10 things I hate about Pakistani television
1. Morning shows. Call me boring and old fashioned, but I’m more disturbed than entertained when I see heavily made up middle-aged aunties hopping around singing Ringa-Ringa-Roses and acting like lovestruck teenyboppers on air! With the hideous amount of money these morning show hosts are making these days, is it a crime to expect a bit more maturity and ‘content’ on their shows?
2. The god-awful ads. Not so much the quantity but quality, For twenty odd years I have watched every household item under the sun being sold by singing housewives … which is plain sad — and frustrating — considering the amount of ‘talent’ and ‘creativity’ we supposedly possess!
3. Political analysts hogging prime time. Granted they’re our saviours and they keep us up-to-date on the latest misadventures of our brilliant, self-effacing leaders, but seriously…the very sight of some of these rowdy and heavily opinionated ‘celebrity anchors’ with their anything-to-up-my-ratings antics is reason enough to dread watching Paki telly post 8pm!
4. Celebrity witchdoctors with their implausible totkas — no, you won’t turn into Snow White by applying a mixture of crushed garlic, rose petals, red ants and lizard poo on your face!
5. Breaking news fixation. This just in: Kareena Kapoor went to the loo three times today instead of two. Also, Pir Pagara suggests we buck up because he can hear, once again, the sweet thud of army boots marching towards parliament. Seriously?
6. Middle-aged protagonists playing twenty-something kids — I won’t take names, but you know who you are, so do yourselves a favour and stop accepting roles that should ideally go to actors that don’t need to inject their faces with Botox just to look the part!
7. Desi ghost hunters — you’ve got to be kidding me!
8. The drama content. But then, if our producers think it’s A-OK to address every societal issue under the sun right from extramarital affairs and illegitimate children to rape and prostitution at prime time sans any rating whatsoever, then who am I to object?
9. The slapstick political humour and mimicry. Seriously, a bald impersonator dressing up in white shalwar-kameez-coatee and affecting a Yoda brogue to mimic Nawaz Sharif was hilarious five years ago because it was, well, original. Today, it’s plain annoying!
10. All the food — people are dying of hunger in our country for crying out loud! Stop shoving qormas and biryanis and Zinger burgers and pizzas in our faces day in and out!
(Published in “Express Tribune” on September 4, 2011)