I hereby announce a change of format to this year’s annual Boomtown Rap Awards. Traditionally served up in one big putrid pile, the Awards will this year be divided into 3 segments posted separately:
- 1. The Free-to-air TV Awards
2. The Movie Awards and
3. The Boomtown Rap Bitchfest
The Awards are still random, organised only according to personal whimsy. Still skewed to my areas of personal interest, and seasoned with wry wit (it’s my ferkn blog so I can say that) and a liberal sprinkling of vitriol. Still unfair, undisciplined and uncouth. And doubtless, still unrecognised and largely unread. Que sera sera. Your faithful scribe labours on regardless.
In keeping with tradition, I haul out the ouija board and summon the spirit of Stanley Unwin, narrator on The Small Faces’ Ogden’s Nutgone Flake album… Come in Stan. Calling Happiness Stan? Come in…yes yes, it’s me again… Sleeping? I thought you’d have had enough of that. Just for a moment then – awright, channel tuned in. Go!
Are you all sitting comftybold two square on your botties?? Then I’ll begin…
The 2011 Boomtown Rap Free-to-air TV Awards
Best Drama: Breaking Bad by a long way, IF I hadn’t already seen it on DVD. Have now watched Season 4, which is as gut-wrenchingly tense and unpredictable as ever. Don’t miss it when it arrives on free-to-air.
Anyway, with the proviso that Breaking Bad would have romped it in, next best was Paper Giants. For those of us like me who were only dimly aware of Ita Buttrose’s pivotal role in shaping attitudes in the early 70s through the Packer group’s Cleo magazine, this was illumninating stuff. That aside, as a drama Paper Giants was compelling viewing, with Asher Keddie’s rivetting standout performance as Ita the highlight.
Downton Abbey has to get a mention. Started slowly, but I found myself hooked by the end of Episode 3 – just when I was about to give it the arse. Then again, three episodes in succession of anything and I’m Benny Cousins.
The Slap was watch-worthy. Inconsistent, but the best episodes were pretty good. And gratifying to see Demetriades beat on that brat. Pity it wasn’t with a baseball bat. Oh yeah…
Worst Drama: Dunno. Something I didn’t watch three times in succession.
Best Comedy No award. Didn’t do much laughing at the set this year.
Worst Comedy: At Home With Julia.
Fark, whaddayasay? Just pissweak. Heads should roll over wasting bucks on funding this shit.
Biggest Comedy Letdown: Angry Boys. I never joined in the “Chris Lilley’s a genius” chorus, but Summer Heights High, particularly, was fresh, original and astute. Not immune to all the hype that preceded Angry Boys, I tuned in with moderately high expectations. They were quickly dashed. This crock was just not funny. Smouse, the Japanese mother and the surfer dude with no nuts were epic misses. Lilley’s in danger of buying into his own myth and disappearing up his narcissistic ring. Methinks he’s taken the solo gig as far as it can go. From here on, it’s collaborate or perish.
Best TV Ad of the Year:
Actually, I don’t know whether this should qualify, since its year of release may be pre-2011. I first saw it on SBS early this year, and was knocked out. Bang on target with its message, very moving and ultra-low budget. Do ads get any better?
Worst TV Ad Campaign: Well, it’s not a campaign – it’s just one ad that Ikea has been running forever. You know, the catalogue sale one they haul out annually, with that unbearable shrilling “Stop the car!” woman. Enough! I’m not going to fucking Ikea anyway, because last time I only fluked my way out after 3 terrifying hours of wandering amongst Billy Bookcases, Jerker Desks, Faktum Kitchenware etc. I was so panic-stricken at the thought that I might never get out that I even stopped sniggering at the silly Scando item names – although I have to admit to an immaturity relapse when I came across the Fartsponklar clothespegs. Anyway, my point is in danger of being as lost as I was that nightmarish afternoon somewhere in Innaloo. An afternoon in Ikea is like a year in any other place, and that fucking “Stop the car!” ad has the same never-ending Hel-on-a-loop feel to it. Fak it OFF, jerkers!
Reality TV Low of the Year: Go Back To Where You Came From. An explanation is in order here. There were any number of dumb, tacky ‘reality TV’ shows that could have qualified for this dubious award. Go Back To Where You Came From gets the gong because it masqueraded as something better, but failed – miserably – to deliver. Hell hath no fury like a viewer duped.
