Saturday, October 29, 2005


A Sad Day For Humanity

Why? What happened? Well, yesterday, the latest series of 'Wife Swap' ended. I love 'Wife Swap.' I've stated that position before, and I'm going to stick to it, no matter how unpopular it may become ('Wife Swap peppers the schedules like a rash of bad acne.').

For those who live in a country without this monument to mankind, allow me to explain - 'Wife Swap' is a TV show in which the wives of two families will swap places for a fortnight. In the first week, they have to obey the rules of the house they move in to, and in the second week they get to set the rules and enforce the changes on their new family. Afterwards, they meet up and argue about it.

As a tribute to my love for this shining beacon of televisual exclellence, allow me to present:


1. We know who produces 'Wife Swap.' We're not so sure about who wrote Shakespeare's stuff.

2. A considerable chunk of the Bard's musings were historical plays. Yes, yes, very good, we all love that 'now is the winter of our discontent' and such, but the truth is these pieces of history were more or less irrelevant, even at the time of original performance. By contrast, 'Wife Swap' deals with real human issues, like alcohol, sweat and dog poo.

3. Shakespeare is often regarded as a master of tragedy and comedy, but he rarely mixed the two to great effect in any single scene. By contrast, 'Wife Swap' does that all the time, such as in last night's episode, whereby the wife formerly obsessed with cleaning was on the verge of divorcing her husband after he appeared not to have learned his mistakes, and his face was something too funny to behold. Genius!

4. Very few people could honestly say that partaking in a Shakespeare play saved their marriage, but a lot of the participants of 'Wife Swap' can.

5. Criticism of 'Wife Swap', such as that above, lacks a little literary finesse. 'Rash of bad acne?' Can you even say that these days, or are the bad-skinned a protected minority? Robert Greene, a contemporary of Stratford's finest, was much better:

"an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey."

Much better, I'm sure you will agree.

6. Shakespeare wasn't even a very good criminal. The myth that he was arrested for poaching deer has now been long-since debunked, and his only quarrel with the law concerned a couple of piddling boundary changes in Stratford. Lizzie Bardsley would have wiped the floor with him.

7. Shakespeare was well regarded in his own time, but was certainly not regarded as the best poet, and probably not as the best playwright. By contast, who can think of a better family-swapping reality TV show?

8. To quote the Wikipedia link, 'there is a common association of his work with boredom and incomprehension.' Many could criticise 'Wife Swap' for being trash television, but few could truthfully describe as incomprehensible.

9. Some of the Bard's sonnets have given rise to questions about his possible bisexuality. 'Wife Swap' has the gay market covered, with an episoode of the show featuring a lesbian family produced in America.

10. The Lord Chamberlain's player clearly considered himself very highly indeed, inventing many new words, such as ode and alligator. Most now view this as inventive, but I see it as arrogant. Why did he feel so far above everyone else? 'Wife Swap' has a humble humility to it that becomes it well.

Lizzie Bardsley, benefit cheat. Still, she is a much better criminal than the Bard.

I don't know how you manage it Steve. Watching ignorant, nasty, ugly people acting up for the cameras just brings the Dr Mengele out in me and I have to turn it off. Your right though, it's still better than Shakespeare.
You must be joking! Ignorant, nasty, ugly people are the very best thing about television! Without them, it wouldn't be worth watching.
As I said, I tip my hat to you Steve. It's a bit like the Charlie Brooker thing, You watch these things so people like me don't have to. I just hear about them second hand. I like it that way(big pussy that I am)
Hear, Hear!

I had thought of something wonderfully witty to say but, as always, I have a matter of hours before Im due back at work.

This job-thing is really crimping my interweb style.

I just...I just don't care about these people.
Wife Swap, Nanny 911, Survivor, Big Brother, Pop Idol (American Idol here in the US), So You Think You Can Dance.
I just DON'T care.
can't see the attraction of these shows, honestly.
Shakespeare definitely did write Shakespeare's plays, which accounts for the fact that generations of people have continued to refer to them as Shakespeare's plays.

Otherwise they'd just be 'Some Guy In Shakespeare's Times Plays'. Logic, man, logic!

Shakespeare's father - killer fact! - was also once fined for having an 'unauthorised dunghill' outside his house.
I wish Wife Swap actually involved some 'three-in-a-bed' action. Troillus and Cressida by the Bard did. Why can't ITV do it too.
How come is it that most of these types of shows start in the UK?
Boudica - Tell me about it. The internet is a far and away better place for the unemployed, as I'm finding out. So much time, so many possibilities. Superb!

SafeT - Well, some of those shows are a bit crap to be honest. Certainly none of them match the wonders of Wife Swap.

TimT - That is a simply wonderful fact. I wonder how one went about getting authorisation for a dunghill?

Russell - That is, of course, a major downside. More shagging is always preferable in anything. I just wouldn't want dear Liz in the three-in-a-bed. That would not have a happy ending.

Pemil - Seriously, I suspect it's because we are so much more fascinated by the undercalss of our society in this country.

Somewhat less seriously, it could well be because we don't have very clever or inventive people working at TV stations.
Yeah, but Greene was a git who drank himself to a jealous death.

(Never seen WS, by the way.)
I've got to admit, I knew nothing about Greene except for the fact that he was alive at the same time.

You should give it a try, just the once. After all, you don't know 'till you've tried it, as my mum would continuously say throughout my formative years.
Your mum was talking about broccoli, not reality TV.

"Stevie love, eat up your greenes."
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