Channel-hopping mad

By Bianca Coleman Time of article published Feb 11, 2011

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So DStv has all these channels, right? And they survey and monitor to see which ones viewers like best and which ones they don’t, dumping the ones that don’t perform adequately.

So why remove Animax and replace it with Sony Max, which has roughly 75 percent of the same content? It has Kenny vs Spenny, Solitary, I Survived A Japanese Game Show, Takeshi’s Castle, Ninja Warrior, Making His Band, Next and The Dudesons.

Along with its proudly cheesy movies and series (some ancient, to wit Nash Bridges and The District), sport shows dedicated to blood and pain, and similarly mindless stuff, it’s immediately clear this channel is targeted at teenage boys. They say men (insert argument here that they never grow up) and that is quite possible, but only ones without girlfriends.

I recorded some stuff to check out, and am immensely relieved I am not in the channel’s demographic and won’t be required to watch it again. Although I might still check out the Mexican wrestling for fun, and maybe one episode of Kung Faux, which according to the EPG is a hip hop kung fusion using heavily styled 1970s movies in collaboration with NY label Tommy Boy and revoicing by De La Soul, Eminem and Guru. It looks like it could be a laugh.

I watched an episode of Scare Tactics, hosted by Shannen Doherty. It originally ran on the sci-fi channel in 2003. 2003! And ended in 2008. Anyway, it’s premise is/was to set up pranks with actors and accomplices to scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting victims. Like two girls, who are horror movie fans, who get taken into the middle of nowhere on a camping trip and are terrorised by someone in a Big Foot suit. Apparently fear makes you stupid because the costume looked like it came from a 1940s movie.

They screamed like, well, girls, but the instant they were told they were on a TV show, they broke into cheerful grins and hugged their friends. I think if it were me, it would turn into a real, live bloodbath. Now that would be good TV.

The producers defended the show and its apparent meanness thus: “Friends and family members actually have a big hand in setting up the pranks and the ‘victims’ are not just random innocent people suckered in by the show’s supposedly ‘cruel’ producers.”

Frankly, with friends like that…

The other show I cringed through was Manswers (weeknights 11pm, if you must know), a Spike TV show which claims to answer all the questions weighing heavily on the minds of men. This is particularly disturbing because apparently they want to know how many people have been killed by vending machines, five things they can use their urine for, and what it would take to pop a silicone breast implant (an insert full of gratuitous boob shots). As it turns out, only a speeding bullet. It can be safely microwaved, and stood on by a fat man with a plumber’s crack and bigger breasts than the implant without breaking.

Sadly, some things simply cannot be unseen or unheard.

TOMORROW

Monday is Valentine’s Day and if you’re not being taken out for a romantic and overpriced meal, you are a total loser. To be even more pathetic, you can stay home and watch any number of schmaltzy romcoms and other programming which perpetuates the myth of happily ever after.

I Hate Valentine’s Day is on M-Net at 7pm, in which a Manhattan florist has a five-date rule until she meets a hunky new restaurateur. It stars John Corbett (Sex and the City – the series, not the dismal movie, and United States of Tara) and Nia Vardalos.

The companion piece is You Stupid Man (Universal Channel, 8pm) with Milla Jovovich and William Baldwin. I think the title says it all. M-Net Stars has How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (7.30pm), with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConnaughey, and the normal Sony channel will show The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, a blast from Courteney Cox’s 1992 past. Don’t expect to learn anything. SABC3 has Runaway Bride (Julia Roberts, Richard Gere) at 7.30pm, and normal people steal ideas from famous people in My Celebrity Wedding on Style at 8pm. If you still feel the tugging of the heart strings and the yearning for a man in your life, watch Jackass (Sony Max, 9pm). That should cure you.

IN THE WEEK

Grammys (Channel O, Monday at 3am, repeated on M-Net at 9.30pm). Or as it will otherwise be known this year, The Eminem Comeback Show. The rapper has 10 nominations. Generally, I find these awards to be a tragic reflection of the vileness of American musical taste and crass commercialism. The only thing vaguely interesting about it is that Cyndi Lauper is nominated for best traditional blues album. I also think it’s very sweet that one of the nominations for song of the year is called F*** You. Charming. Good song though.

Vampire Diaries (Vuzu, Monday at 8.30pm): The good vampire, the bad vampire, the other bad vampire and the good human girl between them in a messy love square return for a much-anticipated second season. It’s a lot like Gossip Girl, but with fangs.

In the season opener Elena comes home and is horrified to learn what happened to Jeremy and Uncle John. Bonnie, Matt and Damon wait at the hospital with Sheriff Forbes, who is anxious to hear whether Caroline will survive the car accident. Elena and Damon rehash the night’s events and Damon works out Katherine has returned. He and Stefan set out to learn why she did and whether she is a threat to Mystic Falls. Oh gosh, I don’t know, what do you think?

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