Friday 15 December 2017

TV review: How to be happy? It’s a big ask

Ilustration: Jim Cogan
Ilustration: Jim Cogan
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

The title of Dr Maureen Gaffney's programme How To Be Happy, would appear a tad ambitious at first glance. But then for many of us at this time a surprisingly obvious solution presents itself. 
With How To Be Happy on RTE1, and the World Cup on RTE2, the answer to Dr. Gaffney's proposition can be found in the simple instruction: "switch to RTE2 immediately."

But to be fair, there are some people who would favour the Gaffney approach, and it was an interesting bit of scheduling by RTE to run this two-part series against the tide of Brazil 2014.
It has shades of The Guardian newspaper's "Not The World Cup" series which recommends TV programmes such as the Hannibal series on Sky Living, or Wallander on BBC Four, or the box set of the much-admired Sharpe series starring Sean Bean, all of which might be seen as a manly alternative to the football.

So RTE is perhaps leaning more towards the stereotypical here, with How To Be Happy meant to function
as a kind of a refuge for women at this difficult time. Indeed I may be leaning
that way myself, because I would suggest that women, on the whole, are more engaged in the pursuit of happiness, whereas men tend to
regard it as such an utterly impossible quest, they don't
even bother trying to get
there. They look at Dr Maureen Gaffney addressing a crowd, suggesting ways in which they might be happy, or least a bit happier, and to them she might be offering advice on how you might fly to the moon in an abandoned Morris Minor. It just doesn't register.

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