A trip down to the shops.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
 
The fifteenth minute.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
 
Rice and Pea!

The vulgar looking blue and yellow itv logo prematurely fades away to a black screen, when suddenly the stark, bland editing clock flashes up with words next to it declaring "Trisha, part one.", and a countdown. Five, four, three, two, one. There stands Trisha Goddard herself, her thighs bulging slightly in her dark purple trousers and teeth straining to get as far away from her tongue as they can. She's 'behind the scenes', standing next to the blue 'behind the scenes' sofa and looking concerned.

"Today on the show you'll meet Arthur." Cut to shot of doddery old eighty year-old. "Arthur is here because he wants a DNA test to find out if Sharon," Cut to Sharon looking drab with dark roots and puffy eyes. "Is really his daughter. Valerie is here," Now show Valerie clenching a very used tissue. "And she wants to find out if her boyfriend, Colin is telling the truth, or if he really has cheated on her with seven hundred other women."

We are supposed to be shocked by Trisha's revelation regarding Valerie, but for the keen-eyed viewer the absence of Colin on the screen speaks volumes. He is likely to be a malformed freak of a man who would clearly be incapable of pulling anyone but the blind, or the mentally unhinged. Without being allowed too much time to ponder this thought the jazzy titles begin. We see dazzling colours, not usually seen in the houses of most recipients of the show, mostly being drab, grey, pikey people. Intertwined with the moving shapes that appeal to the kindergarten-like minds of the target audience are shots of Trisha giving sound and valuable advice to numerous obese, unhappy, violent and ignorant guests. The shapes eventually coalesce into the name that almost seems to bring comfort to the working class by its mere presence.

Cue a frightening shot of the audience looking deformed, poorly-dressed and ill-informed, clapping like epileptic seals. The Trisha audience in itself would be a fascinating case-study for all those interested in lower primates, or how never to apply make-up. Standing amongst them, like a deity surrounded by her apostles is the form of Patricia Goddard herself, her new hair style giving her the look of Kevin Keegan in his disasterously permed heyday. With great effort to keep her teeth confined within her mouth Trisha waits for the applause to die down before addressing the camera directly.

"Lies can rip a family apart," The glint in her eye giving away her thoughts of being ripped apart herself by her well-endowed husband the previous night. "But today we'll meet families that always lie to each other. Please welcome Albert." This encourages spazzing applause from the array of rejects surrounding her as Albert shuffles onto the stage with a dubious dark stain across the crotch of his slacks. "Hello Albert." She says, greeting him warmly. "So tell me Albert, what's been happening to you?" Her fake sincerity making for rivetting viewing.

Albert begins his tale of woe, recounting all the ins and outs of his pointless story, but explained in a way so as to get maximum sympathy for the old pissy man. In a nutshell Albert sewed his wild oats with many women, usually for a price, back in the seventies when he could still maintain an erection without the aid of a blue, lozenge shaped tablet, or a vacuum pump. With the intelligence of a dog-shit it is not surprising to find out that he hadn't heard of condoms until the mid-eighties, but even then he still thought AIDS was what he wore in his ear to hear better. It is also not surprising that due to his excessive, and doubtless almost totally inept copulating spawned many children. The audience give a gasp of dissaproval as they hear that Albert has spawned no less than eighteen children to twenty three different women; a sign that Albert may not have got a fantastic education in either Mathematics, Biology or both, if any. The reason Albert is here is to find out if he is the father of possible child number nineteen, and the fourth of his to be named Sharon if it transpires that she is his.

On comes Sharon in another hail of rabid applause from the group of misfits that would clap a stoning if it was happening in a television studio; the type of people you find in the audience of a lottery draw beating their flippers together to a machine that gets its balls out. Sharon takes a seat, but not before pulling the blue, padded chair across the stage to get as far away from Albert as possible, who blanks her completely. She explains her side of things, which is naturally a complete opposite of everything Albert has said about the situation. The audience now seems split, half sympathetic to the incontinent old man, the others firmly on the side of Sharon and her sob-story; there's no fence to sit on in the Trisha studio. Now is the time for them to have their say. God help us all.

"To the girl." An unattractive hag with overly greasy hair waves her arm at Sharon in an attempt to get her name from Trisha.
"It's Sharon, Maybe Albert's daughter." Trisha hammers the point home again.
"Yeah, what will you do if he," Another hand waving spasm towards Albert fills in the blank. "Turns out to be your father?"

