ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A Betoota Heights man has returned home this evening to his worn-in couch on Greenbow Road and decided, on a whim, to turn on the TV. What he found left him in stitches – and not in a good way.

Marcus Henderson, a 34-year-old software developer, had largely abandoned free-to-air TV in favour of streaming services and the ABC. But tonight, out of sheer curiosity and a touch of nostalgia, he flicked on the old telly to see what he had been missing.

As it turns out, not much.

“It’s bloody ridiculous,” Marcus said, shaking his head in disbelief.

“The first thing I saw was some reality show about people cooking in the dark. I mean, who comes up with this shit?”

The program in question was “Cooking In The Dark,” one of the many cookie-cutter reality shows that have flooded Australian screens in recent years. The premise: people cook in pitch-black rooms and try not to hurt themselves.

“It’s like they’ve run out of ideas entirely,” Marcus continued, bemused. “And the ads – oh, don’t get me started on the ads. Harvey Norman ads, telling me about specials on Acer laptops. Who the fuck uses them? Such a NPC brand.”

In the hour that followed, Marcus was treated to a barrage of mind-numbing reality TV, endless competitions centred around Godless fornication, and a string of US cop dramas that all seemed to blend into one. The crowning glory was a talent show featuring a run-of-the-mill fire breather and a woman who can queef on demand.

Marcus’s partner, Sarah, who was half-listening while watching Instagram Reels on her tablet, looked up and chuckled.

“Why are you torturing yourself? Change it back to the ABC. I want to listen to Back Roads.”

“I don’t know,” he replied, laughing.

“I guess I just wanted to see if it was as bad as I remembered. It’s worse.”

The constant interruptions for ads promoting everything from butt plugs to luxury cars were the final straw for Marcus.

“How can I follow what’s happening? I can’t even remember which outer metro office manager is cooking what now?

More to come.


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