Tuesday, May 25, 2004

TONIGHT, LAST NIGHT: We're just going to recycle our blogcritics piece on The Osbournes Meet Trevor McDonald:

How hard up are the team behind Tonight With Trevor McDonald that they'd hand the whole of ITV's flagship current affairs show to the Osbournes to continue flogging Sharon's fly-attracting dead horse of turning them into something between the Royals and the Osmonds?

Half an hour of Jack and Kelly droning on about their addictions would have been hard to get through without a can or two of Bud under normal circumstances, but for some reason Jack was put in charge of the programme. The trouble is that as a screen presence, the Osbourne fils lacks a little: he's totally unable to deliver a line to camera; as an interviewer he... um... managed to sound... uh, more... clouded than the recovering drug addicts he spoke to; and the tale he had to tell was, well, meaningless.

Yeah, doubtless there are parents who need to keep a closer eye on what their kids are up to, but Tonight and Jack O dressed the tales of the Osbourne's fuck-ups as a warning to all the UK's parents - because, you know, maybe your kids, too, will be like Kelly: out in a nightclub in the middle of LA knocking back vodka to feel loved and wanted. Happens all the time in Ormskirk. Hilariously, it hadn't seemed to occur to anyone, anywhere in the production process that The Osbournes aren't an archetypal family, and their situation isn't really the same as that of a one-parent family on a sink estate in the North of England whose kid is pinching their telly to flog for a fix. Kelly, for example, suggested the reason she got into drugs was because she found it hard living in Beverley Hills and not wanting to drive a BMW. You could hear the teens in Easterhouse nodding and saying "that is my story, too."

But it wasn't just dire warnings of the risks of letting your kids out on the Strip - Jack and Kelly are angry, too. In the States, explained Kells, there are twelve-step programs everywhere, and everybody knows when they meet. But, revealed her brother, there's only one twelve step programme for teenagers in the whole of the United Kingdom. Like this was shocking. Again, there was no attempt to ponder why this might be, and - more disturbingly - there was no attempt to offer an exploration of if the twelve step route is the most fitting, or explain the hundreds of alternatives that are on offer. We can't help wondering if the Osbournes had been "rehabbed" by some organisation that looked even more culty if the once-mighty Granada production team would have been equally happy for them to be given a large unquestioning chunk of screen time. [We know the 12 step works for some people; but we're equally aware of some serious criticisms of it - the average viewer of Tonight would have been left unaware].

And, of course, there were Sharon and Ozzy, pulled out again to mumble and fumble (him) and grandstand (her). A terrible, terrible programme all round - doesn't anyone in TV have the guts to do the Osbournes a kindness and let them all slink back off into anonymity?

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