Unemployed deserve far better than this
UNEMPLOYMENT is one of life’s misfortunes I have so far managed to dodge ( maybe this year that will change, who knows). By all accounts it’s no picnic, what with the mortgage worries, the Centrelink queues, the home-brand groceries and the ( heaven forbid) pitying looks from the in-laws who always suspected you weren’t much chop.
But there’s another, far more unpleasant, hazard awaiting the unwary: daytime television. Yes, folks, having been forced to watch codswallop like The Doctors , a new show that Ten inflicts on the nation from today, I can add my voice to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s plea to employers to avoid shedding staff at all costs. If you do, they’ll be at the mercy of brainrotting tripe such as this, and any hope of future re-employment will be all but lost.
The concept sounds tolerable enough: four doctors, each from a different specialty, are going to entertain and educate us with discussions of medical dilemmas. They also take questions from viewers, and do demonstrations and even examinations on the set.
But the credits barely roll before the announcer booms that the ‘‘ dream team of American medicine has arrived!’’, setting an unfortunate, self-congratulatory tone that lasts the entire hour.
The main host, ER doctor Travis Stork, comes across as an irritating college jock who talks at, rather than to, the audience, the camera and his co-hosts. ‘‘ We’re going to do things like the first-ever eyelash transplant!’’ he announces, to the studio audience’s delight. Everything he utters is concluded with an invisible exclamation mark ( Great set! Great table!) and the applause increases with each
Medical overkill: America’s ‘‘ dream team’’ of doctors banality. Absurdly, he parades around the set in scrubs.
Two of the other hosts are more appropriate both in manner and appearance. But, in a telling reflection of US health priorities, the fourth panel member is a plastic surgeon, Andrew Ordon, who subjects a patient to his own brand-name facelift technique, the ‘‘ O-lift’’, which is described as ‘‘ groundbreaking, and needs just three days of recovery’’. ( Thunderous applause.)
This alone would be enough to get the show banned if it featured Australian doctors. I’m not sure Australian audiences will warm to the ritual humiliation of a pack-a-day smoker, who is shown a digitised simulation of what his face will look like unless he quits ( like an extra from Planet of the Apes ).
He ends up sobbing, ‘‘ I’m willing to make the change! I’m willing to do anything!’’ ( Deafening applause).
The smoker is promised assistance to help his quit attempt. This being the US, willpower and moral support aren’t enough: he gets a personal trainer for a year, a gourmet mealson-wheels service, and some unexplained brand-name laser treatment. Medical overkill, all around.