I have confessed it in the past. I say it again. I turn into a TV maniac at the first sign of a cable connection and a remote control. Last weekend was typical. Uncle and Aunty were sitting by me and trying to suppress yawns. Their beloved niece and houseguest, moi, sat transfixed by the Travel and Living channel. Finally giving up all hopes of having a conversation, they turned in for the night. A fly may or may not have wandered into my gaping mouth. I would not have known. I was only aware of clutching the TV remote and pressing it regularly like a monk turning rosary beads.
This shameless behaviour is probably because we don’t own a set top up box. After months of watching/not watching news, Tamil and other free-to-air channels, HBO and Star World make me react like a pop star about to fail rehab yet again.
The Singapore trip was no different. The TV in my hotel room was on non-stop. I got to watch reruns of Friends, Seinfeld, a Chinese serial and some Chinese pop music. Given that I was diversifying into other languages; it wasn’t really surprising that I managed to watch a reality show (marginally higher in the food chain than stuff you don’t understand). The show was called ‘Superheroes’. Participants had to do superheroic stuff like running across a field full of wild dogs. Wow. Did those chaps have an invisible wall around them or could they fly? It turned out, neither. They were stuffed into well padded costumes that made them look like giant potatoes with helmets. Then they kind of hopped across the field while brushing away the canines. The sort of stuff you don’t want to record to play back to your relatives when they visit home.
We all were kindly given a break by the TV. I managed to snap out of my reverie and do essential stuff like packing my bags. I came back just in time to watch the eliminations. All the participants had changed out of their potato clothes. Instead they were wearing super hero costumes, clearly designed by an eight year old high on reruns of Batman and Wonderwoman.
Was I the only person in the world who realized people in their 30s look like losers in such costumes?
Apparently the biggest challenge in the programme was not to laugh at yourself and your co-stars. A really tough thing to do. One of participants was actually eliminated when he cribbed about how the short skirt made him look like a gay Roman gladiator (Alright, he did not say it. He sure meant it). The next one immediately caught on. When asked to describe how her costume made her feel, she gushed ‘I feel powerful. I feel like I can change the world. I feel like a..like a..like a.. superhero’. Eloquent.
The show finally came to an end. The next week’s preview promised the introduction of a villain in a superb Bombay Dyeing bed sheet tied around his neck. I was not too disappointed at the thought of watching this twist in the tale.
Occasional venturing into the cable TV world reminds me of why we don’t subscribe to cable in the first place.