Saturday, 4 October 2014

Review: Gogglebox

Channel 4
UK
Original air date: 7 March 2013 
Director & Producer: Jon Cahn, Kayleigh Damen, Jon Hutchings 
Duration: 1 hour (with adverts), over 45 mins (without adverts) 
Extra notes: contains profanity 
Link: Watch Series Online - Gogglebox

Synopsis: Britain's favourite opinionated TV viewers share their sharp, insightful, passionate and sometimes emotional critiques of the week's biggest and best shows 

Channel 4's Gogglebox is an observational documentary featuring members of the British public watching and critiquing the week's television and news programmes. 

The show is produced by the makers of Faking It, Wife Swap, Undercover Boss and The Secret Millionaire. It is like a real-time, or be it real life version of a BBC dramedy, 'The Royle Family'. 

Coincidentally, the narrators of Gogglebox, Caroline Aherne and Craig both appeared on The Royle Family





One may assume the concept of watching people watch television wouldn't work - when you first think about it, the ideas you picture in your head looks out of place. It sounds silly - yet It is only when you sit down and watch one episode throughout you understand how it works, and of more significance why it works too. 

Gogglebox has become such a global TV phenomenon, not least because the concept has been exported and replicated to various countries including the US, which is renamed as 'The People's Couch'Its universal appeal is best summed up by boss Farah Ramzan Gorant, whose company All3media created the show; 

''Everyone loves watching TV and talking about TV. But the show isn't about TV. It's more to it. The show is about people's lives, their relationships, their living rooms and the way children and parents talk about TV.''

In the social media and technology age where the likes of Twitter have allowed people to converse and engage on television shows in real-time, Gogglebox gives us another avenue in which to do this but through seeing the eyes and expressions of the viewers who take part as well. We get to feel what they are feeling, resonate what they are sometimes saying and how what they are saying and feeling may reflect the types of people they are, character-wise. 

Gogglebox is the TV version of Twitter. 



above: ex-couple Stephen and Chris from Brighton

We can relate to these people, because they are doing what many of us do during the evening at home - which is watching television and talking about it. 

More to the point, on the show, the TV shows that are watched by Sandy and Sandra, Stephen and Chris, the Michaels, Stephanie and Dom, the Tappers to name is done through the traditional medium of the television. They are watching television on the TV set - not on the computer, phone. They are also the main ingredient to what makes Gogglebox the success that it is. These people are the real stars of the show. Not the stars of the shows they are watching, but the ordinary members of the public.

The researchers of the show seem to know what they are doing, because all of the families, couples, friends on Gogglebox are very interesting. They are not over-the-top, in-yer-face that one might expect them to be. There is not one single couple, set of friends or family that I personally dislike or loathe. Gogglebox works because of the people who are involved on-screen and of whom aren't so far up their backside, attitude-wise. Take that away, and the formula wouldn't work as well.

From cheeky Leon and posh couple Steph and Dom to the Michaels and no-talking Jay, the show has an assortment of characters that are all different and unique, individually in their own way.  

If the whole show had dis likable people, viewers would be turned off  immediately. Besides, nobody wants to watch groups of nasty and obnoxious characters and individuals on television, especially ones discussing about our favourite TV shows. 

But it is definitely a refreshing welcome to all the other types of TV programmes around at the moment, in addition to showcasing that people can talk about shows upfront and candidly, without feeling bad or embarrassed about it. 

It encapsulates the mood of the nation's TV viewing habits - it is funny, moving, enlightening, but also surreal and profound in moments without coming off as being contrived.  

As much as I'd love for Gogglebox to be on every night of the week, this would diminish the quality of the series slightly, and plus, it is good that it is on Friday evenings at 9pm (good time-slot as well, given the previous series has been on air during 10pm. Which is very late at night). 

Even The People's Chair, which is the American equivalent to Gogglebox, doesn't fare as well as its British counterpart. I saw it the other day, but whereas it is occasionally okay, it doesn't hold a candle to Gogglebox, whatsoever. 

Made in Britain, Gogglebox is arguably one of the best TV shows in the world. Yes I said world. Not just the UK, but globally it is so good. 

There is nothing quite like it on television, and may it stay that way and that Gogglebox remains as the only show of its type around. 


Overall rating out of 10: 

10


Posh couple Steph and Dom 


Brixton's Sandy and Sandra



June and Leon from Liverpool

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