Last night's TV: Rose of Tralee
Why does Eithne Tynan feel as if she has sat through 22 hours of the Rose of Tralee already
The Rose of Tralee claims to “reflects the intelligence, compassion and independence of modern Irish women”, though actually they're referring only to that subgroup of modern Irish women who are unmarried and aged between 18 and 28, and who enter Lovely Girl contests of their own free will.
There have been changes, though, since the days when they ALL had lovely bottoms and they ALL played camogie. The Texas Rose works in the home repossessions business. The London Rose is in Bad Banking. The Derby Rose thinks recession is a boon for the diet business. “Obviously in the current economic climate people like to watch their weight,” she said mysteriously.
The Cork Rose played Gaelic football, but in Oman. The Edmonton Rose did Irish-dancing, but to the music of British rapper Taio Cruz. Seriously. Our host Daithí Ó Sé, aged 34 (cough), seemed out of his depth. Some of these lovely girls were a bit intimidating.
Look Ma, the Southern California Rose is a film and theatre producer. Far from that we were reared. And even the Philadelphia Rose used to work on Sesame Street. “So you're well used to muppets,” said O Sé. Haha. Oh stop it Daithí, stop the lights.
The Toronto Rose has a boyfriend called Pancho. “Is that Pancho or Poncho?,” asked O Sé. It's Pancho, she said. “And would Poncho be familiar with the Rose of Tralee?,” he wondered.
The Sunderland Rose, Niamh O'Connell, sang a song about bananas which involved miming. “Peel banana, peel peel banana; slice banana, slice slice banana”, that sort of thing. All the other Roses joined in.
“You did everything with the banana except what you are supposed to do, which was eat it,” said O Sé afterwards. Sunderland Rose said the 'eat eat banana' lines had been cut, for what surely must be obvious reasons. The Rose of Tralee may reflect modern Irish womanhood, but 32 of them enthusiastically miming the eating of a banana wouldn't go down well.
After the first hour or so of this you begin to feel politely bored, as if you've just spent 60 minutes in the company of perfectly nice people who have nothing of interest to say and have been forced to say it anyway. But eventually, after sitting through the whole 22-and-three-quarter hours of Rose of Tralee Part One, perfectly nice people with nothing to say have become a sort of noxious fungal blight, feasting on sponsorship money and destroying everything that is good and wholesome about life.
Tonight we get to find out who wins the exciting holiday in Kerry, the collection of silverware and the use (for one year) of a Renault Megane.