This was dragged in pre­sum­ably to give the se­ries some aura of top­i­cal­ity, but en­tirely spe­cious in its cack-handed at­tempt at so­cial rel­e­vance

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

Haven’t I seen this be­fore? That was my re­ac­tion to Gen­er­a­tion What? (RTÉ2) and in­deed I’d seen it many times be­fore, even if I can’t re­call the ti­tles of its pre­vi­ous TV in­car­na­tions. The for­mat was cer­tainly the same: take a group of young peo­ple, ask them about their at­ti­tudes to sex, equal­ity, re­li­gion, pol­i­tics and what­ever you’re hav­ing your­self, and then con­duct an earnest panel dis­cus­sion about what they’ve been telling you.

This time around, the find­ings came cour­tesy of an on­line sur­vey in which 18 to 34-year-olds from 14 Euro­pean coun­tries an­swered 149 ques­tions, 33,000 of th­ese mil­len­nial re­spon­dents be­ing Ir­ish.

Mer­ci­fully, we only got to meet some of them, or else the se­ries, which ends next week, would have stretched into the next mil­len­nium, but what was strik­ing was that most of them were of the same mind about nearly ev­ery­thing.

That may have been be­cause, as pre­sen­ter Eoghan McDer­mott proudly in­formed us, “this is the most open gen­er­a­tion the State has ever seen”, and cer­tainly they were re­laxed when it came to sex, the topic with which the pro­gramme in­evitably opened.

It seems 55pc con­fessed to hav­ing had sex in a pub­lic place, while most were equally blasé about sex with strangers and with more than one per­son at a time. In the en­su­ing panel dis­cus­sion, a pri­est con­fessed him­self shocked at th­ese find­ings and was just as dis­mayed at with­er­ing at­ti­tudes to­wards re­li­gion (80pc of those sur­veyed declar­ing them­selves happy to have no re­li­gious be­liefs), but re­ally there was noth­ing here that wasn’t en­tirely pre­dictable to the rest of us.

Bren­dan Court­ney, who fronted the af­fect­ingly per­sonal doc­u­men­tary We Need to Talk About Dad ear­lier in the year, is now pre­sent­ing This Crowded House (RTÉ2), in which he seeks to as­sist young peo­ple who, for fi­nan­cial rea­sons, can’t es­cape the fam­ily home.

This predica­ment, he told us, cur­rently af­fects al­most 25pc of mil­len­nial adults, and in this open­ing in­stal­ment he sought to help two broth­ers re­duced to bunk beds in their par­ents’ small Palmer­stown cot­tage and a stu­dent en­dur­ing sim­i­larly cramped con­di­tions with her Lat­vian boyfriend in the fam­ily home in Clon­dalkin.

Their plight was well con­veyed but the tone was gen­er­ally up­beat in a Bren­dan-will-fix-it kind of way as help was sought from prop­erty ex­perts and fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers. In the end, the broth­ers rented a lit­tle house on Cork Street that they could just about af­ford, while the par­ents of the stu­dent agreed to a granny flat ex­ten­sion to their house. And in the process, the viewer learned some things about the pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive prop­erty mar­ket out there.

All-Ire­land Day: The Hurl­ing Fi­nal (RTÉ1) was an en­gag­ing film, di­rected by Ro­nan O’Donoghue, which went be­hind the scenes of last Septem­ber’s epic clash be­tween Gal­way and Water­ford. We met match com­men­ta­tor Marty Mor­ris­sey as he vis­ited his wid­owed mother in her Clare home and then pre­pared for the match. “A rare priv­i­lege,” he said of his broadcasting du­ties, while first-time All-Ire­land ref­eree Fer­gal Hor­gan de­scribed his el­e­va­tion as “the pin­na­cle of my ca­reer” — though that didn’t stop him be­rat­ing the play­ers for var­i­ous of­fences once the game had be­gun, as we heard via his on-pitch mike.

Along the way we also heard from match pho­tog­ra­pher James Crom­bie, lo­cal ra­dio com­men­ta­tor Kieran O’Con­nor, hur­ley maker Frank Mur­phy, event con­troller Elaine Casey and even wildlife ex­pert Barry Nolan, who was tasked with scar­ing off pi­geons by means of a hawk in his gloved hand.

As the fi­nal episode of Ac­cept­able Risk (RTÉ1) came to a close, Sarah stood in a ceme­tery and told her sis­ter: “I need to get on with my life now.” So do I, Sarah, hav­ing wasted six hours of it on this tosh. In the end, there wasn’t even a come­up­pance for the bad­dies — a news bulletin sim­ply telling us that the vil­lain­ous Dr Hoff­man’s plane had crashed at sea. Where was the fun in that?

And don’t get me go­ing on the late plot re­veal about dead women and chil­dren in a former home for un­wed moth­ers — this was dragged in pre­sum­ably to give the se­ries some aura of top­i­cal­ity, but en­tirely spe­cious in its cack-handed at­tempt at so­cial rel­e­vance.

As for the act­ing, Elaine Cas­sidy as Sarah ran the whole gamut of emo­tions from very, very cross to ab­so­lutely furious, while some of the sup­port­ing play­ers were woe­ful, though given the dire script they had to de­liver, it would be un­kind to name them. God knows what this Ir­ish-Cana­dian pro­duc­tion cost, but isn’t it about time RTÉ stopped get­ting in­volved in dra­mas for which it clearly has no tal­ent?

There was tal­ent and more in last sea­son’s Stranger Things (Net­flix), a spooky 1980s-set se­ries that had the un­usual ben­e­fit of com­ing out of the blue, its suc­cess de­pend­ing on the im­me­di­ate en­thu­si­asm of view­ers rather than on crit­i­cal plau­dits.

That sur­prise el­e­ment isn’t pos­si­ble now and the sec­ond sea­son comes freighted with high ex­pec­ta­tions. You can binge-watch it all, which is not my way of do­ing things, though from the cou­ple of episodes I’ve so far seen, it’s look­ing pretty good, even if the ini­tial thrill is gone.

Fab Vinny (RTÉ1) was a fond tribute to former RTÉ2 pop pre­sen­ter Vin­cent Han­ley, who died of an Aids-re­lated ill­ness 30 years ago. Former col­leagues Conor McA­nally and Bill Hughes had elo­quent rem­i­nis­cences, the lat­ter re­call­ing Man­hat­tan’s West Vil­lage in the mid-80s as seem­ing “like an episode of The Walk­ing Dead”.

As for the sex­u­ally free Ire­land of today that Han­ley never got to know, “he’d think he was in the land of Oz”, Hughes said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.