Getting annoyed at the TV is fairly easy these days. Most evenings we are presented with benefit cheats and obese people who TV dresses up as either a villain or a freak for us to point our judgmental finger at.
People are derided and demonised at such a rate on social media that its only a matter of time before production companies can start just posting memes of single mums to satisfy the baying masses. A meme with an obese person featuring the quote “Guess what I weighz” could potentially break the internet to such a point that we may end up disappearing into a technological black hole.
One show that caters perfectly to this demographic is ‘Take Me Out’. Whilst I am aware that the show has been on our screens for a while now. More than a while actually with its seventh series having only just finished. I only watched an episode for the first time recently. It should be pointed out that this was not through choice. I was reliably informed by my daughters, aged 7, 9 & 12, that it was great. Reliably informed could easily be changed for ‘I was told I was watching it by my daughters’.
To those lucky enough to be unfamiliar to the format of the show here is a brief overview.
A single man tries to get a date with one of 30 women. In trying to do this, the man must talk about his background and show off a talent that he has. The women stand in front of lights that they can turn off if they don’t want to go on a date with the man or keep it on if they do. Whoever came up with the format must have been taking drugs, watching an old episode of ‘Blind Date’ where adverts for Lynx and Tampax came on. They probably threw some glitter in the air just to bring their vision to life.
Despite attempts to avoid watching the show by indulging in a grown up pastime (playing a game loosely based on ‘Candy Crush’ but connected to the Disney movie ‘Frozen’), the shouts of “let the monkey see the banana” battered my brain for its attention.
One female contestant really stood out in the show, Kelly from Essex. The stand out being her reasoning for switching her light off for one would-be dater. “Aah caan’t undastaand ah wurd hee’s saayin” This quote was lifted directly from the mouth of Kelly. The man in question had simply said, “Hi, I’m David from Glasgow!” in an almost Radio 4 Scottish Accent.
One episode featured a woman making a joke over the man who tried to woo her having a turban. The joke being that she wanted to go on a date with him as his turban would be a good place to hide her phone. With the way in which the women talk about the men it’s almost as if ITV execs place the concept of feminism on a board featuring time travel, hoverboards and a decent new Adam Sandler movie.
But its all good fun they say. This is where I get annoyed. Would it be good fun if the tables were turned. We could have Fearne Cotton bring on 30 men in clothes just a size that little bit too small to leer over a single woman. The men could then make innuendos about the woman based on her appearance, clothes and accent. God forbid what would happen if a woman went on it saying that she had a big mouth.
Thinking of watching a version of this even feels creepy. Granted some men do act like this often, but putting it on TV wouldn’t be acceptable. Presenting it as primetime Saturday night entertainment these days is completely unthinkable.
The UK is a diverse and wonderful place that should really be better represented than this horrible nonsense that manages to be offensive on so many levels. The biggest worry is though that somewhere in ITV head office there is probably someone suggesting they do special versions of the show featuring only obese people or single mothers. Then again, it’s ITV so Celebrity Take Out is probably already in the pipeline.
John Gavin is a former Scottish Comedian of the Year