Seeing people openly crying on television can be a heart-wrenching thing to witness. When circumstances are so overwhelming that it matters not that a camera is recording it and beaming it out to the planet, few of us are left unmoved. And over the past month those scenes have become ever more prolific. No, not the bushfires. Rather, reality TV.
Australia should feel comforted to know that when the next war comes (I’m working on it) the frontlines will be stocked with snivelling, emotionally frail young soldiers who, whilst unable to hike through the forests of New Guinea with the aid of sat nav, rehydration packs and a funky retinue of fuzzy-wuzzies, they will be able to loose 55kg in 3 weeks, perform up to a dozen dance routines of various styles, or score a ‘touchdown’ following a song they have just learned. Reassuring, ain’t it?
For contestants on Australian reality TV, the pre-requisit for scoring a position in the “Final Whatever” seems to hinge not on a subject’s ability to do whatever degenerate order is issued from the lips of whatever fat, self-important, over-paid, cliche-speaking, too-long-in-the-make-up-chair expert is calling the shots, but on their ability to cry like a baby on cue. Are they serious? Please, enough with the crying already.
When you’re the bloke who has just had his name surgically removed from Megan Fox’s collection of body art, you cry. When you suffer a sneezing fit whilst in the middle of your weekly ball shaving session, you cry. When you’ve just had you’re town wiped out along with most of your neighbours, you cry.
There is a special type of disturbance that comes from sitting down with your evening meal, turning on the tele and being hit with the vision of a middle aged 155kg father of three dressed in nothing but lycra and standing on an agricultural cattle weighing machine bawling his eyes out about how he hasn’t been able to play with his kids for 12 years. Get a grip, Fat Man! You’re someone’s dad!
Perhaps the consolation comes after the next ad break when we can all tune into another program venerating our various home grown crime figures and reflect on how tough and bad ass we really are. Touchdown.