This new series of articles is inspired by the 2011 television programme created and presented by Charlie Brooker, and will educate every reader just how TV ruined their lives, “and don’t say it didn’t, because it did.”
Employment is one of the most vital elements of life; it’s what we base everything on. We go through education as a child to secure a stable job, we work tirelessly for decades, and once we are done, we retire.
Starting at the beginning of the employment process, we have the interview. Already a nerve-fuelled experience, it is only made worse by having to jump through hoops to help you reach your dreams. This is exactly the experience for contestants on talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, just wanting a better life for themselves, and that warm, fuzzy feeling of praise. How do some of these auditions end? With the contestant more often than not being laughed at or aggressively boo’ed off stage, leaving their dignity and self-confidence behind, all for our amusement. But it’s all a garden of roses for the contestants that do make it through, right? Nope; that’s just the first imaginary brass ring they must clutch onto. Once through, they must relive the whole process again but on a grander stage, leaving either with their head held high, or by being belittled to make up for the first time when the judges momentarily realised that human beings have feelings.
Once you’ve acquired your job, you slave tirelessly to earn a living, just to survive in this gruelling world. It’s no secret that television is used as a form of escapism, however what is there to escape to when you’re constantly reminded about how better off other people are than you? I’m obviously talking about anything that is churned out on the E! Network. For example, Keeping up with the Kardashians is based around a family that seem to have capitalised on the fact that their father was once the lawyer that managed to get O.J. Simpson off the hook for murder. But in all honesty, the Kardashians, for all their annoyances – of which there are a lot – are successful in their business ventures.
We are in an era where technology has never been finer and smartphones are a prime example of this. As I have already mentioned, television is a form of escapism, but now we must escape even further from that. This is when we turn our attention from the television screen to the smaller screens in our hands. You know the drill: phone on, open up Facebook, a bombardment of several videos, and maybe you’ll watch a few. This drill will only take about a minute of your life, and why? Because people are making a living – possibly even a better one than you – from making videos that last seven seconds long! You could complain that this seems a little unfair, but we let this happen. It’s our fault that we have somehow developed the attention span of a goldfish. Shame on us all.
Before I reach my conclusion with a discussion of retirement, I just want to delve into the reality of losing your job. It’s a downer to the whole part of employment but it happens, and when it happens on television we love it. For one, The Apprentice literally made its mark on television by having the catchphrase “You’re fired!”; a phrase that Alan Sugar’s American counterpart, Donald Trump, tried to copyright. I just want to reiterate that a man that could soon be the President of the United States once tried to copyright one of the most soul-crushing phrases in the English language. Like he wasn’t bad enough! Another example I would like to touch upon is the recent sacking of England football manager Roy Hodgson. When England came crashing out of the Euros to the smallest country in the competition, everyone’s feathers were understandably ruffled. Minutes later, Hodgson resigned from his post and the whole country started debating and searching for a new manager. This happens a lot in sport, particularly in the footballing world, but we must understand that a man just lost his job. As sad as this is, it’s a healthy reminder that even the people higher up aren’t safe, and while you’re at work you can always thank your lucky stars that Twitter won’t go into meltdown when your boss decides you’re actually just a bit useless.
On the bright side for Roy though, at his age he can start to enjoy retirement. A topic that has often been wrongly portrayed as bleak on television throughout the years, but recently, thanks to shows such as Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, it is a part of life I am actually looking forward to. If anything, life has been misrepresented on television due to fact that they make life seem more fun that it is. The sad reality is, we are born, we are educated, we work, we retire, we die. And that’s just if we’re lucky enough to live that long. Retirement is the only chance we have to truly enjoy the beauty around us and live life to the fullest, and for that realisation, I thank Grace and Frankie personally.
Now step away from your remote; it is the enemy.
Written by Ryan Keen