Couch Potato

When he's supposed to be doing other things, chances are you'll find Mike Kilpatrick watching television instead. He styles himself on comedy hero Jim Royle, loves a laugh, enjoys a cry and if it's on the box he will share his opinion on it too. Whether you want it or not

Bogans is loud, proud and unsurprising

09:45am 31 Jul 2015

The long, unkempt hair. The black jeans and boots. The faded heavy metal t-shirt under a leather biking jacket. And the attitude.

While that could well have been a scene from TV2's new show Bogans I'm actually describing me back in 1994, when I probably could have attracted that tag had I been living in New Zealand.

So I went into last night's new reality show having an idea of what a bogan was, even if I thought my days of potentially being one were behind me. And afterwards? I couldn't have felt further from being one, even if my love of heavy metal and black jeans persists to this day.

The programme follows a small group of Hamiltonians, including 'Doctor of boganology' Dave Snell, who famously wrote a thesis on bogans and heavy metal for his PhD and a 2013 book entitled Bogan: An Insider's Guide to Metal, Mullets and Mayhem.

The 10-part series offers an insight into the world of bogans - the social structures, the events where they congregate and the people themselves. And it's impossible not to come out with better knowledge of that particular counter-culture.

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I Am Cait a timely reminder of privilege

09:00am 29 Jul 2015

It's so very easy for those of us who are generally the most privileged in society - white men - to look down from our ivory towers and make proclamations about there being no problem with the representations of women or other ethnicities in society.

Unfortunately many (most?) of us are simply too blind to see that our behaviour not only perpetuates the discrimination, it condones it. We occasionally offer a helping hand when it's seen as beneficial to do so, while stamping on heads to keep them down when no-one is looking.

And so it is with former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy who this week called himself a feminist, but then insisted that the Doctor could only be a man:

"I'm a feminist and recognise there are still glass ceilings in place for many women, but where would we draw the line? A Mr Marple instead of Miss Marple? A Tarzanette?

"I'm sorry, but no – Doctor Who is a male character, just like James Bond. If they changed it to be politically correct then it would ruin the dynamics between the doctor and the assistant, which is a popular part of the show."

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Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home shines bright

11:30am 24 Jul 2015

If television is a way to garner some joy and focus on something other than the drudgery of everyday life it also has a way of making you feel inadequate.

Whether it's stars with perfectly coiffed hair, straight white teeth and a bank balance to rival some countries or a talent for acting and singing, it can be something of a reality check.

In my case I'd already given up any hopes of having any money or holding a tune so it's slightly more fundamental than that. I've discovered that I hate Kevin McCloud. Well, maybe hate's too strong a word. I dislike him for making seemingly impossible things look easy. I admire him. Okay, I may have something of a man crush on him. Damn it, he's awesome.

I've watched Grand Designs for a number of years. Part of it is pure voyeurism - watching people create houses that I could never even imagine is always interesting and he always has an educated and influential view on proceedings. His enthusiasm always shows through and he makes presenting seem absolutely effortless.

But even I was unconvinced by the need for a second season of Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home, now airing on TV3. In the first season he created a shed in a field using only recycled or locally available materials. It was liveable in even if not up to the standards of many Grand Designs.

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Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll... &rage&Grohl

11:30am 22 Jul 2015

I think it's hard to overestimate just what a cultural impact the internet has had on so many lives. From opening up communication channels to democratising our media choices in a little under 20 years we've gone from a useful, but slow, tool to a near human right.

But that has also brought on some behaviour that is far from ideal. I'm certain we could debate what piracy has done to the entertainment industry for hours and come to no conclusion, as we could the fractuous and annoying roll out of fibre networks around the country which would undoubtedly aid the ability for technology companies to spread around New Zealand. More worryingly I've also seen the amount of anger rise exponentially.

If someone isn't outraged by something someone else has said on Twitter then it's not a day ending in Y. If there aren't a handful of comments on my blog telling me how useless/badly dressed/ugly/wrong I am then no-one has actually read the piece. There's one type of anger, however, that I didn't see coming. That, so far, it is only detrimental to the person who is angry is something for us to be thankful about.

I am, of course, referring to streaming rage, the moment that little circle appears on the middle of the screen and you're forced to wait. It could be a millisecond, it could be a couple of minutes - but anything that takes us from being engaged with content back to reality raises the hackles.

Mild-mannered, contented Netflix watchers turn into annoyed and alert anger aliens in less time that it takes for Mike Hosking to say something stupid - and it's not an isolated incident. I've seen it in children and adults, from arses whom I'd rather not be spending time with to those who are otherwise sane and lovely. The red mist descends and there's an outburst, usually a word or two thrown at an inanimate object who isn't able to respond. The heart beats a bit faster, maybe the blood pressure rises - and the only thing that's going to bring normality back is that bloody circle disappearing and the show starting again. 

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Not Safe For Work buries misery of Emmy nominations

11:00am 17 Jul 2015

There are times when it's difficult to come up with things to write about twice a week, particularly when we go through a trough of bad programmes and nothing new is on the box.

Usually a flash of wit, a heartbeat skipped, a random episode or fond memory will spark something deep in my unconscious mind and I'll go from there.

I was expecting that prompt for this blog to come from the Emmy Award nominations that came out overnight, but it wasn't so much inspiration as near insipid.

Game of Thrones, the show that continues to use rape as a plot contrivance, heads up the list with 24 nominations and is sure to take home a bag full - and that's pretty much as good(!) as the drama categories get. Jeff Daniels as lead actor in a drama series for The Newsroom? Please. I've seen more nuance in Twitter posts than in his performance.

Just about the only excitement for me is the potential for Tatiana Maslany to finally be recognised for her amazing performances in Orphan Black. It's almost beyond belief that she had to wait until now for her first nomination. That, of course, and the recognition that after nearly a decade of playing an annoying, one-note character that Jim Parsons isn't the best comedy actor for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory.

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