I’ve written before about some of modern television’s mad new techniques to stretch half an hour into an hour slot. Shows like Location Location do this a lot and I ranted about it here.
But there’s an even more annoying technique starting to appear over here. As ever this is a US invention, where if you’re lucky you may get 20 minutes’ content in an hour of TV.
This new method is already being used on the infuriatingly stupid Masterchef, but you can see it on plenty of US imports over here such as Supernanny USA.
What does this technique involve? It’s pretty simple. Every time anyone does or says anything in a programme, the director cuts to the same person1 talking to the camera in a studio explaining what you’ve just seen them say or do.
My wife is currently watching something called America’s Biggest Fat Bastard, or something like that. This takes this interview cramming technique to extremes. Every moment of every episode cuts away to a post-show interview where those involved explained what they’ve just seen them do.
It runs something like this:
We watch someone trying to use some gym equipment, they are very tired and wish to give up. “I can’t go on”, they say.
We cut to the interview, that person tells the camera, “I was so tired. I really didn’t think I could go on. I told the trainer that I couldn’t go on.”
We cut back to earlier events on the treadmill. The trainer offers encouragement. “You can do it,” they say. “Just try harder, think of your family.”
We now cut away to an interview with the trainer. “They wanted to give up,” the trainer says. “But I told them to think of their family, and to try harder.”
And this maddening shit goes on for an hour. More and more TV shows are using this technique. Masterchef is only the start, soon all the shows like Location Location will be doing this too.
Kirsty: So Trev & Bev, what do you think of this house?
Bev: I’m not sure I like it, it’s a bit small.
Cut to Bev Interview: So we went in the house, Kirsty asked me what I thought. I said I thought it was a bit small.
Cut to Kirsty Interview: Bev & Trev looked in the house, Bev Said she thought it was a bit small.
Pretty soon some show will combine the “coming up after the break/before the break we saw/later in the show” montages with the stupid post-show interviews and they’ll manage to stretch five minutes of TV into an hour.
I predict Channel Four will be first. They’ll use it first on a “new” episode of Location Location where Kirsty and Phil visit two couples that they re-visited two years ago.
And I may sell my TV.
1Now tarted up, beautifully lit, sat in a studio looking marginally less like a bog troll.