Sometimes you have to admit it when you realise that you have been wrong. It can be a little humiliating, but you end up stronger for the experience. I wish to extend a humble apology to the reality show genre. I have been at low ebb recently, but last night I found my muse.
Last night Mrs A. and I were visiting a sick relative in hospital and got home about 7.30. That's quite late for us as we both start at the crack of dawn. We sat down to dinner in front of the TV and watched the second part of a docudrama about the Medici. Mrs A. has been putting in the hard yards at work in the lead up the Christmas so she unrolled her swag at about 9.15 leaving me flipping channels in search of mindless entertainment.
I have said before that the reality show genre holds no place in my inner TV guide. But as I changed between the myriad of American cop shows I happened upon "Outback Jack". Luckily it was the first episode or I may have not been able to catch up with the plot. This show has everything and I spent a wonderfully mind blowing hour crying with laughter. I assume the show has been seen in the States, and possibly elsewhere, but for me it was a groundbreaking study into how stereotypes are far more integral in the food chain of popular entertainment than I had previously given credit for.
Forgive the rehash if you have seen the show.
Like all "vote em off and marry who's left" shows the odds were unevenly stacked in the favour of the bloke. But I'm getting ahead of myself. He hasn't sauntered in yet. First we met the "girls". All American, (unless any of the silicone was imported that is), whose proportions were reminiscent of implant Barbie. Our first stereotype. To be honest a couple of them were stunning to look at, but these were city girls. And I'm not talking Sydney. I'm talking the sort of city life that only New York and Los Angeles can provide. You know, where the palm trees are air conditioned and the sun is on a timer. The sort of place where Steve Irwin could corner the handbag market. They had been flown to a small airfield in Western Australia, and were suitably attired in ball gowns and heels.
Let me digress for a moment and talk about Australia. It eats people. Unfortunately Tourists are more often than not the ones who don't make it home. Each year we watch reports of huge searches being conducted to find the couple that abandoned their car because they didn't count on not seeing a petrol station for two days when they popped out for a drive. Or listen to the reports from the Navy as they battle some of the most treacherous seas in the world off the southern coast looking for tourists and adventurers who like sailing towards death. I admit that in a show like this they have medical staff etc on hand, but there is the possibility that the staff may be disabled by laughter and incapable of rendering assistance.
I think these girls were under the impression that somewhere in the middle of nowhere there was going to be a large five star resort. The look of sheer terror on many of their faces when they were given bright pink jump suits and told they would be parachuting into camp was only slightly less funny than the sight of them trying to get into the jump suits whilst still wearing the ball gowns.
Back on the ground the girls reapplied makeup and got to meet their man. Slowly stereotype number two sauntered into shot, wearing his Akubra with a large knife strapped to the belt that held up his tight jeans. When he was close enough to see his face it was, as you may suspect, well tanned, with just the right amount of three day growth and looked like it spent most of it's time being pampered by Lancome rather than actually spending time working in the harsh Australian weather. Jack led the girls to camp which to my mind was pretty good. I've lived in worse when mustering, all of which had none of the privacy of a bush shower and definitely no toilet facilities. One of the girls, (as yet I have not learned their names which seems wise as in an episode or two there will be far less of them), asked about an "outlet". It took Jack a while to translate it into "power point". Even though outlets are a fairly common part of the Aussie flora, occurring naturally in many areas, this particular campsite seemed to have been placed well away from any electricity bushes.
Jack gave a talk on safety and produced a handy goanna and crocodile for the purposes of his talk. Letting the goanna go was a hoot as it immediately ran towards the girls who fled screaming in a makeup blurring frenzy. You always know the country folk when a goanna turns up. They hit the ground because goannas like to run up trees for safety, and they don't have great eyesight. The croc was obviously terrified as was Jack. He could have used a diagram and let the poor reptile be. The rest of the scene was of scantily clad girls fending off bugs whilst trying to get to sleep. It's was hysterically sexy.
The next day dawned on the first casualty. Going to a swimming hole one of the girls smartly dressed in a fair amount of nothing suffered severe sunstroke and was taken away for medical treatment. When Jack took off his shirt all ideas of him being a cocky (farmer) or some other outback worker disappeared. Unless clouting and drenching sheep requires numerous sit ups using the sheep as a medicine ball. He had a six pack that made me look twice. The sort that comes from a gym, not actually doing work. The stereotype was getting better all the time.
The best part was when he had to spend time with each girl individually and in the space of a few minutes get to know her. The first girl sang him a song. I laughed and cringed in the same way you do when the funny home video show has a darling two year old smack daddy in the balls. Each of the girls thought Jack was "special". I knew some people who had to go to a special school on a special bus. I wonder if that's what they meant?
Deciding which four had to go on that first day was only worth watching because Jack cried with the emotion of it all, and the girls who got kicked out had patented "I didn't win the Academy Award" smiles glued to their face.
We left our eight girls and one Jack in canoes traveling down what could have been called a long puddle, towards rapids that were a good six inches high. I can't wait to see what happens next week. 10 out of 10 for sheer entertainment.