Sunday 17 December 2017

Not enough Transformation?

Operation transformation (RTE1) beware ireland (tv3) american guns (discovery)

"YOU'RE one of the most brave people I've ever met," an over-excited Kathryn Thomas told Aidan, one of the weight-loss leaders in Operation Transformation. Which begs the question: just how many brave people has the ubiquitous presenter actually met?

I don't seem to recall Kathryn encountering any war heroes or rescue workers as the intrepid traveller of No Frontiers or the co-host of Winning Streak and The Voice of Ireland. Then again, exaggeration was the stock-in-trade of the final edition of Operation Transformation.

To be fair to Aidan, he'd done well, losing a total of 2st 13.5lbs during the series. The other male leader, Cillian, who had been on the brink of type 2 diabetes, had done even better, shedding an impressive 3st 4.5lbs from his original 19st 4.5lbs frame.

The losses achieved by the leaders, Grace, Kayleigh and Natalie, on the other hand, were more modest, ranging from one 1st 6lbs to 1st 12.5lbs. Yet this didn't prevent fitness guru Karl Henry from labelling Grace, who'd quit smoking, a poster girl for others trying to kick the habit.

While it was nice, I'm sure, for the families and friends of the OT leaders to see them strutting down the studio catwalk in their new, better-fitting clobber, the final figures seemed a comparatively small return for eight weeks of blood, sweat and tears (well, sweat and tears anyway), not to mention having Dr Eva Orsmond squawking in your ear like a demented parrot. A triumph of hype over body matter.

Exaggeration was also at the forefront of Beware Ireland (shouldn't there be a comma in there?), TV3's latest hysterical attempt to convince us that thieves, thugs and con artists are lurking behind every bush and around every corner, just waiting to relieve us of our cash and possessions.

This first episode was subtitled 'Car Scams and Dodgy Dealers'. "There is a constant threat out there," warned Jim McCabe, striking the hard-boiled film-noir pose that seems mandatory for TV3 reporters fronting this kind of programme. "If you're naive, you could find yourself being ripped off."

Yes indeed. Of course, being an inveterate idiot, which seems to be Beware Ireland's target viewer, helps too.

According to McCabe, the four main threats facing the unsuspecting car buyer/owner are: 1) nicked cars with fake plates; 2) clocking -- the process of rolling back the mileage clock; 3) laundered diesel, and 4) good old reliable car theft.

The way to avoid being stung by Nos. 1, 2 and 3 would seem straightforward: stick to reputable car dealers and service stations. As for No. 4, it's even more of a no-brainer. Since modern cars are impossible to start without the key, the obvious solution is not to leave your car keys lying around the house for a burglar to break in and nick.

But in the murky world of TV3 crime docs, where down mean streets walks a man who is desperately in need of something to fill an hour, nothing is ever that simple.

Next week, our intrepid TV3 gumshoe investigates common sense and the bleeding obvious.

Just room for a brief mention of American Guns, which pioneers a whole new television genre: armament porn. This bonkers new reality show focuses on Colorado's Wyatt family -- dad Rich, mom Renee, son Kurt and daughter Paige, who sashays around in tiny shorts while wielding very large rifles.

The Wyatts run gun outlet Gunsmoke, where they buy, sell, manufacture and repair weapons of all shapes, sizes and firepower, as well as coaching trigger-happy citizens in how to use them.

American Guns doesn't get bogged down in the serious issues of gun ownership and obsession, being too busy with endless slow-motion shots of the Wyatts and their patrons shooting cans, water-balloons, jars of liquid and even motorbikes to pieces. It has to be seen to be believed.

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