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Post No. 19

November 14, 2008

I am not a fan of Maltese television productions. I have tried to sit through the odd episode every now and again. I think that the dialogue is unnatural and the intonation smacks too much of “I-learnt-this-off-by-heart-and-I-must-rush-through-it-before-I-forget-it”. My uninformed opinion is that the people pretending to be other people (I hesitate to call them actors) on television haven’t understood the person they are trying to portray. I don’t know whether this is because the script is bad or because the story is bad or there wasn’t enough time for the people involved to get their act together… Whatever the reason, despite severe shortcomings and crippling deficiencies, Maltese serials sell. Big Time. It tells me that Maltese viewers are not discerning.

The issue of discernment leads me seamlessly – some would say segues – to what I wanted to grumble about in the first place, namely yesterday’s (13 November 2008) episode of “Arani Issa”.

Let me place all my cards on the table. I do not normally watch the show, but yesterday I was feeding our son and while burping him I zapped around a bit with my free hand. As Fate would have it, when Julian started crying again I had just reached ONE(ex-Super one). And there it had to stay till the next burp. But I know what the show is about.

Joseph (Chetcuti) and I were at school together and my impression of him is that he is a bright lad. A bit flamboyant but his heart and brain were in the right place. I don’t know what possessed him to do a show like that.

Yesterday’s “can-you-call-it-episode?” was about this young lady – very pretty she was, too – who wanted to enlarge her breasts. From what I gathered she had a bit of rough life when she was young, but the details escape me.

“It’s none of your business what an attractive young lady does to her chest,” I hear you say. True, true. My issue is not with what goes on within the confines of her blouse, but that someone should actually want to tell all and sundry what the young lady did, and how and when she did it. And why.

At one point a relative – judging by looks I’d say her mother or a parent’s sister – said that the young lady always wanted to have a bigger bust. The – in my opinion – implicit extrapolation (does that make sense?) of the statement would be “and she always hoped for something like this to come along”. Though, actually, she said that she had been saving for the operation. Anyway, the operation was over and done with, and the obligatory nipple flash thrown in. Then Julian wanted to burp again, so I switched channels and heaved a sigh of relief.

Tista’ Tkun Int, apparently, was thought up in a similar vein (or should that be haze?) but the sob stories were more elaborate and the “prizes” were bigger.

Where am I going with all this? We Maltese love a sob story. Which explains the popularity of this programme. If yesterday’s show was anything to go by it tells me three things about us. (Before I go on, when I say “us” I mean the “fat part” of a Gaussian distribution curve).

a) We believe in a universal justice that must balance our books some time during our lifetime. In the above example, the young lady had a difficult start in life so she deserves what the Americans call a break. It is the theme of such programmes. If people weren’t expecting the happy ending, they wouldn’t bother. (Just look at the lukewarm reception La Vita e’ Bella received here).

b) Closely linked is our [peculiar? – I wouldn’t know] tendency to console ourselves with the fact that somebody is worse off than we are. Example:

Generic exclamation: “I can’t afford a new car! I wish I were richer”

Stock Response: “Think of all the people whose styles are cramped just because they don’t even have an old car”

c) We will not pay attention to anything that does not contain a mild-to-strong dose of histrionics.

That ends my gripe, I guess.


From → The Gripevine

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