Friday, September 22, 2006


Oh, Blogger’s down for maintenance. There goes the big stick of the immediacy of being online for my writing exercise posts. It’s back to composing in Word, so I can get these thoughts out in a timely manner. Still, since I am online—in a pathetic kind of dial-up way—at the moment, perhaps between checking email and Bloglines I can still retain the same sense of urgency.

So many new television programs have started this week and last week on free-to-air, that I’m in something of a tizz. How do people cope with Pay TV, I ask you? There is already too much to watch.

I missed the first episode of Jamie’s Kitchen: Australia last week. I’m not sure why. Something to do with that being the day of the thesis prospectus presentation and collapsing in a heap for a few seconds before picking myself up and marking that stack of assignments. Anyway, I watched the second episode last night, and I remembered my thoughts when I watched the first Jamie’s Kitchen. Bloody hell, some of those kids have lived the worst lives, no wonder they’re so spitting mad. Of course, being a chef won’t be a life of glamour. Crap hours, crap pay, not so great conditions of employment, and the discerning public?—well let’s not go there.

In a way I feel like I’m watching my brother’s trajectory. When my mother remarried, after me and my sisters had left home, she chose a right bastard, a freakin’ sociopath. Suffice to say, my brother’s life wasn’t that great and he ended up leaving school and home. He got work as a kitchen hand and managed to turn up to work often enough to prove himself capable of committing to an apprenticeship. He was helped by some really good people and so he became a chef. I think that’s why I have a soft spot for this show and the work Jamie Oliver does. But it also seems to me that the whole Fifteen concept is just a good, socially-committed thing to do.

I know it’s wrong to begrudge the prospective students the oysters they spit out during the tasting sessions, but I am weeping for the unappreciated briny, creamy morsels. Give them to me! Give them to me!

By making the decision to watch Jamie’s Kitchen, I had to forgo Celebrity Survivor. Normally I would tape one show while watching the other, but it’s a long sad story about the DVR, the resurrection of the VCR, and the stack of videocassettes I threw away a long time ago. I still haven’t watched the last episode of Boston Legal; I’ve got half of Rome to watch and all of the first episode of the latest season of The Sopranos to watch—even though I’ve already seen the first three episodes of this season. I make no sense.

After Jamie’s Kitchen, I switched over briefly, and caught the extinguishing of Guy Leech’s torch. No tears from me. He and Wayne, the former motorcycle champion, got my goat the way they were always plotting to get rid of the women. There was such a sense of entitlement about their own right to be there, as if it was obvious the women should go. Not to me. It always fascinates me about Survivor that perceived physical strength or lack thereof is the sole criterion for wishing people off the island, as if the challenges don't test mental acuity and balance and flexibility, which women are pretty good at. Witness the challenge where the contestants had to stand on a beam in the middle of the ocean. The object of the exercise was for each person to take a quoit from one end of the beam to the other, while making their way around their team mates standing along the beam. Who made the bright decision for Imogen to sit that challenge out? Tiny and flexible would have won the day, instead that (unmentionable) David Oldfield thought he would go first and clearly he isn't terribly balanced. (Well, I amuse myself). It has been quite interesting watching Oldfield the politician at work I think.

Another program I missed the Australian season premiere of this week was Oz. Again with the cassette problem. I'll have this worked out by next week. Of course, Oz has been over for years in the US; it's probably for sale on DVD at some ridiculously discounted price.

I switched back to watch the premiere of Jericho, just in case it turns out to be must-see-TV. My first impressions are that it's a strange amalgam of Cold War and post-9/11 paranoia. The Cold War aspect arises from the premise of a nuclear explosion (possibly multiple) and the notion of the post-holocaust survivors trying to come to grips with their fears. In terms of its tone it reminds me a bit of Z for Zachariah, even though there are a lot of survivors. It could be the children.

