Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tallafornia: Making the rest of us feel better

As said before in my Haywire review, I dislike overseas (notably american) portrayals of the Irish. On a somewhat related note, I hate the americanisation of Irish culture. Its why Santa gets milk and cookies instead of bottles of beer every Christmas, and why the D4 invasion has been unstoppable. 
OK, so maybe it isn't SO bad

But we don't quite get what works from American TV just yet. We as a country tend to do alright with what works in Britain because of the relative similarities in culture and obvious influences. We have similar shows, stations that transmit the same mush (TV3 and ITV is the best example) and British television also seems more 'grounded' than the smash hits that make American TV so great. Take me out, Master chef, and Come dine with me, are all shows of recent times that have been well made from a British base to work in Ireland.

American reinterpretations though have been quite mixed. We have taken influences from 'the Hills' and ended up with 'Fade Street', a dire take on improvised dialogue and basic acting skills. However, The Apprentice is definitely a hit, working with a very Irish Bossman in Bill Cullen  to work with a modern Ireland.
But we now have taken things down to a very low level with 'Tallafornia'.

The format is based on 'Jersey Shore', where a bunch of muscly men and skanky women share a house and then go clubbing and shagging every time they have the chance.

Theoretically the format does not make sense to work within a country like Ireland. Geordie Shore is on in the U.K so why not leave it at that, because a lot of the Irish MTV viewers see it anyway. Dublin is not the place to find these type of people either. the Name Tallafornia implies people from Tallaght, so anyone outside the place probably thought of these sort of characters...

But instead we have a different set of much better looking people, who just happen to live in the place.
With the house itself, it is about right for the location, a semi-detached gaff with the usual rooms (and a cheesy 'score room') save for the one fact that there is a hot tub in the back garden. Unless you are high up and rich, I don't think anywhere in Tallaght has a hot tub.
Finally, it seems a bit hard to find things to do in Tallaght aside from clubbing and shopping, what can the creators do about it?

But, to be honest, I had some strange feelings about the show once it got put in practice. It reeks of an amateur work mixed with professionalism. The main cast may not feel like true 'Tallafornians', but they do a lot of what many others in Dublin do. Trips to Tesco, The Wright Venue, play the Wii, head to a 21st in a clubhouse, all feel very grounded. At the same time, they do what very few of us would, such as absail in Killiney, bring women to the hot tub, or spend a couple hundred quid on condoms, lube, eggs and tuna.

Maybe the producers had this plan all along, to have it feel deliberately corny and be a satire of the American and British counterparts, and in that case it worked a charm. Its entertaining in the right mindset, and the cast of characters, while single dimensional, are growers. Some make for hilarious TV, such as Cormac, the most muscly of the men, but also awkward as f**k, adding to finished punchlines, walking like the terminator and just having a 'forever alone' stance in many situations.

"The Stir has been Stirred"

Theres other characters, such as Nikita, who judging by the show wants sex, no matter who or what it is. There's Jay , who acts grounded until his clothes come off, Natalie, who is into fashion and the vajazzle, Kelly who must have done modelling before this because she is in lingerie a lot of the time, Phil who acts as a typical man-whore, and Dave, who is getting with Kelly every other time I watch the show.

For all its efforts, it works on an unintentional hilarity, but to take it in 'highbrow' seriousness its a failure in most ways to any other televised show. Perhaps more practical if they based it off the D4 stereotype, but If you cannot bring yourself to watch this type of show, consider watching epicnewsdaily's version, which provides a running commentary on the show's highlights. Its among the funniest commentaries of anything out there, and what myself as a viewer seems to think at the right moments.

Give it a watch, for better or worse, you are enlightened by a show like this

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