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March 10, 2015

Republic of Bad Telly

As the evenings are still too dark and the weather warnings too prevalent, most of our weekends are still spent cooped up inside watching television. At least, mine are. Are people actually going out?! I flicked onto The Voice UK the other night, and was glued to it for the next hour. The judges were animated and charming (even will.i.am), and the sing-offs had me applauding quietly to myself.

And then we have The Voice of Ireland.

The newest additions of Rachel Stevens and Una Foden have been aesthetically pleasing but the lack of personality behind their pretty faces makes for mediocre viewing. Offering such advice gems as “You’re great now, you just need to keep at it!” and uninspiring coaching strategies, their sole aim is to turn their protégés into a mini-me. With her army of ‘readymade little pop stars’, it seems that Una is actually morphing into Louis Walsh. With added collagen. The whole atmosphere is stiff and uncomfortable, with every participant resembling a child forced to act in a school play. When Kathryn Thomas started fist pumping and trying to elicit an unwanted hug from every contestant, I knew I had to switch over. But I couldn’t; the cringe factor is almost as compelling as actual talent.

This is a recurring theme, as our tiny nation attempts to compete with the United Kingdom. Try as we might, I can’t imagine millions of viewers tuning in to a live episode of Fair City, resulting in a Twitter meltdown over #WhoKilledLeo. With limited population numbers and resources, we are inevitably going to struggle to produce programming of equal entertainment value to our neighbours, but we need to focus on what makes us unique rather than trying to emulate others.

Despite being the self-proclaimed nation of mighty craic, Ireland produces the most awkward of audiences. A few weeks ago, The Late Late Show attendees were deemed wildly out of control because they exhibited more than a few coughs and begrudging claps. Meanwhile, across the pond, Graham Norton continues to entertain the masses on a global scale. Why have we exported all of our potential success stories? From Father Ted to Moone Boy, our comedic greats have felt the need to latch on to a larger station. What are we left with? Yet another one man show depicting every Irish political figure from the past twenty years. Sure isn’t he only HILARIOUS.

RTÉ have been riding high on the coattails of previous successes for far too long. The bar has been set, and we should encourage future high standards without being reminded: Hey guys, remember Love/Hate?? That was us! Now shut up and watch Nationwide, Mary Kennedy has a lovely Newbridge chain to show you all.