has morphed into an unsettling two-hour slow set. It was as if Coppers had transformed into a television show.

The Late Late Show Valentine's Special
The Late Late Show Valentine's Special

However, what goes on in Coppers should stay in Coppers, and this was more a drunken fumble than a romantic evening.

I will say now that I did not watch the whole programme, so I missed the Al Porter and Linda Martin duet, which sounds like it was a hoot.

However, from what I saw, this episode reflected how we are still awkward and coy around all things of a sexual nature.

Ryan Tubridy was the bashful host. I say this because any time anyone mentioned anything more than kissing, the presenter would put his hands up to his face and recoil like a teenager.

The Late Late Show Valentine's Special
The Late Late Show Valentine's Special

It seemed all the audience members were tanked up - the 'phnar, phnar' gags made more enjoyable for them with a few scoops consumed.

It's not that I was looking for less lewdness - I wanted more. I wanted boldness and dirty talk. I wanted to feel like I wasn't being spoken to like an 80-year-old. I wanted Ryan to feel like swinging from the chandeliers, not interviewing Crystal Swing.

I knew this show was falling between two stools when Ryan mentioned the letters that the show would receive on Monday morning.

Who gives a damn? The host certainly shouldn't. He should be pushing the love boat out and making the younger audience at home feel like the show is speaking to them on their level.

A real dead ringer for love - Linda Martin and Al Porter opening The Late Late Show Valentine's Special. Photo: Andres Poveda
A real dead ringer for love - Linda Martin and Al Porter opening The Late Late Show Valentine's Special. Photo: Andres Poveda

The Late Late Show has a famous history with sex. What with Gay Byrne talking about the colour of nighties, the love children of bishops and condom trains (that's not a train made out of rubber), it hasn't been easy for the more conservative viewers to swallow some of the naughtier content over the years.

Different hosts have had to tiptoe around the more sensitive subject matter, but surely in 2017 a broadcaster can be totally at ease with this sort of material.

I did enjoy the chat with James Kavanagh, Bernard O'Shea and my good pal Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh.

This section of the programme saw the three personalities become agony uncles and aunts. Putting the true agony of the presenter to the side, all three were open, funny and smart.

They discussed threesomes. They gave advice to shy audience members. James Kavanagh even recommended that someone should have a good oul' ride in the club, the way he once did.

Considering that Kavanagh is an advocate of sex education and safe sex, his comments were more about having fun than being foolish.

As Dickie Rock sang his way through That's Amore, I realised that the Valentine's Late Late Show is for an Ireland that's still stuck in the 1970s.

For those under 50, it was cringe-worthy television at best.

Herald

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