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Inmates and Asylums and C4: Oh My

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

Who watches C4?
Who has developed the irrational reaction of hives, channel switching, or staring stunned at your television after watching for too long?
I am of course referring to the fact that not too long ago, we had certain expectations from our main channels.
One is the distinguished elderly gentleman, rather educated but sticking carefully to the middle of the road, opinion wise.
Two is the teenaged sister, sometimes know-it-all and over ambitious, sometimes regressing back into childhood with aggravating reality shows three percent of the population watch and then talk about endlessly to the other 97 percent.
Three is the high class business woman, delivering high quality work most of the time, but clearly getting drunk on her breaks on occasion, leading to baffling programming decisions and inexplicable changes to shows with no explanation.
C4, bless it, used to have the shiny new puppy glow- eager to please and willing to show it could provide quality music and entertainment and swim with the bigger fish in the pond. (Yes, the metaphor was mixed. Let it go.)
Now, they have become the annoying frat boy type.
You know, the one that crashes parties, gets pissed, tries to sleep with anything remotely female, insults the host and then collapses half naked on the lawn while everyone loudly denies knowing them.
C4, what has happened to you? You’ve become That Guy.
(No, not the sells-ham-in-Italy one. The other That Guy.)
 Now, I do realise it is far easier to shut up, change the channel and watch Private Practice than it is to sit bemoaning the state of C4, but a) I ran out of other things to bemoan this week, and b) I used to really like C4; I’m having trouble letting go.
Not that there aren’t a lot of things still to like about C4.
The Daily Show, if it doesn’t get stolen by Sky at the end of its current run on C4 as part of Sky’s Comedy Central package. This is a funny, intelligent spin on the news…and Jon Stewart is hot.
There’s Watch This Space, and Homegrown, both informed and entertaining shows about up and coming artists and new and established kiwi talent.
You have Drew Neemia, whose changing facial hair has quite frankly been more fascinating than the show he hosts, Select Live, but his recent addition to the show was a good choice- more Disney than Dickhead, which has been a nice change.
You have 30 Rock, The Office, Family Guy, actual critically acclaimed shows, which is more than you can say for most of the others.
You have Insomnia, catering for those with…well, duh.
C4 regularly has themed movie months. Mostly “boy movies”, but that’s okay. I can do action movies with the best of ‘em.
Rocked the Nation 2: 100 NZ Pop Culture Stories; something interesting, locally made, and admittedly hosted by One Strange Dude, but at least Rhys Darby is Actually Funny.
Hence, my problem.
C4, your inmates are running the asylum. You can’t go an ad break with seeing Jono, Little Jimmy, Dai Henwood, and the other scruffy larrikins that collectively run the shows prancing around.
Yes. I said it. Prance.
 “Little Jimmy” by the Red Sea Boys featuring Jimmy the Dwarf has been running almost non-stop and I still have no idea why, other than an excuse for most of C4’s regulars to watch some bored-looking blonde chicks gyrate. And, oh yeah, “it crck me up evry tme I c it it so cool,” according to one fan at C4’s website.
I know everyone loves it.
Who doesn’t love a dwarf/ midget/ little man in a suit, some catchy dancy music, and random guys making ‘g’ gestures in the background?
From what I understand from the lyrics, the story goes that Little Jimmy went to school and teachers thought he was naughty. Now he gets his “jimmy” sucked by bitches and hoes. Little Jimmy also has a big penis and is going to come to my party and rub it on the wall.
Not surprisingly, the female delegation of C4 are almost nowhere to be seen nowadays; Jo, Shavaughn, Jacquie, The British One, all seem to have left the building for the most part, and who can blame them- must be a fun working day with the cast from Jackass running the halls.
Then you have the problem children. I Love NY, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, Rock of Love, Flavour of Love.
I’m all for mindless entertainment, but can we please have some mindless entertainment featuring celebrities I’ve actually heard of? If I’m going to lower my IQ, I want to do it right, thank you.
I don’t know. This collective, collaborative idiocy might be the theme for C4 now, clearly I’m over-analysing a lot of this, and surely there must be a space created for social commentators of the sometimes-brilliant, mostly-annoying kind.
There must be a home for the just-rolled-out-of-bed look; there must be role models for those guys and girls out there that Just Want To Have Fun.
I get it. I really do.
But sometimes, very quietly, in the Disgruntled Box in the back of my mind, I’m wishing C4 would just grow up.


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