Saturday 22 October 2016

TV reviews: Meet the 'Exiles' on vain street, 'Glee', and 'Big Brother'

Exiles: Vancouver, RTE One
* Glee, Sky One
* Big Brother, TV3/Channel 5

Published 05/06/2015 | 02:30

Same old same old: The producers of 'Fade Street' bring you 'Exiles: Vancouver' on RTE, starring l-r Nicola, Dylan, Sean, George, India and Jade
Same old same old: The producers of 'Fade Street' bring you 'Exiles: Vancouver' on RTE, starring l-r Nicola, Dylan, Sean, George, India and Jade

As the world changes - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse - we're repeatedly told that parents must become more tolerant and supportive of their off-spring.

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This can be displayed in a variety of different ways. For example, one chronic problem is parents who tell their kids that they're great so often that they start to believe the hype. And parental hype is no hype at all.

Or it might be a case where the parents are genuinely convinced that the fruit of their loins is genuinely special, so the kid starts to think that their very presence on this earth is a gift to everybody else and, therefore, everybody else should be super nice to them.

It doesn't work that way, of course, and that's why we seem to be raising a generation of people who appear to walk through life with the theme tune to their own reality show playing out in their head.

That's not every Millennial, of course, and trying to tar them all with the same brush does nobody any favours.

But Jesus, it's hard not to watch something like Exiles: Vancouver without turning into Alf Garnett, fulminating against these feckless fudgewits who think the world stops when they close their eyes and only becomes real once they open them again.

That kind of solipsism is part of the joy of being young, of course.

But as the latest hapless saps to enter the churning machine that is an Irish reality TV show seem determined to prove, they also manage to bring a sense of entitlement that is striking, even for people their age.

Vancouver has become something of a new Promised Land for thousands of young Irish emigrants who have discovered that there is more across the Atlantic than just Boston or New York.

But the self-obsessed 'cast' seem to think that Vancouver should be thanking them, rather than the other way around.

Made by the same mob that brought us Fade Street - and what a reckoning is in store for those people once I become Pope of Television - this is identikit TV.

A bunch of young people with posh accents and silly names (although I do admire the literalism of the parents who named their child Jade Stone), we've already seen the usual hissy fits from the 'cast', who have been quick to complain about being badly edited, with the best contribution coming from the aforementioned Ms Stone.

She, at least, has stayed on in Vancouver after shooting wrapped, but she fumed this week that she would 'never' do another reality show: "Unless it was a better contract and it wasn't on RTE."

So, in other words, she really, really wants to do another reality show.

There will probably come a time when the majority of people under the age of 30 have appeared on some form of reality show or other.

Obviously, that prospect should fill us all with despair but it would also deny us the sight of one of the self-confessed hipsters (I think it might have been Dylan, but it really doesn't matter) cooking and saying: "I think you should always put a bit of yourself in the food."

Yeah, well, I knew a chef who did that once and he was lucky to only be sacked and not prosecuted.

But if we want categorical proof that the Canadians are simply a superior people to us - and they are - I point you to the sign outside a Vancouver bar with the sign: "No hipsters!"

Truly, we have much to learn from our Canuck brethren...

I'm not sure how much anyone can learn from Glee, which returned for its final season this week. That this once vibrant and occasionally brilliant show has been begging for a merciful release has been evident for the last few years.

But in much the same way that many viewers who had abandoned Mad Men by the end of the second season only to return for the last few episodes, it will be interesting to see how the writers wrap things up.

Lea Michele is still the focus of the show as Rachel, a character who is allegedly as difficult as the actress who plays her (allegedly. I said allegedly, ok?), but Kurt is still the beating, flaming heart.

Now that they have graduated from McKinley High, the whole point of the show is now moot, but a series of typically unfortunate events has brought them back to where it all began.

Like many viewers, I was impressed by the first season, but each subsequent outing proved the law of diminishing returns and the opening episode of the final season contained the good, the bad and the downright infuriating that has long characterised the show.

But one thing became clear - this is a show that no longer needs the increasingly artificial musical interludes.

Yes, I know that was rather the point of the whole thing, but now it's just an excuse for Michele to show off her lungs.

As the characters stumble into their 20s and discover that the world isn't how they thought it would be (take note, Exiles on Vain Street), the best moments in Glee come when they're not breaking into song for some mysterious reason but actually, y'know, talking to each other and stuff.

Glee has always been a perfectly acceptable comedy/drama. How ironic then, that the singing which was such an integral part of the show has become its greatest weakness.

I'm not sure if Big Brother ever had any integral element, other than trying to normalise the concept of psychotic narcissism.

But if you want to get all sociological on its ass, compare the difference between the first Dubliner on the show to the two cabbages who are currently representing us.

Anna Nolan was a former nun who has gone on to carve out a decent career for herself by simply being a decent, nice person.

Now, she might have a habit of crucifying puppies and bathing in their blood when the cameras aren't around, but I doubt it. As for new Dubs Marc and Jade?

Well, I suppose we should just be grateful that they're over there annoying the English rather than still at home annoying the rest of us.

Irish Independent

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