Shouting at Telly was meant to be taking a holiday this week, but the TV bug doesn’t stop. This week we are in Spain and even though we cannot understand a word that is being said, we love it all the same. The thing about Spanish TV is that it is never off. You go to a bar, it is on; you go to someone’s house and there is a lull in the conversation, it goes on; if it is on when you arrive in someone’s house…it stays on (I am currently writing this while a game of cards is going on and the Tennis is on on the telly at the same time). This is Shouting at the Telly’s guide to Spanish TV.
In the UK we are kind of over game shows. (Except in the daytime. See review elsewhere on this site.) But in Spain they are still in vogue. They still like the Iberian version of an American classic. Wheel of Fortune (or La Ruleta de la Fortuna as it is known here) seems to be going strong. In the UK it had a short lived life between 1998 and 2001 when Nicky Cambell was still at Radio 1 and was veering towards Light Ents. He was accompanied by “Smiley, Smiley, Carol Smilie” who spun the letters. The show came from an American format which dates back to 1975 and has been sold the world over. In Spain it appears to have been relegated to the lunchtime slot and is hosted by a Spanish equivalent to Phil Dumfy from Modern Family. The hostess however is no Carol Smilie. (NB. We saw Carol Smilie this afternoon in a very badly dubbed advert for “Finish”. How the great have fallen. One minute you are Lawrence Llewelyn Bowens sidekick, next thing you are the face of dishwasher tablets in Spain). Here she appears to be a sultry model who teeters on high heels and struts her stuff in front of the board. Unlike Ms Smilie though, who was a hostess in the analogue age when she had to physically turn the letters; this young lady merely touches the panels and they change. In fact, sometimes she doesn’t even touch them and they change. If Carol Smilie could see this she would be enraged.
What the current hostess does do though is wiggle a lot and clap (sometimes simultaneously). The other major differences are that there is a house band, the audience (all 20 of them) are in shot and they all have tambourines. It would appear that encouraging the wheel with sound and gesture is very important for luck. With the wheel wobbling like a jelly, perhaps this show requires more than luck for the players; I think the whole set requires luck to stop it from falling to bits.
There are 2 things the Spaniards take seriously; Sport and Politics. (They seem to be considerably better at one than the other.) With sport, they don’t just do a token review of a game with Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen. Oh no. With the 2 semi-finals involving Spanish teams being played this week, there have been literally hours of coverage before and after the games. On Tuesday we were treated to whether the grass was too long in Germany, to an altercation between an official and a manager…from every angle…over…and over…again. The thing is that they make their news coverage far more exciting than the game itself. Seriously, they got more mileage out of a manager dropping a ball than the UK news got out of the Panama papers. Sport is serious here. Nearly as much as….
In the UK we treat politics more like a low level soap opera; it’s interesting, but let’s not give it too much credence. Here, politics is serious business. Every night there are discussion programmes, panel shows, debate shows. It’s not just a token gesture on a Thursday evening. It’s all politics, all of the time. It’s just a shame it doesn’t seem to make any difference to the actual politics of the country.
Like the UK, Spain has its fair share of US imports. For the English speaker, part of the comedy value comes from the dubbing. In Modern Family Alex has been dubbed as a chipmunk while Hayley sounds like she smokes 60 a day. Cam is not as camp as he is in our version and Gloria is …well …normal. All the jokes about Gloria being this fiery Latino are gone here as she is …well …normal.
Unlike the UK, here there are dedicated channels for areas. We are in La Mancha and the local channel is Castilla La Mancha. The main things I have seen on this channel are:
News: at least an hour and half of local news every night, whether there is any news or not.
Lifestyle programmes: I watched a girl in red duffle coat for a good half an hour today walking around; going to a kitchen factory; cooking something and laying some flowers at a grave. I think it was “Ready Steady How it is Made Who Do You Think You Are Cook”.
The rest of the time, the channel seemed to be showing programmes about bulls. If London Live had this sort of programming they would never have failed. On the other hand….
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