OK, you lucky people. You asked for it (in my dreams) so here it is – the third ‘Name that theme song’ quiz. This time I’ve focused on sitcoms from the 70s and 80s. So, prepare to travel back to the days of yore and see if you can name all 10 TV themes included in the clip. But be warned, it isn’t all Jesse Frederick and Miller/Boyett. There are a couple of obscurities thrown in for good measure. And don’t even think about playing along if you were born after 1985. Stupid youngster!
As before, send me a comment crying ‘uncle’ and I’ll send you an email with the answers. I am trying to work out an elegant solution for providing the answers on-line but until then, you’re at my mercy.
What follows isn’t meant as an indictment of Leon Schuster. It isn’t even meant as an indictment of Leon Schuster’s audience. Everyone has the right to watch whatever they want – even if it’s crap. Truth be told, we all have our guilty pleasures. Hell, I watch ‘Glee’ every week and there’s simply no excuse for that.
So, I’m not going to criticise anyone for enjoying what I think is the puerile ‘comedy’ of Schuster and his international counterparts. To each their own and all that. But the tremendous success enjoyed by Oom Leon and his ilk means that there isn’t room for any other kind of comedy on our screens. And that’s what makes me sad.
You see, I’m both a writer and a fan of comedy. But this kind of poep/fart/kick-in-the-balls genre doesn’t appeal. It isn’t the kind of comedy I want to write and it isn’t the kind of comedy I want to watch. That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good fart joke, and I was reared on the slapstick of Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Chaplin. However, it’s a gross injustice to compare the masters of silent comedy with the witless pratfalls of Adam Sandler et al.
Consequently, I usually find myself on the ‘hipster’ side of the comedy equation – championing TV shows and movies that are critically acclaimed but commercially tangential. I devour brilliant series such as Community, 30 Rock, The Thick of It and Parks and Recreation, while I eschew chart-topping rubbish like 2 and Half Men. That’s just the way I’m wired.
Now, in a normal unregulated media environment such as they enjoy in America or Britain, that wouldn’t be a problem. There are enough broadcasters and movie studios to ensure that at least a few niche products get the green light each year. The fate of these left-field endeavours then rests in the hands of the audiences, and that is how it should be.
Unfortunately, I work and live in South Africa where there is a virtual monopoly on media production. We have the Big 5 broadcasters and a handful of viable movie producers – none of whom have the capital or courage to take a risk. As a result, our South African movies and TV shows are pitched at the broadest possible audience, usually based on a format that proven popular in previous iterations. And preferably with boobs.
That means our local audiences are fed a constant stream of lowest-common-denominator pabulum; a vague and derivative mixture of toothless sitcoms and juvenile comedies. There are occasional exceptions: Jozi and Material, both directed by Craig Freimond, were pretty good and at least tried to take things to the next level. But, by and large, we are still very much stuck in the 1980s – creating disposable comedy that would make Tony Danza look cutting edge.
It’s therefore no surprise that a market fed exclusively on porridge has never developed a taste for sushi or a nice meta-curry. And that leads, as is always the case, back to me…
I guess the thing that really gets me is that, under the current dispensation, there just isn’t a place for me in South Africa (either as a writer or an audience member). I have never made it all the way through a Leon Schuster movie. I can’t watch more than a couple of episodes of any local sitcom. I shun local movies at the cinema (because they are either kak comedies or self-righteous dramas). And this means that I am forced to consume all my media from overseas; hooking into the global media establishment while simultaneous isolating myself in a bubble of internationalism.
In other words, when it comes to English-language programming, I have to concede that I am utterly disconnected from the local market. I steadfastly believe that a shot to the nuts is only funny in a home video, and I’ve finally come to accept that this kind of ‘sophistication’ makes me the worst thing I could ever be: irrelevant. IMHO.
There was a flurry of comments about my previous TV Theme Song quiz – all right, 2 – so I decided to upload another compilation of familiar tunes from 10 TV shows of blessed memory.
This time, I’ve prepared two versions: regular and hard (settle down). They contain the same themes in the same order, but the hard version has much shorter samples – for real TV geeks like Frank.
BTW, Frank, I haven’t made them too obscure because I want this to be accessible to people other than yourself. And this time don’t post the answers so blatantly – you spoilsport. I’m trying to get people to register on my site!
OK, here’s a treat for you! I’ve been playing around with my editing software and, just for fun, I compiled an audio montage of 10 beloved theme songs from popular TV shows of decades past. Can you name them all? It’s harder than you think!
I will provide the answers via email but you need to comment or subscribe to my blog so that I can get your email address. Preferably, subscribe – please! I personally guarantee to keep your details very private – no spam, pinky swear! To subscribe, just enter your details in the box at the bottom of the page.
If you enjoyed this compilation, please forward the link to your friends and don’t forget to comment on the blog (not just on Facebook). If the response is good, I’ll consider making more…
Oh, and my sincere apologies if I have infringed any copyrights. It’s not malicious. Just think of it as sampling [smiley face].
As we’ve already established, South Africa’s broadcasting environment is almost totally devoid of balls. The SABC is a cowering, quivering mass of sycophancy. Mnet’s rule of thumb is to produce only shows with a voting line (the excellent Masterchef SA notwithstanding). And eTV is focussed on low-budget soapies.
What this dearth of testicles means is that there is little room for anyone to speak their mind. The occasional hard news show or investigative slot are all well and good, but what about the other genres of television? Our glossy magazine shows, for example, are slick and smooth and featureless – much like Barbie’s crotch. Continue reading “Anderson Cooper cuts the crap”
So, our glorious public broadcaster has refused to screen the latest Nando’s ‘Diversity’ ad. Unfortunately, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. The SABC has a long history of avoiding controversy at any cost, usually because the organisation is afraid to run foul of its political masters (nothing new here – the SABC was always designed to be a mouthpiece for the ruling government, whether National Party or the ANC).
Rather, this particular instance of ideological cowardice is supposedly based on cultural sensitivity; a fear that the mere mention of xenophobia will spark off another deplorable wave of bigotry and shop burning, such as we witnessed a couple of years ago. While this general concern does have some validity in a country fraught with xenophobic tension, the SABC’s reasoning as it relates to the commercial is, of course, craven nonsense. Continue reading “The SABC is chicken!”
I’ve been going through a bad patch, authorially speaking. I just haven’t been able to write. I’ve completely blown the deadlines for my next two travel books (on Lesotho and Swaziland – plug, plug) and I am still struggling to get my arse into my computer chair on a regular basis. I think I’m a bit burnt out from a couple of months of frantic activity, which was way too much like hard work for my liking. The upshot of all this, basically, is that I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately.
Now I don’t proclaim myself to be a fan of reality TV, but the rigours of my procrastination schedule are such that I am often forced to watch the most pitiful drivel. And I’ve got a new favourite. Continue reading “Geek like me”