Ladies and gentleman, I have witnessed a TV tragedy of epic proportions. Incidentally, it’s also a sporting tragedy. Years ago, I watched in awe and utter joy as an 18-year-old Mark Philippoussis defeated Pete Sampras in the third round of the Australian Open. He has (had?) a thunderous serve and impressive one-handed backhand. On that fateful night, he served 29 aces, some as fast as 128 miles per hour. He covered the net like a rash, he ripped winners and passing shots past Sampras from every angle. It was fantastic; the world was his oyster. I took an interest in his matches, keen to see him progress further, but it didn’t quite happen for The Scud (his nickname for obvious reasons). In terms of winning Grand Slams, he’s one of those gifted people with bags of natural talent but very little end product. In other words, he’s doomed to be tennis’ Jimmy White.
After catching a promo on E4 for his US reality show Age Of Love, I decided to tune in. Allow me to first explain the premise. In essence it asks, is love ageist? Seven women in their 40s (nicknamed ‘the Cougars’) vie with six women in their 20s (‘the Kittens’) for the affections of Mark Philippoussis. Sounds vomit-inducing already, doesn’t it? Try watching it…
As an Aussie geezer, I’m not sure what the tennis pro made of these plastic-looking American women. The ones in their late 30s and early 40s are as beautifully preserved as Tutankhamen and they’ve all got Hollywood smiles and great figures. I had tons of fun picking out the ones with cosmetic surgery – you could park Concorde in their cleavage. Seriously. Each boob lives in a different postcode and is harder than Ray Winstone. Don’t get me started on the kind of pap they spout either – it’s straight out of a US soap like The Bold & The Beautiful: "Mark, you are a wonderful man, a special man, an amazing man. When I started out on this life journey, this incredible experience, I wanted my soulmate to have all the qualities I’ve found in you…" Yuck!
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is truly a nadir for television. Why Mark why? Why? Why?!? A discerning viewer will feel all the things that should’ve prevented Mark Philippoussis signing on the dotted line in the first place: shame, embarrassment, chagrin, discomfort, mortification. It’s beyond bad – remember Jade Goody’s idiot boy Jack on Celebrity Big Brother? Worse than that. I expect media whores like WAGs and WAG wannabes to do anything in the pursuit of fame, but Mark Philippoussis?!? Game, set and match to the almighty dollar. I am in mourning. Ladies and gents, a minute’s silence for a once great tennis player….
By the way Janice Dickinson, of course you can say black! I have no idea when or why it became politically correct to refer to blacks in America as ‘African-Americans’, but there’s no way that’s rolling off my tongue. And for the record US peeps, I abhor ‘bi-racial’ too; it makes people of mixed race sound like some sort of science experiment. Horrible.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – The Marks and Spencer advert featuring Antonio Banderas is a gem. The attention to detail is spectacular, right down to the fonts. Every time I see it, I want to pull out my How To Marry A Millionaire video or watch Marilyn sing Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend from Gentleman Prefer Blondes.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – ‘Dave’. What a stooooopid name for a TV channel.
MSN Editor Coops