10 things I hate about TV talk shows

Published: May 21, 2012
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These talk shows give rise to other talk shows that are later talked about on other shows and the cycle goes on and on.

There was a golden time during my father’s childhood when the only available channel was Pakistan Television (PTV). This showcased enjoyable shows that were informative at the same time. Sadly, this time is long gone.  

Today, even though television offers many channels, all I find when I flick the TV on is annoying talk shows. These talk shows give rise to other talk shows that are later talked about on other shows… and the cycle goes on and on.

To depict my distaste for these shows, I have come up with a list of 10 things that I cannot stand about talk shows. Here goes:

1) We all harp the same tunes

You must have noticed on that boring Sunday afternoon when you have nothing better to do and you have the TV remote in your hand, you start flipping through channels, browsing for something that sparks your interest. But all you find is a continuous trend of anchors rattling away at their guest speakers who are all harping the same tune,

“Dekhain jee… dekhain jee… dekhain jee…”

(Have a look… have a look… have a look)

Their nonsensical jibber jabber makes one wants to get up and say,

“Dekhain jee … For the love of God, shut up and let it go.”

2) Who is the next top yeller?

There are many hosts who think that if they yell loud enough, the mole hill they have will turn into a mountain. To name a few Mr Ha-mad Pir, Cameron Khan, Mob-asher Luqman, Jasmine Na-Manzoor, Funnia Idress are all good contestants for the “Who’s the next top yeller?” show. If this show ever airs, I will watch it just to see which one of them actually wins; they are all as good as each other.

3) The Know-It-All attitude

The media has started to believe that it has the supersonic capabilities to become oracles with magic powers to not only topple regimes but to also predict the date at which the reign is going to end. Dr-end-of-the-world made many such predictions but last I checked, things are still pretty much the same.

4) Targeted criticism

Interestingly enough, the alphabet ‘Z’ seems to makes its way into these shows more often than any other. Apparently this letter succeeded in robbing mankind. I wonder where the missing link is.

5) Hackneyed, stale and boring 

One-sided, hackneyed, stale discussions, revolving around the same bunch of people who have allegedly propagated some allegedly massive scandal never seem to become clichéd enough. What the media doesn’t realise is that they have successfully managed to suffocate their viewers who desperately need a breather from these good-for-nothing talk shows.

Advice: Put some substance into it, some reality. Rumours don’t carry on too far.

These Pirs and Khans seem to have nothing attractive enough to sell to their audience except rumours, speculation and gossip on politicians. There is no novelty in these shows. Rather than bringing out anything fruitful, the holier-than-thou-anchorperson deems it fit to hammer his or her ‘unbiased’ opinion at the viewers.

6) Dripping down rating

According to a survey – which gossip-weavers like me love looking at – talk-show ratings have taken a steep dip. How unfortunate. Now, luckily, only two to three nutcases in a hundred (I wish it were in thousands) watch these brain-drain shows.

One of my friends once said,

Why don’t these TV channels telecast some good comedy shows during these hours?

It’s true. Why not? At least, if nothing else, they will provide some much-needed comic relief to the inflation-ridden masses.

7) Ready, aim, fire!

It really baffles me as to why all the media guns are aimed at politicians and not at the army. The army that has ruled us for longer than these politicians ever have; the army that has played doll with our constitution, dressing it up or down to their delight – several times that too.

Doesn’t the media’s razor sharp tongue ever find reason to fire away at the other big booted ‘powerful force’ who have silently ruled our land for the past 64 years? Somehow, they also keep quiet about Jahadi militants and the Taliban wreaking havoc across Pakistan. I wonder why.

8) Never learn from their mistakes

Our media also seems to suffer from selective amnesia. The nine long, bleak years under our suited booted dictator who put a sock in the media’s mouth seems to be a forgotten nightmare.

What if these ‘bad politicians’, who we democratically elected are overthrown because of our bionic media, and the ‘almighty army’ takes over again?  It seems these media people will happily wrap their tongues around their eyes through another decade of dictatorship.

9) Over commercialisation 

The media’s role, over the last couple of years, has been a blend of overstating and understating the facts. It lacks balanced and impartial reporting.  Commercialisation has overshadowed the purpose and objectives of an unbiased media. In the words of Arundhati Roy,

Crisis-driven media cannot afford to hang about for too long. As a business needs cash turnover, the media need crisis turnover and are engaged in crisis production that seeks to find ways of manufacturing them in easily consumable, spectator-friendly format.

This statement presents the exact scenario of the media in Pakistan.

10) Responsibly irresponsible

With great freedom, comes great power and with great power comes great responsibility. We have the freedom, we have the power, but we are far from being responsible.

Read more by Kapil here, or follow him on Twitter @kdsindhi

Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev

A communications consultant who writes on minority rights and social issues.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.