Sunday, April 18, 2010


I want to start this blog by stressing that despite the cultural stereotype that all young people spend all their time sat in front of the TV, aside from watching DVDs, I do not really watch much television at all.

Quite frankly the quality of television these days is simply not up to the standard of the shows which were around when I was a child and as such I can't be bothered to look for the one golden nugget amongst the non-stop drivel that is the soaps and reality TV which make up the bulk of programming.

With the above in mind, I was amazed to realise that I was vaguely looking forward to watching American television. It was on a family holiday to Florida that I caught my first glimpse of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which would become a small obsession during my schooldays). I have recently become obsessed with The Big Bang Theory (expect a blog on this any day now) and was therefore looking forward to seeing this before it becomes available on DVD in the UK.

So with all this anticipation in mind I was pretty shocked to realise that American TV is quite frankly bollocks.

The main problem is that while we in the UK have a substantial amount of tripe littering our screens it is nothing compared to the absolutely galactic amounts of drivel that smears American TV. However, in all fairness, the issue here is probably one of our own doing. After all, we in the UK only see a small amount of American TV and it is usually cherry picked as being the best of the best.

We sit in our comfy United Kingdom watching such classics as Friends, Frasier and The Big Bang Theory and we think of America as a gigantic comedy manufacturing television studio. In reality, we don't realise that Americans have to sit through over 200 channels (and that's only basic cable) of 24 hour a day shite. When viewed like this you can see that it is merely a statistical certainty that by making so much programming they are bound to get the occasional hole in one.

With that problem aside, let's assume for a moment that you do discover a good TV programme or film to watch. All I can say is that I hope you like advertising because unless you have an incontinence problem and need the bathroom every five minutes, you are going to get seriously ticked off with the amount of adverts. Most stupid of which is the fact that they advertise the programme you're watching during its commercial break.

A lot of you are probably thinking that I'm exaggerating so let's give an example. On my first weekend here I found one channel playing the 80s Tom Cruise classic Top Gun. Having recently spent a weekend in Hull with Dave blaring out Kenny Loggins "Highway to the Danger Zone" I was feeling nostalgic and decided to watch it.

IMDB tells me that Top Gun lasts 1hr 50mins, yet on American TV this film was on for 2 1/2 hours. For the statistically impaired, that means that approximately 25% of the running time of this film was commercial breaks. And this calculation does not take into account the amount of time cut from the film due to it being pre-watershed. All I can say is thank God it wasn't Lord of the Rings.

So next time you will sit down to watch a rerun of Friends, take a moment to thank our American cousins for having the patience to sit through enough television to create a program like Friends. And also thank your lucky stars that you only have to put up with one 10 minute break.

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