I’m sitting here watching the Brazilian TV channel on Sky, Record TV (Channel 810). No disrespect to any Brasileiros out there, but it’s made me determined to install a satellite dish when we get to Manaus. The current programme is one of the Brazilian soaps, or novelas, called Bicho do Mato (rough translation: ‘wild animal’- describing someone from the country – a yokel). As with all Brazilian novelas, the producers have the interesting ability to make any set – no matter how technically sophisticated – look remarkably like a set. And the acting, for the most part, is as wooden as it comes – as I write, a guy is doing “an evil laugh” to camera. (It probably says in his script something like “laughs evilly to camera”.) Not that I’ve anything against the concept of the novela – much better (imho) than the concept of the soap, the novela has a beginning and an end. A complete story. Bloody marvellous – not like Eastenders, for example, which just seems to be an interminable exposition of improbable human suffering set in vaguely unpleasant social circumstances.
No, the main problem with Brazilian TV, I find, is that it’s 78% infantile nonsense (assinine game shows, banal chat shows and the like), 10% appallingly biased, patronising news and current affairs programmes (see photo – a dynamic production, focusing on the engrossing subject of bad breath), 10% sports programmes where in-depth analysis comprises the word “goooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal” screamed into the microphone for periods in excess of 10 seconds at a time, and 2% stuff that’s actually not bad (Fantastico, for example). The model is based primarily on the talentless rubbish that comes out of the USA, but with a lot of the talent removed.
But then I suppose all TV’s going the same way – a quick flick through the UK terrestrial channels just now reveals the spellbinding “House Traders” (people who buy and -yawn – sell houses, BBC1), Snooker (fine if you like it, BBC2), Supernatural (yet another new series from the good old US of A, ITV) ER (pain, blood and social commentary on a stupefyingly uninteresting scale, C4), and 50 Ways to Look Great Naked (sitting in front of the telly with a packet of crisps, translucent folds of flab cascading over your privates, perhaps, C5).
Bloody hell, maybe we’ll just not bother installing a TV at all. Which reminds me, I must write to the Beeb and ask them what the best way would be to pick up the BBC World Service (while it’s still running). Now that’s quality.