Monday 24 Oct 2016

TV Trends
David Simmonds

Its a long way from the time when the country watched Juliette together on a Saturday night. It's even a long time since Bruce Springsteen complained there were 58 channels and nothing on. And the world of TV keeps getting more diffuse, as three new applications coming down the pipe clearly indicate.

Soon to begin the regulatory process is Gloomvue, a service that targets pessimists. "We wanted to call it Eeyorevision" said Gloomvue president Reba Hoop, "but we would have had to negotiate with the estate of A .A. Milne for the use of the name; and since it probably wouldn't have succeeded, we didn't try".

Hoop came up with the idea two years ago after realizing she was heartily sick of perky news anchors. "Why doesn't one of them just up and say that the world is going to hell in a hand basket" she mused. Suddenly, the penny dropped: why not do it herself?

While she knew pessimists were a huge market segment, cutting right across lines of gender, geography, age and income, she didn't expect to find investor interest. "But I was wrong" said Hoop. "I'm always wrong. Mind you, the CRTC will probably turn us down. But what else is there to do? I'm not going to sit around my living room all day playing 'Keep on the Sunny Side'".

A glance at the proposed schedule illustrates the thinking behind the application. Shows include,

"It wont work" - a program geared to the home handyperson.

"Not that it will make any difference" - a self help, Dr. Phil style program.

"The defeated" - sports coverage of losing teams.

"Only one team wins the Stanley Cup" noted Hoop: "everyone else is heartbroken, and their stories need telling."

"Downbeat" - a music show aimed at aimed upscale urbanites.

Another application insiders have tagged with a high probability of success is Snoozetube - a channel designed to appeal to the sleep deprived. "Fifty nine percent of us sleep abnormally" said Larry Winks, of Montreal-based Snorekel Communcations. "People are always looking for medication free alternatives, and we presume they've already tried the Golf Channel. If they get to sleep, they're truly grateful to us and our advertisers".

Programs heading up the playbill include,

Sentry duty" - a reality show showing the wacky lifestyle of sentries at various outposts of the British Empire.

"World's first grandmother" - newly minted grandmothers talk about their grandchildren.

"Dry, warp, grow" - a real time action series showing paint drying, caskets warping and grass growing.

"Test patterns" - favourite tv test patterns from the 50's.

"Other people's vacation photos" - the action never stops."

Winks admitted his was a "low budget" - but valuable - service that would turn a profit for investors in its second year.

And how about DENTV - a show aimed at the dental profession. DENTV spokesperson Al Crown called dentists "more valuable than doctors: they set their own fees and have much more disposal income". Don't get appendicitis, Al.

And what has DENTV got lined up for enamel set, if its application is approved? Consider these offerings,

"World's funniest dental surgery videos" - frightened patients run for cover, drills go awry. putty sets unexpectedly fast: it's all here.

"Making a dent" - tributes to those honoured in the Dentistry Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

"Do not go dental" - a guide to active retirement.

"The fund-de-dental things apply" - elementary investing for dentists.

"Grunt work" - getting your patients to talk to you.

"We've no shortage of ideas", said Crown. "We're also considering dramatizations of classics like A Bridge Too Far and The Mill on the Floss. And everyone loves awards shows: we'd love to put together something where we can hand out a plaque!".

Somehow, it all makes you wish for the golden era of Juliette. Or test patterns.

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Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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