Because I have no life, I took a look at the latest addition to the New Zealand television universe - The Shopping Channel.
When I tuned in, late on a Saturday night, Fiona McDonald was pushing a Kenworth food mixer (I think that's what it was). Fiona was talking at a machine gun rate, trying to convince her viewers that life was empty and desolate without a Kenworth food mixer.
I like bad TV and the most amusing bit was when Fiona couldn't get one of the blades off. After a bit of a losing struggle I think someone in the control booth told her to move on to something else. She moved on.
Next up was an 'exciting' food grater. Fiona seemed keen to play up her mother credentials and reminded us on several occasions that she had two young children. You can make healthy salads for the children with a food grater from The Shopping channel - a snip at only $139.99. I thought this was rather expensive.
Fiona decided it would be good idea to put a red pepper through the food grater. I thought she was asking for trouble but it made for another piece of slightly amusing television. The grater machine turned the red pepper to pulp. Fiona talked about making a soup.
Ha Ha. Poor Fiona.
I feel a bit guilty about taking the mickey out of Fiona because I remember her from another time.
Fiona McDonald used to be the lead singer of the Headless Chickens back in the 1980s. She also contributed her not inconsiderable vocal skills to several songs by the techno-pop outfit, the Strawpeople. And she did some solo stuff as well.
But I guess there must be more money in food mixers than pop music and I can only assume that Fiona is doing her latest gig within large ironic quotation marks. Surely she can't believe any of the bullshit she's spewing?
I've seen a few American shopping channels in my time and The Shopping Channel doesn't add anything new to the 'genre'. Its tacky and plastic albeit without the big budgets and the big studios of the American shopping channels.
The Shopping Channel is actually a Canadian company which began broadcasting in Canada in 1987. It is a subsidiary of Rogers Media which reported Cdn $1.5 billion in revenues in 2010. It publishes magazines and owns a myriad of Canadian radio and television channels. It also owns the Toronto Blue Jays, a professional Canadian baseball team.
In the same year that New Zealand loses TVNZ7, its last outpost of public broadcasting, we are given a shopping channel owned by yet another overseas-owned media conglomerate. We didn't ask for it but 'the market' decided that we needed it.
The Shopping Channel peddles products made mostly in China by cheap labour to a country where a quarter of its children are living in poverty. Yes, New Zealand really needs The Shopping Channel....like a hole in the head.