herald

Saturday 17 November 2018

Very little of substance in this rude, crude attempt to outrage

'THE only word we can't say," explained Chris Greene on Tuesday night's Bottom of the Barrel, "is the word that rhymes with James Blunt."

And although neither Greene nor co-host Ciara King ever said this unsayable word (you know the one), the show still featured a liberal sprinkling of juicy words not often heard on RTE radio.

Words like f**k. And s**t. And even motherf****r.

I won't lie. I did, very briefly, get a giddy and puerile little thrill from all of this unexpected cussing, but the novelty soon wore, well, a bit f**king thin.

When Dan Healy – 2fm's new-ish station head – first announced that Greene and King's Bottom of the Barrel was to be 2fm's newest late-night show, he spoke of "driving content right to the edge" and of "pushing boundaries".

All well and good. If any station was urgently in need of edgy and boundary- pushing content, it was, surely, 2fm.

So, exactly how boundary-pushing has Bottom of the Barrel been thus far?

HATE

Well, if you define boundary-pushing as "a steady stream of boob, knob and masturbation jokes", the show has been pushing boundaries to bate the band.

On Monday evening, for example, a listener texted in to suggest that "Ciara's baps should have their own show".

"I hate the word 'baps'," sighed King. "Jabs? Melons?" offered Greene, by way of alternatives.

"You know how I hate this issue," King replied, "so don't push me on it."

But push her on it Greene did, before banging on about the size of his penis and telling an . . . over-excited listener that the show was not "w**king supplemental material".

Much like Breakfast Republic, Bottom of the Barrel is clearly keen to sell itself as a rude, rambling and anarchic alternative to the polished and 'professional' offerings found on other parts of the dial.

And although the show's intro – "Chris and Ciara: a waste of taxpayers' money" – hints at the kind of (boundary-pushing) playfulness and irreverence that Irish radio sorely needs far more of, there's little of substance here beyond a forced and laboured 'outrageousness'.

Debit points, too, for a drearily predictable gender dynamic.

Greene was free to be the wacky and provocative male, while King was frequently relegated to the role of a 'responsible', tut-tutting and disapproving ("You can't say that") female sidekick.

MACHO

Elsewhere, there was, as you'd expect, much gushing talk of rugger triumph following the weekend's events in Paris.

Well, Vincent Browne wasn't focusing on the triumph so much as defending his views on how rugby's celebration (and propagation) of "macho man" culture had, as he put it, "led to dysfunctionality".

"It has led to bad treatment of women. Bad treatment of other men, particularly gay men," said Browne to an indignant George during a feisty and entertaining encounter on Wednesday's The Right Hook.

Over on Sunday's Marian Finucane show, the tone was (surprise, surprise) significantly more celebratory.

Tom McGurk breathlessly described Ireland's defeat of France as "absolutely life-changing for people's lives".

Eddie O'Sullivan suggested that rugby players were marked by unique levels of "honesty" and "endeavour".

As off-putting and obnoxious as rugby's "macho man" culture can be, it's this frequently articulated righteousness and sense of moral/physical superiority that galls us rugger-sceptics even more.

"There's just a certain code that we would have in rugby that other sports don't have," referee Alain Rolland told Finucance.

Meanwhile, lovers of other-shaped balls – and lovers of less pretentious and exceptionalist sports – were reaching for the nearest sickbag.

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