Sharon prattles on, but we have now lost all interest in her and her possible father. Trisha makes some half-hearted comment about the difference between being a biological father and a dad, then has the audacity to ask us to return after the break to find out if Albert really is. Do we care? No. Will we return? Like gawpers to a train-wreck, of course we will.

Now we get a tirade of loan arrangemnt and debt management adverts with the odd warning from June Whitfield about unexpected funeral expenses.
"It's not the same without daddy anymore, is it?" Asks a baleful child as we are sent on a sympathy spiral in a cynical attempt to get us to buy life insurance. Interestingly though the husband in that particular family did not die, but he left his wife for a woman without dark rings around her eyes and a less pallid, grey complexion. An ironic fact is that both mother and child were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty boiler, something the mother failed to get serviced to to excessive life insurance payments and too many loan commitments.

We return to the studio in a hail of flapping exuberance, like a sea of floundering trout suffocating in the air around the feet of Trisha. In her hand is a plain brown evelope, similar in size and design as those that contain black and white hardcore pornography video catlogues, but this one contains the DNA results for Albert and Sharon. Trisha makes a heartfelt comment and slits the envelope abrubtly with a thumb, sliding out the paper detailing the results.

Surprise surprise, Albert has gained another child. Tears flow, people clap, nobody really cares, and Trisha is back to addressing the camera with a glance of almost total dismissal to the previous guests. "Now Valerie is here to find out if her boyfriend Colin really has slept with as many as seven hundred women." A gasp from the audience predictably follows. "Please welcome Valerie." And the gawpers do so, with gusto. "Valerie, seven hundred?" The eyebrows raise and Trisha displays a look of total incredulity. No wonder, she has seen Colin backstage.

We get to hear Valerie's story, and suddenly it all becomes clear. Colin has been out of her sight for seven hundren times since they got together, thus he might have possibly had the opportunity to have sex with seven hundred blind hunch-backs. The audience begins to turn against the worthless, irrational woman on the stage, a dripping tissue gripped between white knuckles, like a vibration-white-finger sufferer cleaning up after self-love. After a while, and another attack from an equally worthless onlooker, deciding that their words of wisdom are pertinent and sage. In actuality the comments are ignorant and pointless, but Trisha entertains them just the same. The reply is as ignorant and pointless as the question, but that's what the show is all about, like watching monkey-tennis.

Colin is now brought out, his pus oozing acne almost blinding viewers in the studio and at home alike. His legs are like those of a flamingo, but his belly is hanging over his belt, too tightened, and making him look pregnant. His breasts also resemble those of a pregnant woman, but the hair protruding from the checked shirt shows that he is far from a buxom beauty, more like a pie-guzzling turd. Colin has undergone a lie detector test in an attempt to prove his innocence, as if one was needed going from his rows of missing teeth, but Valerie has convinced her tiny mind that Colin is the deformed reincarnation of Cassanova.

"And now for the results of the lie detector test." Trisha announces, slipping out another brown envelope and slitting it open. The audience are on the edge of their cheap, plastic and brutally uncomfortable seats. "Valerie," She begins, hamming it up to the max, milking Valerie's misery for all she can. "You asked Colin if he has had sexual genital, non-penetration specific contact with anyone since meeting you." Another pause to let the horror truly sink in, how can Valerie be so delusional? "Colin said no." Another pause for dramatic effect. "The lie detector said that Colin was telling the truth." Applause all round, but Trisha must have the limelight in this moment of her glory. "But there's more. You also wanted to know if Colin has been wearing your thongs when you go out to the bingo on Wednesday nights. Colin said no." Hamming to the max Trisha pauses for a full five seconds before revealing the result of the flawed test. "The lie detector said that Colin was telling the truth."

There are hugs all round, but we are left with a strange empty feeling, as if we would have much preferred to see Colin dropped well and truly into the shit. The programme continues for an hour, a full hour, but do we complain? No, we lap it up; and why? Because when we see how truly repellent some members of the public can be we can't help but feel superior, better, more worthwhile, starting our morning off with a skip in our step and a scoff in our minds. Thank fuck I'm not you Colin.

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