The post-9/11 paranoia aspect is evident in the representation of the town of Jericho as a microcosm of contemporary America after a devastating attack. Politicians bicker amongst themselves; emergency service personnel are ubiquitous; and the buzzword is 'terrorist'. At this stage there are a couple of outsiders who have already displayed great leadership potential. Jake Green played by Skeet Ulrich is the estranged son of the town's mayor. His father deems him a wastrel, and we're not quite sure of his past, but we know he saves a bus load of children, so he's alright. The other mysterious character who has an air of competency about him in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust is new-to-the-town African-American man, Robert Hawkins played by Lennie James.

Jericho also borrows from Lost, which itself borrowed from Survivor, in the creation of an 'island' community and trying to solve a series of mysteries, while ensuring their personal survival and that of their civilsation.

This post will be finished soon, but I couldn't stop without mentioning how much I've come to love Bones. Yes, it's very much in the vein of a gazillion other forensic investigation shows, but it's the characterisation that makes this one stand out. Dr Temperance Brennan is an unapologetic over-achiever and even when she shows emotion it's not in the context of sappy sentimentality àla the two episodes of House I've watched. Her involvement in her cases arises out of her intellectual curiosity rather than clichés about emotional females.

I've also had a bit of a fan moment with the appearance of David Boreanaz as FBI agent, Seeley Booth. Of course I liked him in Buffy and Angel, but seeing him play a regular guy—one that eats and drinks, no less, to say nothing of going out in direct sunlight—well, I love his comic ability. It's perfectly suited to drama.

Roll Credits.


Anonymous said...

Hello Galaxy,

I'm a foreigner, and I was looking for some blog to talk about film or digital media, and then I finish here, I want to study filmmaking or digital media, I visit a lot of webpages, universities an another institutions, but I don't have the knowledge of which are the best options to study in Australia, thats why I'm asking if you can help me with your advice, maybe you know much more on this and give me a hand, I don't meet people there, so I'm trying to do something about that. Well I'll hope you can help me on this, or recommend me a way. Thanks for your time.


Galaxy said...

Hi Christian,

Well, I don't claim to be an expert. In Queensland: Griffith University and QUT are probably best.

The Australian Film, TV and Radio School is a credible and respected trainer of filmmakers in Australia.

Academic types from other states want to chip in?

Good luck with your search.

Tseen said...

I'm so hooked on Jamie's Kitchen at the moment, it's not funny. I swore I wouldn't get sucked into any more reality TV shows, esp ones that require a commitment of months and months! The thing I find most fascinating is that the entire Fifteen project is geared for good TV: max. potential for participants to be MIA, or regressing to bad habits, or just not taking authority all that well [not surprisingly]. They choose kids who've had a tough time or few opportunities, and many have been in trouble with the law. Yet, on their first forays into kitchen life, they're immediately penalised for not bowing to the authority of the chef (Toby). I know one must bow to chefly authority when working in a kitchen (it's so very feudal that way) but I thought they would've given the kids a bit of a heads-up about how things go down in a kitchen, etc. I have excellent conversations with my brother about the show! His cheffing days have been relatively smooth, even though he's encountered his share of self-aggrandising psycho-loons.

I've failed to watch Bones, even though I'm very keen to see what they did with the characters (I've read all the Reichs books). When I saw what a pretty chickie Tempe was, I must admit to a snort of disdain. But I realise that TV is about The Pretty so should just get over it.

Galaxy said...

Tempe is pretty, but she has a fairly penetrating gaze and a determined lack of social skills. If I were a scientist I might be a bit peeved at the stereotype. I haven't read the Reich books, but wonder if her character is similar to the books--be interested to know what you think, if you manage to catch it this week.

My brother has told me some horror stories about the things senior chefs do. He is trying a career change at the moment and cites the pathological behaviour of some chefs as a motivating factor.

I have a theory that being a chef is not unlike being in the military, the difference is that because the military is a public entity the kind of abuse of power that we've seen is subject to scrutiny and review and Royal Commissions, whereas in the private sector of business it's virtually anything goes.