Friday, April 17, 2009

Embarrassing Bodies

Believe it or not the photo above has not been Photoshopped by me; it is a genuine publicity shot for Channel 4’s new series of Embarrassing Bodies.

Karen and I caught it by accident on Wednesday night and promptly wish we hadn’t.

Now, I’m not a prude. I’ve seen my fair share of questionable acts and physical performances that would make a professional voyeur gag on his binoculars but let’s not discuss my surfing history here.

This show had Karen and I heaving.

It was grotesque. It was macabre. It was unforgivingly gynaecological. So much so I felt I ought to be wearing a pair of rubber gloves and squeezing a speculum.

The basic premise of the show is simple. Members of the public with a varying assortment of embarrassing conditions (everything from verrucas, lax sphincter muscles and prolapses of every shape, form and orifice) visit one of the show’s three doctors – on camera – to display their poorly dangly bits to all and sundry in an attempt to help the rest of us overcome any embarrassment we may feel about our own spots and blemishes. The fundamental ethos of the programme is good: don’t put up with it – grasp the nettle by the horns (or the scabs) and get it sorted out by your friendly neighbourhood doctor. Don’t let embarrassment ruin your life!


But do we really need to see a prolapsed cervix up close and personal in grindingly red HD ready Technicolor?

And the poor man having a catheter inserted down his jap-eye... was the macro lens really essential?

We just didn’t need to see it. It added nothing to the show. It enhanced my viewing pleasure not a jot except to provoke in me the same feeling of revulsion I sometimes get when I pass a butcher’s shop window early in the morning.

It was simply too much.

The programme was more like a training documentary for would-be surgeons than an inoffensive and informative programme that everyone from little Tommy to his granny could happily watch of an evening without retching up their freshly masticated oven ready meal.

Have we become so self-obsessed as a species that we now need to commission reality TV shows about our bottom malfunctions and our toe fungi in our overriding desire to probe every single avenue and biological cul-de-sac of our scatological existence?

And this was on a full hour before the 9 o’clock watershed!

No warning. No cautionary voiceover. Just wham bam here’s my spam.


To finish, my final thought is this: surely you can’t be that embarrassed if you’re prepared to let a Channel 4 technician plunge his camera mount so deeply inside you that your pelvic floor effectively doubles as a lens cap?

Embarrassing bodies my arse!


Sky Clearbrook said...

I'd say Dr Christian Jessen has an embarrassing head. It's oddly pin-sized and resembles a Francis Bacon portrait.

Deirdre said...

I know!! but it was like a road traffic accident...I could'nt stop watching...and counting my blessings!!!

Anonymous said...

Goodness Wonderful Steve!


I couldn't bring myself to watch this show if it was on here...and I work in the medical field.

I hope you watched something after wards to clean your a documentary on serial killers or something.


Happy Day Honey!

Steve said...

My Clearbrook - I agree. The Burning Pope series.

Deirdre, it would have been less harrowing to watch a real life traffic accident - at least I'd have been spared the close-ups!

Sweet Cheeks, afterwards my palette was cleansed (and sweetened) by Sir Alan Sugar and The Apprentice - disgust was repalced by healthy invective!

KeyReed said...

What about that other programme they are trailing 'My Life as an animal'. As I cannot receive that channel I shall miss it, thankfully.

Steve said...

Unbelievable! Is it me or is the entire human race going down the pan? My Life As An Animal... hmm. Mind you, Darwin would hsve seen it as progress, I guess.

Brother Tobias said...

One I'm glad I missed. Bodies are like christmas pudding - better seen from the outside than the inside.

Steve said...

Plus I have a morbid fear of sultanas...!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Is that the Street Doctor programme?

Yeah, wasn't it embarrassing how they examined that man's piles on the top of the No.17 bus like that?

No, I don't see the point of these shows either. They might be useful to the 5 in every 100 who might have these conditions, but that makes the rest (95%)mere voyeurs. I tend to flip channels pretty quickly re this sort of thing. A bit like anything involving Jonathn Ross, Gordon Ramsay or Alan Sugar, who all make me want to heave quite quickly.

Toe-curling TV seems to be the order of the day.

The Joined up Cook said...

Now there's some wierd imagery; bodies being equated to christmas puddings.

All hot and steamy when opened up.

As a child I hated cooked sultanas. They reminded me of garden slugs.

Steve said...

Laura, I think it is the Street Doctor people - apparently they're Birmingham based too which is frighteningly close for comfort. If my toes are curling I think I'll leave 'em be. I certainlywaon't be flashing them on TV.

A Write Blog: I'm guessing that some bodies equate more appropriately than others...

The Sagittarian said...

Jap-eye? Where do you get these names, Steve or are we really that far behind down here! Classic. :-)

Steve said...

Amanda, jap-eye has done the rounds for at least 50 years I think - possibly my granddad's generation and earlier. Certainly it was bandied around when I was at school. I'm just a mine of scurrilous slang and profanity. ;-)

French Fancy... said...

I can't watch any of these shows so in vogue now - the 'medical' ones with face lifts and the like. How much can these poor old suckers be paid for them to display their problems so easily.

Steve said...

FF: they must get something out of it surely - I wouldn't want to be display my dodgy tackle purely for the benefit of all mankind! Not that I have dodgy tackle I hasten to add.

-eve- said...

heheh! i'd like to see it - we dun have anything like that over here :-)

Steve said...

Eve, I'm sure you see plently of it during your studies - it would be like a busman's holiday! ;-)

Clippy Mat said...

ooh i can hardly wait. we'll be getting that in canada pretty soon then. we always get the worst shows ever from the uk. we get some good ones too but have had the odd one that made me think good owld mary whitehouse must be spinning in her grave.
(she is dead isn't she?)

Steve said...

I sincerely hope so, Clippy Mat, but give the UK programming schedule time and I'm sure they'll do a "live" disinterring of her grave to show that even she, in the end, was corrupted... ;-)