To say that TV is a world of cliches is probably in itself a cliche.
Cliches abound in drama, amongst them are:
Cat owners are weird but dog owners are normal upstanding people.
Football fans are either thugs or the complete opposite; a normal down-to-earth bunch and salt of the earth.
On the other hand, Scl-Fi fans are complete weirdos and anoraks. Which I will admit some are, but most are normal everyday people and in times of trouble the best people you could meet.
And I don’t understand how liking something that is designed to entertain can be sad. In fact why is anything that anyone enjoys that is not considered to be normal (i.e. sport) wrong? As long as nobody is hurting anyone, then let them do what they want.
Another cliche that abounds in TV is that all gay man are camp. Is it the shadow of Mr Humphries that looms large over gay characters? It will be interesting to see how the character is portrayed in the new version of ‘Are You Being Served?’. Will he be as overtly camp or will it be downplayed a bit?
In the 70’s cliches abound; a couple of years ago we watched ‘Dawsons Weekly’, a series of comedies starring Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough amongst others. Each week, Roy Barraclough played a camp character, who was treated with horror by Les Dawson’s character, the implication being that Roy Barraclough would like to have his wicked way with Les in the Post Office, Les in a hospital or even Les up in an aeroplane… Now, this was to our eyes completely unacceptable and soured the enjoyment of the series for us.
That and the fact that the writing wasn’t very good; surprising really as it was written by Galton and Simpson.
But I suppose at the time it would have been seen as completely normal and matter of fact. As is the use of the words “queer”, “poof” and “pansy”. Oh, and of course the abuse hurled at the characters in ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ features many of these insults – the other big thing about this series was the casual use of blacking up. Something which precludes it from being repeated on BBC 2 as ‘Dad’s Army’ is.
Another kind of cliche is shown in many war dramas; the young officer who has just joined the regiment etc. I found this recently in ‘Danger UXB’ – a character was introduced in Episode 2 and promptly killed off in the next episode. He was young, newly engaged and very much in love. So therefore might just as well had a big sign over his head flashing DOOMED!!!
Another well worn cliche is that of the stupid comedy policeman, a example of this is Inspector Mackenzie from ‘Raffles’ he is portrayed as completely dense and even misses seeing the character of Bunny who is standing in plain sight. Or perhaps he suffers from the common ‘Doctor Who’ monster complaint of lack of peripheral vision. Something I also lack.
But in real life there is no way that anyone that is consistently that stupid would either keep their job or get to that level in the first place.
In a way, it’s fun to look out for these characters and to see if they exceed your expectations; very many times they don’t and the inevitable happens.
These days a lot of cliches are overused, it would be nice if sometimes dramas could be cliche free, but then I suppose that wouldn’t be fun.
I guess that’s all I have to say for now.
Until next time.
Well, you can’t expect perfection, you know. Not even from me.