Billed as a “television event”, this was must-see topical material going by the trailers. Fascinating concept: a group of Aussies of diverse ages, demographics and attitudes are given a taste of refugee life designed to challenge their attitudes on boat people and illegal immigrants. The show turned out to be a staged pro-asylum-seeker propaganda exercise, and I say that as someone who is appalled by the shamelessly populist and grossly inhumane boat-borne-refugee policies of the Government and Opposition, and the selfish, unimaginative and paranoid Australian electorate they are pandering to.
This program was an opportunity to address the imaginative deficit of the “blow ’em outta the water” brigade, but the directorial strings of audience manipulation were so easily discernible as to reduce the show’s ‘reality’ cred and influence to zero. Look no further by way of example than the social worker woman, who in the intro expressed a shocking “serve you bastards right” response to the December 2010 Christmas Island asylum-seeker drownings, yet scant days later was filmed hugging, kissing and crying with a family of African Muslim refugees now living in Melbourne – and this in Episode 1 before the participants had even left on their “refugee” journey on their “sinking” boat that “caught fire” – oh, puh-lease.
When propaganda lays itself bare like this, its effect is opposite to that intended. Only the already-converted heed the message. The anti-asylum-seeker bigots dig in while righteously claiming the high moral ground (“see, this is nothing but bleeding heart leftist propaganda”), and those with more open minds switch off. Big disappointment, big fail.
The most interesting aspect of this sheisse was the goat-eyed bogan girl from Sydney, who seemed utterly oblivious to her hypocrisy in maintaining her inhumanity and rage towards boat refugees while recoiling in horror from even briefly experiencing living under refugee conditions. “This is not the way I’m used to living” she bleated. Astounding.
By contrast, the UK ‘reality TV’ program Blood, Sweat And T-shirts was far more effective in pushing their cause (exposing worker exploitation in the sweat shops of India), simply because melodrama was avoided and the puppetmeisters kept out of sight. Ditto Kill It, Cook It, Eat It – although there was a whiff of gratuitous gore about this one that prompted me to give it the chop a few episodes in.
Most Influential Report of the Year: This one’s a no-brainer – Four Corners’ A Bloody Business story, which exposed the sickening brutality and cruelty meted out to Australian beef cattle in Indonesian abbatoirs. Plenty of gore here, but none of it gratuitous. Those who make their living out of this industry can whinge all they like – all live animal exports should be stopped permanently. Processing should be done here, where it’s possible to police compliance to regulatory controls. Livelihoods will be affected. Stiff. Sometimes that’s the way of things. Time’s up. Evolve.
Best Cooking Show: I don’t suppose the SBS2 re-runs of the wonderful Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour Of Britain series qualifies. So, a lot of rungs down the ladder of quality from that high mark, and in the absence of any outstanding new competition, Poh’s Kitchen On The Road.
Crap first three episodes, the low point being the Singapore one that featured ‘foodie’ ex-pat Antonia Kidman. Why waste a sizeable chunk of a 30 minute coverage of Singapore’s vibrant food scene on some D-list Aussie ex-pat? When in Singapore, feature Singaporeans! Happily, things really perked up in subsequent episodes. Plea for next series: less of the annoyingly intrusive musical theme and way less of those hamfisted extreme close-ups. And what happened to all those lingering shots of Miss Poh bending down in low-cut tops while fixing on the camera with that knowing glint in her eyes? Now there’s an extreme close-up opportunity going begging…
Worst Cooking Show: Masterchef. It was always gonna happen, and this was the year – they overcooked the golden goose. The three stooges that run the show have become caricatures of their earlier selves. Gary Me-again now routinely shouts his delivery in frayed voice in some misguided effort to inject excitement into now-very-dull proceedings. Georgie-peorgie’s scriptwriter has gone beyond mangling the language to parodying his podgy heel-bouncin’ mouthpiece. And Matt Preston, always already a caricature, has been sucked into some branding parallel universe and spat out as a Wildean cartoon character.
As for the contestants – was there ever a duller bunch? I can’t even remember who won. Or came runner-up. In fact, I can’t remember a single contestant. Except that blonde girl who bawled in front of the Dalai Lama when she messed up his dinner. Which brings me to the next award…
Media Slut of the Year: The Dalai Lama. Would Buddha have accepted an invitation to appear on fucking Masterchef?
“[LOL] What has this Christian devil served me? [LOL] I think I’m gonna chuck…[LOL]”
(Pic from Channel 10 The Daily Telegraph)
If this inanely giggling matinee idol is Buddha’s reincarnation, something’s been lost in the birthing process. As for Kylie Krok’s grovelling weepy display before the robed one…well, I suppose she should be grateful to some deity, when you think about it. See – there’s a positive in everything if you look hard enough.
