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Tuesday, December 13, 2005


The joke may be on us

Space Cadets just might be a proper hoax after all.

As the wits on the dispersed group of friends that make up the Tendolla e-mail list have observed:

“Surely Space Cadets is all faked… and the joke is on the audience.” (W)

“Aside from obvious logistical points (is anybody that gullible? etc), I have noticed that one of the "cadets" not initially described as an actor is in fact consistently appearing in the blood donor adverts which segment the show as an aide to Gordon Ramsay's existence. // Also, as stupid as people are from the South West, the guy who is currently "in space" is using his West Country accent a little too effectively for this purpose I feel.” (S)

This analysis would put a different spin on the quote I stole from Nick at The Sharpener and placed in the comments box of my first post on Space Cadets:

It’s the sort of Rabblemock HaHa Time programme that TV Go Home used to create before it metamorphosised into Zeppotron TV…who are the producers of Space Cadets. Satire just ate itself, and we’re left to watch the detritus as a horde of executives pat themselves on the back at finding people even more stupid and self-obsessed than themselves and trying to persuade them that they’re going to go into space.

Charlie Brooker, of TV Go Home, Screen Burn and Nathan Barley, is on the Zeppotron TV board. Far from satire eating itself, the joke may well be on us. In which case Space Cadets is a hoax, a tremendous spoofing of our gullibility and acceptance of ‘reality’ TV. Well, your gullibility anyway, as I am not watching it.

Just as a postscript, though I ought to share the further thoughts of Tendolla:

“I think it would be best if the actor guy was the one who was being fooled, and in fact they really are going into space. // "I want two hundred grand not to blow the whole thing," he quietlyjoked to the cameras. // "Well, f*** you, we're leaving you in space," would be a witty retort.” (W)

“Especially funny would be the bit where he leaps out of the airlock thinking he is off to the ‘green room’ only to find himself in the cold vacuum of outer orbit. // har har har.” (P)

I saw an episode of this, or at least part of one, the other day and was struck by similar thoughts, although I put them down to a kind of lazy, second rate paranoia. Hmmm, if it is the case that the hoax is on the audience then it becomes reasonably interesting, rather than just vomit inducing. Surely everyone knows that ‘reality TV’ is an oxymoron anyway? ‘Real’ life has very little narrative structure, just look at when they show the live-stream from the BB house, nothing whatsoever happens. It’s like an art installation in the Tate Modern, only mildly less pretentious. They should abandon the edited highlights and the entire celebrity-making machine element and just show people scratching their arses. But the medium of TV still generates its own realities. And wasn’t I round your house when I saw Space Cadets anyway Andrew? So you have seen it at least once.
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