When talking about local TV in global contexts the first thing that comes to my mind “a fanatic for reality TV” is Jersey Shore. IMDb (2009) identifies Jersey Shore as “a reality-based look at the vapid lives of several New Jersey 20-somethings and their respective friends and/or hook-ups” which was released in USA in December 2009. This television series is categorized into comedy, drama, reality-TV and romance. It’s array of genre’s, the characters involved and the settings have allowed for a diverse range of audiences, ranging from 1.4million viewers during the Season 1 Premiere to a huge 8.8million viewers during the Season 4 Premiere.
Due to it’s great success, was the birth of Geordie Shore in Britain (2011). Broadcast also on MTV, Geordie Shore is a British-version of the American Jersey Shore (IMDb, 2011).
Why would other countries want to translate a reality-TV comedy into their local genre? Turnball (2011) identifies four reasons including cultural references, culturally specific character types, ‘recognizable’ actors and audience tastes. With relatable characters, humor and real-life situations, Geordie Shore has become immensely popular in Australia, But Why???
The strong cultural link between the UK and Australia is evident between our shared cultural DNA, cultural traffic and the familiarity with surroundings (Turnball, 2011). This cultural link became even stronger and gave Geordie Shore Season 6 an even greater reputation in Oz, as the series was filmed ‘Down Under’. It gave Australian individuals the chance to observe these know well-known celebrities in our country and enabled us to relate to them on a personal level. They were on our territory…
MTV London (2013) announced that it would be their highest rating television series ever as the beloved cast “head off to the other side of the world to ‘tash on’, ‘get mortal’, ‘bosh’ and ‘get on it till we vomit’ like only the Geordie’s can. Will the Aussies embrace their mortal ways and languid lingo? Will the red hot sun finally ignite passions between Charlotte and Gaz? Or will he be dizzied by the endless sea of surfing Sheilas? And will James be bambozzled by worldies on the other side of the globe?” Even before the release of the series, Australian individuals were heavily influenced through the promotions and advertisements. It was relatable to our culture, and it was humorous to watch cast members from the show immersed in our traditions and customs!
What happens when Australia tries to make a spin-off of Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore to release into the Australian market?? Here come’s The Shire……
Expecting the television series to be a big hit, like it’s neighbouring shows, it was reluctantly a huge failure! Given 3 out of 10 stars from reviewer Andrew Tajis, and facebook pages created including “Boycott Channel Ten until ‘The Shire’ is Axed”https://www.facebook.com/BoycottChannelTenUntilTheShireIsAxed, hatred was circling the ten television network. After only one season and a total of nine episodes The Shire was removed from the network. But why was it so disliked by the Australian public?
Personally I believe it was making a mockery of Australian society, and particularly for those living in Sutherland Shire. The people were fake, the conversations were phony and it is in no way an Australian form of humour! The Australian (2012) shared comments from well-known Australian stars and their disgust towards the show as Ruby Rose tweeted “I’ll never Watch that again. Or tweet about it. Or think about it.”
Cunningham and Jacka (1996) elaborate that “humour, and thus comedy formats, most drama, relying as it does on some unavoidable specificities of character and place, and of course the vast bulk of news and current affairs, remain stubbornly resistant to exploitation in a multiplicity of markets” p249. Funnily enough The Shire, allowed Australian society to stubbornly resist the exploitation of the Australian culture, its character, place, humour and current affairs…
Can we only relate to humour and irony when it is not negatively portraying our Australian culture?? We love Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore, even when they are immersed in our society, but why can we not accept the jokes, persona’s and comments made about people in our local culture? Individually, I believe it is because we don’t like fake and negative perceptions of our Australian individuality being used to make profit, what do you think??!
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Turnball, S 2013, Local Television in Global Context, lecture, BCM111 International Media and Communication, University of Wollongong, delivered 09/09/2013