I'm still exhausted, so here are some suggestions for television programmes that they could show over here, if somebody had an ounce of imagination, that might perk me up a bit.
DONKEYS DO THE DARNDEST THINGS
Everybody – everybody here, at least - agrees that there’s nothing funnier than a kitten on a skateboard, a dog chasing its own tail or a hamster trying to escape from a pan of frying chips. (Why they use canned laughter on these programmes I do not know – it’s always drowned out by hysterical real laughter in every household I’ve been in.) But the potential entertainment value of the donkey has not been explored to its full potential. There are many of these lovely animals here but they’re made to perform manual tasks like pulling carts of hay. I’m convinced they have a more artistic temperament and are just dieing to get on the stage, maybe simply to waggle their ears in time to The Birdy Song or to do a Graham Norton impersonation. Or they could be asked questions: stamp a hoof so many times for the number of sides on a pentagon, wonders of the ancient world, horsemen of the apocalypse, etc. It’s TV Gold.
SAME OLD, SAME OLD
Until the presenter got pregnant the most popular programme in Romania was Surpriză, Surpriză!. Yes, the same one we used to have in UK with the lovely Cilla Black. It used to go on for about 7 hours every Saturday evening, and in a country where people get by with so very few dreams it made most of those dreams come true. But more realistic – and more modern, considering the “reality television” phenomenon - would be a programme with absolutely no surprises at all. Bloke wakes up, goes and milks the cows, bids his neighbour good-day, calls him a twat under his breath, goes home for breakfast, grunts at his wife, feeds the chickens, has a dump, goes home for lunch, grunts at his wife again, feeds the pig, talks to the dog, digs the vegetable plot, goes home for dinner, grunts at his wife, shuts himself in the bog for 20 minutes with his memories of Laura Lavric, goes to sleep. Every day.
Back in the Good Old Days there was only one channel, only 4 hours of broadcasting per day, and half of those were dedicated to the doings of Comrade Ceauşescu and his Charming Wife Elena. Some people actually miss those times: they were starving but at least everybody else was too, and they were ruled by a megalomaniac arse but at least he was their megalomaniac arse. I’d like to bring back a bit of that for the sake of nostalgia. The only Romanian man alive with comparable standing to “The Genius of the Carpathians” is Ilie Năstase. Ilie played good tennis but is now mainly known for being 6th on Maxim magazine’s list of lotharios, having slept with 2500 women despite looking like my friend Steve*. I think many people would like to spend 2 hours an evening watching and learning his technique.
* Steve is sadly no longer with us, but he was also astonishingly successful in this arena of human endeavour.