I don’t aspire to be on most television programmes (except obviously, one with my name in the title and a giant wedge of money to present it), because I feel I’d be giving up too much of myself for too little return, writes Colm O’Regan.
But I’d love to be on Gogglebox. Its genius is that we can all imagine ourselves up there.
Reality TV presents us with many versions of ourselves but I don’t aspire to those versions. Ireland’s Fittest Families seems like a lot of examples of pointlessly taking the hard way to get from A to B, when there was clearly a perfectly good path there.
I imagine the end-bit of X-factor with Simon Cowell wiping away a tear but I can’t in all honesty imagine me singing the song that would take him to that place of ecstasy. (Unless a flat-as-Kildare version of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ with my checking my phone for the words to the last verse is exactly where SiCo wants to take the music industry in 2017.) And I don’t want to do Operation Transformation because I don’t have good enough underpants for the weigh-in and I’m not due new ones until February 2018.
But Gogglebox celebrates the ordinary. There’s too much celebration of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, but ordinary people doing ordinary things is what makes the world go round.
So I propose more of these TV programmes that celebrate the ordinary.
I want a version of Ireland’s Homes of the Year to come into our house. I want the three bickering design people to ooh and aah as they arrive. I can write their script for them.
“The first thing that hits you when you come in the door is the pair of shoes and an ESB bill on the third step of the stairs.” “Yes I agree. We already know we’re dealing with a bit of an auteur here. It’s a classic staple of design theory that nothing gets brought up until it is put on the stairs.” “Oh and I love this Lidl Next Week’s Offers magazine next to the nappy-bin. It shows the owners’ personality.” Maybe Kevin McLoud from Grand Designs could voice-over my most mundane home improvements.
“And you know, when I saw Colm buy the Makita 18V LXT Combi drill, I had my doubts. But now, coming back after a year, I am actually delighted to admit I was wrong. The shelf sits proudly on the wall. A bold statement of man’s triumph over gravity. You can see the craftsmanship here: the extra holes Colm drilled before settling on the final location for the shelf, the slight tilt in the level of the shelf itself, his ‘two fingers’ to convention. But it’s not just about the shelf. It’s what’s on it. This is the real genius of what Colm has achieved here. The audacity of the vision to put a plastic bag of batteries that should have been brought to Spar for recycling a week ago next to three hotel pencils … That is what sets this apart and makes it a truly Shur It’ll Be Grand Design.
And in a nod to I’m A Celebrity, I Must Ask My Agent Why I Agreed To Do This, we could have a programme that shows people facing challenges - but ordinary challenges.
It’s their toughest task yet. There’s no milk for the tea. It’s raining outside and they’ve left their shoes upstairs. How will our contestants cope? An hour has passed with both Colm and his wife detailing all their previous completed tasks as an excuse not to get off the sofa and go to the shop for the milk. The scores are in. Colm has lost. It’s time TO FACE THE RAIN.
You can leave the money on the stairs.
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