Just how did this get on TV?

GORDON BROWN
Last updated 09:57 22/09/2012
TDN RIDGE STAND
Mother and daughter socialites Sally and Jaime Ridge

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Television, like everything in this world, has gradually changed with the advent of new technology.

In recent years we've gone to digital transmission and the advent of satellites means we can watch events from around the world as they happen.

Sky TV, despite its excessive costs, gives us so many choices we and the world have become a smaller place.

But until last week, who would have actually realised that the technology and advancements of more than half a century had actually peaked and we were now on the downslide. We may or may not have reached peak oil, but peak telly clearly has been reached and sociologists and anthropologists of the future will no doubt identify The Ridges (TV3, Tuesdays 7.30pm) as proof of the decline.

I suppose we have the junk American TV series Keeping up with the Kardashians to thank. That was a "reality" series about a family who are famous for being famous and it was only a matter of time before New Zealand came up with its own trashy series about a similarly superficial family.

We succeeded, as few dared to even dream was possible. If the Ridge ladies had been Muslim, the world would now be ablaze in protest at the denigration of their faith. After watching the first two episodes we can now attempt to digest the inedible spectre of two very silly women.

The opening scene on episode one gave us a clue.

Sally (the mother) and Jamie (the 18-year-old daughter) were looking over previous magazine covers and articles featuring themselves.

'Oh my God! Look at you" shrieked Jamie.

'No, look at yoooou!!" shrieked back Sally, pointing at a baby photo of Jamie.

'Oh no. I look like a donut, oh my God!" Cue Jamie and Sally both shrieking long and loud, punctuated by giggling and Oh my Gods. Obviously they really are deeply religious, if not Muslim.

There was another quick outbreak of hysteria, not mass, they aren't Catholic either, this was restricted just to our two stars. They are looking at a photo of the two of them together, on a magazine cover.

'We look like a lesbian couple," shrieks Jamie. 'And you are the man," she adds, amid more shrieking, giggling and Oh My Gods.

However, just in case we are going to prematurely write the giggling girls off as skin deep and superficial, we are quickly shown the deeper side of their personalities.

First it is Sally the Mother, who tells us how misjudged they are. "I've had a fair bit of unnecessary garbage from the media of late about my relationship with Jamie, but they don't understand we are very close - as I am with my three other children."

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She also points out that they are not in the series, it's all about her and Jamie, lest she be rubbished for taking advantage of them, she explains. Since that was filmed, but before it was shown, her ex and father of the younger children, Adam Parore, told a national newspaper he took out a court order to prevent them being in the series. Maybe it was a bit of both.

Then it's time for serious Jamie, the Daughter. She may be 18, but she is at university doing a law degree. She's also a caring girl.

'It's really sad that I haven't met my little brother London, but because I haven't met him it's not as sad as it could be. I love kids, but it's just life. It is what it is, that's my motto."

Listening to that heart-rending monologue, I couldn't help but think of Rosie Webster on Coronation Street. I used to think she was a bit over the top in her plastic life, but find she is really a caricature of Jamie Ridge.

Don't get me wrong; there were likeable parts to both episodes. Mrs Brown thought so too, and on both occasions nominated "the ending" as the highlight.

Somehow, watching Sally the Mother pull up at the lights alongside Jamie the Daughter and yell out 'you look so cute in that mini [car not skirt] " was weird. And you just had to ask, how on Earth did this get on the telly?

Finally, it was a great idea to present Valerie Adams with her long-awaited gold medal on Wednesday night in New Zealand. Both TV One and TV3 covered it live in full in their 7pm timeslots and both did an excellent job. Val has gone from brooding Olympic champ to being a thoroughly likeable, dignified Queen of the Olympics who spoke brilliantly. TV3 viewers must have wondered whether it was host John Campbell who actually won the medal though; it seemed to be more about him than Val.

- Taranaki Daily News

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