The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey Hey, it's Time to Move On

I wish I made that quote up.

Really, I do, because Hey Hey is obviously the least original thing on TV. Why do people continue to watch it? It's dull, bland and quite clearly a desperate attempt by Channel 9 to return to their glory days of the eighties and nineties.

I am willing to concede that it may have been original when it first aired in 1971 (!), but times have changed since then. Now, in 1971:
  • Video games were pretty much limited to Pong
  • The first Star Wars film was six years away
  • VCRs didn't exist
So it's understandable with so little to do, many people turned to television to reduce their boredom. But I have to wonder, was there nothing else on in 1971? Was there really nothing better to do than watch some hack dance around with a man in an ostrich costume? (and that always bugged me - why an ostrich? Don't we have some sort of big, flightless bird in Australia? Gosh, if only.) Yes, I'm aware Hey Hey was originally a Saturday morning children's program (seriously), but can you name five other amazing variety shows that started life as children's programs? How about one? The Wikipedia page on the show says it attracted a "cult following". Huh. Is this why Channel 10 replaced Cheez TV with Toasted TV - are Jade and Ryan getting their own variety show?

When Channel 9 aired the reunion specials, I had no problem with it. A lot of people had happy memories of that show, and I had no issue with people getting nostalgic for a couple of hours. But when Nine announced the show was coming back, I groaned. The nineties were a great time and all, but just because a show worked then does NOT mean it will work now. Need proof? Think of all the shitty remakes or reboots of TV shows from three decades ago. Nearly all of them were crap (think Bionic Woman, Knight Rider, heck, even V doesn't look like it'll last much longer). Why? Well, to put it simply, they didn't change anything! Yes, they took what made the original great, but they refused to acknowledge that things have changed since the shows first aired.

Now, think of the successful remakes/reboots/re-imaginings/re-whatevers (like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who). What made these shows critically and commercially successful? They got new people on board, and changed things dramatically. I can think of no better example than J. J. Abrams Star Trek. Before this film, everyone seemed to think the franchise was tired and out of ideas. Now, with a completely new creative team behind it, the franchise is healthier than ever.

Sadly, Hey Hey opted not to change a single thing, and as a result, it's only been surviving on the nostalgia factor. Actually, it did change one thing: the day. Why, oh WHY, was it on WEDNESDAY?! One would think that a show called Hey Hey it's Saturday should only air on, oh, I don't know, the day before Sunday? It really shits me when companies do something quite clearly just for the money and no other reason, and this a prime example. Imagine if Seven moved Sunday Night to a night other than Sunday, but retained the title. People would think they'd lost their minds!

Well, as you probably know, Hey Hey is returning to its Saturday slot, where I hope it dies a quite death. It may have been a fine show for its time, but its not the seventies, eighties or nineties any more. We need to move on to fresher, more original shows. Building the future and keeping the past alive may be the same thing, but that does not mean we should exclusively live in the past, getting lost in nostalgia. Ditch this shit.

© 2010 by The Free Man

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