Striving for the Gold Medal

“If being miserable was an Olympic sport, he’d be sure to win a gold medal” – there are many variations on this quip, simply substitute anything you wish for “miserable”. My own ambitions lie in television personality abuse. I have been practicing for years and feel I am – through daily rigorous practice – reaching a level of perfection which raises me above the more run-of-the-mill grumbler.

A sprinkling of foul language always spices up a line of invective though, to be quite honest, I feel it gladdens the heart of the one spouting more than it raises the quality of the castigation. It might help a non-runner gain a bronze medal in the Vilification Olympics but is really beneath the dignity of one striving for gold. There is no room for such crass behaviour in the upper echelons of castigation; restraint and reason are far better and more acceptable – a begrudged gold medal will always carry its taint.

However, it must be conceded – indeed, highly recommended – that a spicy tongue-lashing is the only suitable response to the appearance of yet another “celebrity” on the screen. I invariably cannot restrain myself when a celebrity travel programme or celebrity cooking programme or any such celebrity programme appears and my usual reaction is a “Who the f… is s/he?” Yes, I admit it, a very poor show, completely unimaginative and hardly original; more a knee-jerk reaction than a considered response. It really is no credit to me but it is fun. Not all sport needs to be competitive!

A new gardening programme on RTE which has featured three gardens in both of its programmes to date began very pleasantly with visits to the gardens, brief interactions with the gardeners – the time constraints of a thirty minute schedule – but then brought, to my mind, an unnecessary element of competition , choosing one of the participating gardeners as the gardening hero of the week. Many of the reactions on social media echoed this opinion and I fear it has tainted the whole programme and this is a great pity as it is so wonderful to see Irish gardens featured. Most posters on social media (Facebook was the only medium where I read these comments) enjoyed the gardens but would have preferred the competitive aspect were not part of the presentation. There was no outpouring of opinion following the second programme. I wonder if this indicates an acceptance of the format – perhaps, as the only show in town and therefore the best we have – and I may even have slipped into an engagement with the contest for weekly gardening hero for I found I disagreed strongly with the judges’ choice. Had I no interest in the contest, the result would be of no import to me. Perhaps, the competitive element engages the audience to some degree even if they wish it were not there. A more detailed appraisal of the programme would bring me into the realm of television criticism and would distract me from my preferred immediate castigation and my dreams of a gold medal in the Curmdgeons’ Olympics.

9 thoughts on “Striving for the Gold Medal

  1. Who does the choosing of the gardener of the week? I wonder is it the programme where that weeks gardeners visit each others gardens and give them a score?

    Shouting at the tellybox is a competative sport in our house – mainly for quizes when we shout the answers out even though the programmes are repeats, but also government spokespersons when the phrases “you fat T**y b*****d” and “answer the b****y question” regularly reverberate around the house. I know people who regularly throw sock balls at the TV when BBC Question Time is on.


    1. In this programme, there are three presenters/experts who visit and then decide at the end of the programme. It echoes the format of another programme on Irish television, House of the Year, where three presenters visit three houses and choose one as the winner. The difference is that the house programme has always been clearly flagged as a competition and continues to a final between the weekly winners whereas it is not clear how the gardening set-up will proceed.

      I will continue to practice shouting at the box!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate competitive cookery programmes. I would rather learn how to do something new say with Mary Berry or Rick Stein . I just don’t watch the other type of programmes. It seems to be that everything has to be a competition or else gimmicky these days. Maybe its because people can’t concentrate on anything long.Its the same with a lot of history programmes. I am quite happy listening to someone talk if they are good speakers and interesting.
    Just in after potting up Wallflowers and Canterbury Bells for next year. Hope you are all well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All well here! Yes, cooking and gardening programmes are mainly for the armchair cook and gardener and there is no need for the gimmicks.


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