The Boy and I prefer to spend our time watching something that we specifically want to watch rather than mindlessly stare at the idiot box all night or channel surf in an attempt to find something worth watching.
The television in our living room has been under plastic for literally weeks due to construction work and neither of us have missed it.
Last night, however, we settled down to watch Big Fat Gypsy Weddings on Channel 4 because last week I was amused by the barrage of comments on Facebook and Twitter about it.
If you missed it, for goodness sake watch it on catchup! I don't think I have ever laughed so much in my entire life. The Boy was so helpless with laughter that the sounds coming out of his mouth were attracting bats and we sputtered through the whole bottle of rioja.
The show covers weddings and communions and explored strange traditions such as dressing 6-8 year olds as "mini brides". I always assumed that a communion was some sort of solemn, religious experience. Not this! The ceremony wasn't covered but the preparation and the party was filled with tiny young girls in skyscraper heels, an inch thick of orange makeup, fake eyelashes, lipgloss and miniature wedding dresses. They looked disturbingly adult but oddly proportioned. A cross between Lolita and an oompa loompa.
There has been nothing like it on television since the Minipops. *shudders*
And when one girl changed out of her mini wedding dress because it was so heavy and tight that it rubbed off her spray tan (yes, you heard me, a 6 year old with a spray tan!) and into "something more comfortable" this was revealed to be an outfit that a stripper would deem too skimpy.
These little children were bumping and grinding and gyrating like strippers too - it was one of the most disturbing things that I have ever seen.
The spirit of Gypsy Rose Lee lives on!
The wedding featured in this week's episode was clearly inspired by Jordan's wedding to Peter Andre - the pink dress, high crown, fairytale carriage. it was simply ghastly.
The 17 year old bride, Sam (a marrying into a gypsy family) put her own individuality into this homage to Jordan the Queen of Tackiness by having her dress festooned with mechanical butterflies and uv lights.
Don't believe me?
Believe it. The 20 st dress was too heavy for her to walk normally in and also deemed a fire hazard so the dressmaker followed her around with a fire extinguisher "just in case"... oh and more spare batteries than the Ann Summers Valentine's Day sale.
The show wasn't all chav style on acid though - I was genuinely sympathetic to the travellers who were forced to move out of a settlement on land which they actually owned. They couldn't get planning permission to build on their own land and had illegally done so after having been there for many years. It was sad to see their settlement being torn down, their children watching and elderly women being carried off by the fuzz.
I know legally they were in the wrong for building upon it but it made me wonder why they couldn't get planning permission.
We all hear stories about when travellers come to settle in car parks or football fields or wasteland near our houses - there are tales of thefts, damage, noise pollution. Sure caravans are unsightly and of course their generators are noisy and their music carries through the thin walls of the caravans... we had some move in last year and couldn't wait to see the back of them but that's my only experience of them and I don't think that's enough to judge. I'd be interested to hear what your experiences are.
I'm sure they can't all be negative!
It was also really interesting to see that despite the inappropriate way that the children were dressed, the traditional customs of travellers are actually in total contrast to the way they dress. Women and men do not live together or sleep together before marriage, women are respected and protected and expected to fulfil a very traditional role - staying at home to care for the house and children whilst men go out to work. The women are very house-proud, keeping the caravans pristine - they even avoid having an indoor toilet for hygiene reasons. They seem to be very passionate about preserving their traditions and way of life and really what's wrong with that?
I must admit the subtitles were a nice touch. Brad Pitt's crazy unintelligible "d'ya like dags" patter wasn't at all far off the way some of them speak!
Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.
Title: Oh! You Pretty Things by David Bowie