Why? I hear you ask.
Well, it's just that it's, um, bad. The vast majority of what is broadcast is utter pap.
And yes, it's not as if we don't have bad TV in England, we really do, and I've wasted many an hour on it. I mean, I'm a person who voluntarily watched the Real Housewives, and liked it. It's just that when I watch Japanese TV, I expend so much energy trying to work out what they're saying that I can't help but feel somehow cheated when it turns out they weren't actually saying anything of any value whatsoever. Obviously, if it is a show with comedians dressed in "comedy" Lycra suits and/or some other "hilarious" costume, I don't even try to understand, even I can sense that that won't be intellectual debate.
Tonight, I decided to give Japanese TV just a little break and watch a variety show, there seriously wasn't anything else on. Variety shows in Japan are more like panel shows in the UK, a bunch of comedians commenting on stuff, only not funny. I settled on a program about dramatic weight loss.
These types of shows are really common, take an extremely large lady, put her on a diet and then weigh her on national TV. Obviously there are before and after pictures, the before ones taken in a bikini for maximum humiliation, the after ones taken in a gorgeous dress with professional hair and make up.
Now, I know we have this type of thing in magazines in England, and the before and after pictures do pretty much the same thing. God forbid we should allow a fat woman to wear a nice dress and make up, just in case the 5 stone she will lose doesn't show in the after pictures.
Tonight's show went a little further. They showed these poor women in the compulsory unflattering bikini, and then zoomed the camera in to make sure we all could see how fat she was. Some poor woman jiggling her thigh fat on TV is not really helping anyone. We then were treated to watching these women get lymph massages, watching the "talento" in the studio have a good laugh at how painful it was. Then, the women were shown walking in the pool, again with close ups of the jiggling bits, just in case we hadn't got the message that these were some fat women.
Of course, the show dealt with diet. Look! This fatty has never eaten yogurt! Egads! This chubber doesn't know how to cook tofu! Watch as this extremely large lady drinks lots of beers, eats fried chicken and, shock!, two days later eats a bowl of ramen! No mention of the diets these ladies followed to reach their weight goals, no advice, just a chance to gawp at the fat people.
They showed a mother in the park with her son, and made a huge deal out of the fact that she couldn't go through the tunnel made for children. Of course she couldn't, it was made for children! They went on and on about how she couldn't run in the park with her son. My Mum never ran in the park with us, and I'm not scarred. I'd have been more scarred if she had run in the park with us, to be honest.
In the end, they brought the women to the studio, got them dressed up and weighed them, while the "talento" gasped and made patronising high pitched squeals. They kept saying how the women had become beautiful, because, of course, you can't be big and beautiful. Big is bad, remember.
Now, all of these women looked fab, and they'd all done really well, they had every reason to be proud of themselves. But, if I had lost a stack of weight and some skinny "talento", who clearly needed a bite of my sandwich, squealed at me and asked if I thought I would keep it up, I would have used my new found agility and high kicked her in the face.
I don't know what the point of this program was, other than to make fat people look like freaks. They gave no advice to anyone watching who might be trying to lose weight without the "help" of a diet coach to show them pictures of when they were 15 and telling them that was their weight goal. There was no attempt to explain a healthy diet or how to avoid getting up to 100kg in the first place. Just a chance to pretend to be helping people while really making them look ridiculous.
I could go on to a rant about skinny being the only size in Japan, and "the one shape suits all" mentality of the shops, but I'll save that for another day, just to give me something to do when I need to avoid watching TV.