Charlie Brooker explains how TV sold us a dream that real life failed to deliver in his new BBC2 show How TV Ruined Your Life (Tuesday, BBC2)…
The Norwegian pop band A-Ha famously sang that ‘the sun always shines on TV’, but in real life the outlook is invariably gloomier.
So who’s to blame for this disappointing disparity between TV-land and the real world?
All will be revealed as Screen Wipe’s Charlie Brooker casts a satirical eye over the broken promises made to us by the box, using a mixture of archive footage, sketches and his trademark scathing commentary in the new BBC2 series How TV Ruined Your Life…
TV hasn’t actually ruined anyone’s life… That’s a complete lie. It’s certainly misled people, though, which is what we address in the show. We look at how TV has influenced our views on ageing, love, aspiration, knowledge, progress and fear.
People who watch a lot of telly are more likely to be dissatisfied with their lot… It makes you think: ‘My views aren’t good enough, my friends aren’t good enough, and I don’t have enough fun.’
TV subscribes to the notion of there being one person who’s perfect for you… It’s probably rather an unhelpful thing to walk around thinking. It shows you a parade of abnormally attractive people and ideal couples. So whether you’re single or in a relationship, it makes you unhappy. Basically, it ruins everything.
Television suggests you can be a brilliant cook, look fantastic, have perfect kids and live in an amazing house… But you might as well not bother, because no one can do all those things.
There’s been a lot of research into whether TV makes people violent… They found that violence on TV actually makes people more fearful about being a victim of crime. Not much thought has gone into how constant, low-level exposure to TV’s fabricated worlds affects us and our expectations of life.
Old people aren’t really allowed on telly… When they are, they’re either uncompromising authority figures like Lord Sugar, or someone’s patting them on the head saying: ‘Well done, Ethel!’
Today’s television is skewed towards young people… In the 1970s and 1980s it felt like everyone on TV was middle-aged. Even the teenagers were trying to behave like adults, whereas now the opposite is happening.
There has been a spate of TV adverts lately that imply you’ve got to do something crazy or you’re boring… They feature people doing things like stripping off and jumping in the sea to prove how mad they are. Even one-off experiences like that have been turned into another thing you have to tick off the list of stuff you ought to do.