Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Channel 5 and the "happy hookers".....

Channel 5 the home of crap telly but in the best possible taste. They rarely do “home grown” dramas or sitcoms except for Family Affairs, which was unfairly axed in my opinion (it was on a par with Hollyoaks).

Anyway, Channel 5 has created a new sitcom called “Respectable” about a 4 women who work as prostitutes in a brothel. There is Maureen the “Madame” who comes out with top-notch lines like, “less gabble, more gobble”… Ho! Ho! Ho! I cannot wait. But hey, it gets better. One of the women is addicted to….. shoes (Ed over at International Rooksbyism should take note). The other one is paying off her student debt and last but not least… the stereotypical prostitute from Eastern Europe called Yelena.

The first episode is tonight and I can’t wait, as this looks tacky beyond belief. There has been an online petition demanding the programme be withdrawn, organised by the Lilith Project, which has appeared on many feminist blogs. What disturbs me is this line, “This sitcom should be withdrawn immediately from schedules and shelved, never to be shown.”

The sitcom has not been shown yet and only a rather sketchy portrayal of characters given. But does it merit instant withdrawal? No, I don’t think it does because who will be next on the agenda to censor?

If you don’t want to see it don’t watch it (I mean, who can tell with Channel 5 as I am sure only a handful watch it, including myself). Again, the people who argue in favour of pulling the sitcom depict women who work as prostitutes as “victims”. While the creators of “Respectable” seem to be showing prostitutes as “happy hookers”. Both camps are pandering to stereotypes, which organisations such as IUSW are fighting against. Ana Lopes spoke of her frustration about being regarded as either the “happy hooker” or the “powerless victim”. They are not grounded in reality.

Yes, this is a sitcom and it sounds like sloppy and lazy script writing (did they contact the IUSW?). But pull it? No. I think you argue your politics and not resort to censorship. Censorship is the politics of defeatism. The "gut reaction" politics of seeing images and ideas we don't like blinds us into pushing for the very thing, which is potentially harmful and dangerous, and that is censorship.

I will watch it and see……

Btw: the programme before Respectable is called Swinging - new series of the comedy sketch show, revealing what happens when a man accompanies his daughter to a job interview at an adult film company.

It just sounds so 1970s. So Carry On.... So crap telly. I won't be staring at a blank wall tonight instead I'll be watching this.

To say the sitcom was.... well, how shall I describe politely ..... shite ... that would be an understatement. Stereotypical "hookers", frigid wives and timid Johns all written by 2 blokes. Did it offend me as a woman? No. It offended my sense of humour and that's no joke either. If I had to choose between having my teeth extracted without anaesthetic or watching the next episode. The dentist looks desirable. Nil point, Channel 5.