Most Disappointing Cooking Show: Peter Kuravita’s My Sri Lanka. This is one of the few cooking programs I made a point of watching this year. I have only meagre experience of Sri Lankan food, and was eager to know more. Mr Kuravita somehow managed to make a vibrant cuisine and culture seem very dull. That’s quite a feat, I guess. The only ‘celebrity chef’ that comes to mind to have outdone Pete in sucking the vibe outta vibrant is Sean ‘Dancing Man’ Connolly. That should ring alarm bells for the programmers, but alas, I suspect they pay these marvellously astute BR Free-to-air TV Awards little heed.
Most Boring Foodie Show: Gourmet Farmer Season 2. The first season was engrossing despite Matthew Evans. Season 2 was all about the money.
Well, sorta fair enough as far as it goes. All the would-be gourmet farmers out there who aspire to self-sustainability in some idyllic pastoral setting would be interested in how Evans is financing his version of their dream. Thing is, investigating gourmet canned pork products in Italy and France for two episodes, only to return to Tasmania and find that such products are not permitted here…well, it suggests Evans is still a little confused about rural basics like the correct order of horse and cart.
I dunno. Maybe I’ve just got a thing about this bloke. He’s stuck in my craw from the getgo. In Series 1 in the weekly program intro he proudly announced himself as “Sydney’s harshest food critic”. Only a wanker would identify like that.
And I hate the way he calls out “pig, pig, pig!” and dumps feed all over the critters. They say farmers love their animals, which has always been intruiging to me since they breed ’em for slaughter. Yet, I accept that as a paradox I, as an urban dweller, just can’t understand. Evans, on the other hand, is no farmer – he’s an urban refugee playing at farming – and I see no real respect there from him towards his animals. He seems to be constantly looking around for ways to turn everything into food and bucks (even his earthworms, which he tried deep-frying).
Then there’s his wife who coos maternal though somewhat reserved encouragement when he turns out one of his dicey home-grown products – such as a flat-as-a-bickie home-baked spelt sourdough – and pronounces “it tastes good!”. (Course it does, Mattie – you baked it). Not to mention his constant use of the possessive in his frequent referrals to “my boy Headley”. It’s all about him, wot? But ol’ rolanstein forgets himself. It’s the festive season. And I’m joyous. So enough, enough…deck the halls etc. Just one little pic afore we move on…
Thinks: “Looks better than mine, the fuckn old bitch.”
Celebrity Chef Tosser Of the Year: Too many to list. Had a gutful.
Best TV Doco: Housos.
An astute anthropological study of species Boganus Suburbanus Australis. Hard to watch, but sacrifices need to be made in the interests of science and cultural understanding.
Special Exploitation Award: Louis Theroux. ‘Gonzo journalist’? Creep leaching off society’s rejects, more like it. This prick has made a career out of zoning in on easy targets, like delusional old white imperialist skinhead nutters, prostitutes waging a losing Faustian battle, and pedophiles binned in mental institutions. Safe in the knowledge that he holds all the cards over his disempowered interviewees, Theroux parades ’em like a freak show meister, pokes sticks at ’em, does his best to goad them into exposing themselves to TV land in all their freaky glory. eg: Invited into the home of a Nazi skinhead group, he hints at the possibility that he’s Jewish (he’s not), riles the oi bois until they start threatening violence, then gives the nod to his crew and pisses off. What a hero.
I find myself drawn to contrasting this jerk with Borat. They both set up their interviewees for the entertainment of their audience, but one has integrity and the other does not. Borat is a comedy construct with serious satirical intent arising from genuine moral outrage; Theroux is a nasty little twerp trading in trash but presenting himself as a serious hard-hitting journo. Further, Sacha Baron Cohen pushes his set-ups to the limit, exposing himself to the real risk of violence. Theroux exploits his interviewees as a careerist journo who has stumbled on a tacky niche product without any ethical cause as a foundation, trading on the ghoulishness of his viewers, and keeping himself safe from harm at the hands of any victim of his intrusion who might lash out. Contemptible little man.
That’ll do for the TV Awards. At least masticate on ’em before you spit. And as always, I invite suggestions for additions to the list, challenges to my picks and reasoning, argument, insult…the choice is yours, dear reader.
Previous Annual Awards
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2010
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2009
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2008
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2007