I’m not sure whether hell exists. But if it does, I know exactly what Satan and his dark minions make you do: watch daytime television.
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that “hell is other people”. But if he’d wanted to be specific, he would surely have named the two nobodies who front Ten’s dull-as-dishwater new morning show, 9am.
When I was a kid, I used to think that bad daytime TV was punishment for chucking a sickie and staying at home. I’m only watching it today because I’m doing my reluctant civic duty, having so far failed to talk my way out of the latest in a series of jury summons. And apparently what the State of NSW requires me to do in order to fulfil my essential role in the criminal justice system is to suffer through Channel Ten’s excruciating replacement for Bert.
So in other words, even though I’m not the one on trial, I’m still being punished.
I’ve never seen these two hosts before, and if you’re curious, now’s the time to check them out – there’s no way they’ll last. Their banter’s forced and awkward – I haven’t seen chemistry this poor since Gigli. It’s remarkable in hindsight how much Bert added to the programme – taking the piss out of the tacky infomercials and using his charm to wallpaper over the rot in the format. Well, it’s painfully visible now.
(Note – subsequent research has shown that the hosts are David Reyne and Kim Watkins. Ten’s website informs me that “9AM with David & Kim is “all about you””. Hell no. I want no part in this televisual train wreck.)
Unfortunately the show was so boring that even though it was blaring out at high volume in the airport-lounge where prospective jurors hang out, I can’t remember much about it. They briefly discussed the alleged nursing home rape of a 98-year-old woman, agreeing that it was “awful, just awful”. They had some diver on for a tiresome preview of the Commonwealth Games, and rudely talked about how much better another up-and-coming diver who beat her was. And there was the usual crappy Moira-style cross-promotion.
But if you want a snapshot of just how depressing the show truly is, all you need to do is look at the ads. They were cheap as – one gem amongst the usual low-rent ads for crappy metal shutters and carpet cleaning services was for ‘Cartridge World’, and featured the kindly proprietor in a duet with a singing toner cartridge. Another ad begged people to come and be in the studio audience for Ready, Steady, Cook. Presumably even bored-out-of-their-minds daytime audiences Ready, Steady, Refuse.
Best of all was a company called Amazing Loans, which seemed to have an ad in every single break. (Watch it to appreciate its true crappiness here!) They provide short term loans of up to $4000 to the desperate – Centrelink ‘customers’ and pensioners welcome, they say. Just call 1300 AMAZED! I suspect the most amazing thing about is actually the interest rate.
They were engaged when I rang up to check what it was. Of course they were.
I eventually realised that the likes of 9am is perfect to screen for prospective jurors. It makes the idea of spending days on end listenign to tedious legal argument seem a fascinating prospect by comparison. Anything to avoid Kim and David’s stumbling awkwardness.
Fortunately, the trial I was down for got rescheduled, and I was released shortly after the show finished at 11. Which was a blissful relief, because there seemed to be a clear and present danger posed by an upcoming Iain Hewitson show.
If I’m ever called up again, I am going to bring a book and headphones to block the TV out completely. There are many things I’m willing to do in the name of civic duty. But please, NSW justice system, don’t make me suffer through 9am with David and Kim again.