Its that time of year again where I say “its that time of year again”, its time for the late late toy show. For all the uninitiated Carls out there, the toy show is a TV special aired in late November or early December of a popular chat show that has been around since 1962, the second longest running talk show ever. In the special a bunch of children and the presenter run around talking about and playing with some toys, also celebrities may show up to the set with high blood alcohol levels.
So its a toy commercial, however its also the nearest thing to the super bowl in terms of a television event in Ireland with ratings reaching as high as 1.5 million, out of a population of 4.5 million. Its like Ireland’s black Pete in terms of weird isolated Christmas traditions.So now I have explained the concept, I will now talk as if you know what I am on about, google exists.
The picture above is the time some woman won money and toy show tickets in a competition the show ran the week before that years toy show, but she said she did not want the tickets, so Pat Kenny ripped them up to the horror of everyone watching. Its for me the greatest TV moment ever. The concept of not worshiping the toy show was an alien concept to me at the time, however time moved on. Pat Kenny, who was a wonderful host, was replaced by Dublin 4’s very own human embodiment of the aids virus, I also grew older and more cynical. I have now become that woman on the phone accepting her prize, I don’t care about the toy show and I will probably never care again, here comes a stupid list of reasons why.
1. Ryan Tubridy.
This man is a mystery to me, was there really no one else they could get to present the show?. He tries so hard to be charismatic and nice when you know he is a total prick when your not looking. I could at least imagine myself being friends with Pat Kenny and Gay Byrne. One was hilariously easy going but confident, when he was playing with those toys he was having fun and most importantly he did not linger too long or shun anything or anyone, making the show feel easygoing thanks to his presenting style. Gaybo was the pioneer who was always good tempered and gentlemanly making the toy show what I would call a wholesome affair.
However the walking AIDs virus tends to linger on children it seems he wants us to pity or maybe admire, cant tell, like the fellow in the wheelchair who wanted to be a clock maker a few years back. He seems to spend half the show talking about crap Children’s books whilst rushing past the video games at the end and treating them like the work of the devil with his stupid smug face. On the topic of contempt for the audience, his time presenting brought in sections of the show where toys under 10 euro or some such were shown just to make sure those struggling parents really felt like shit. He also ushered in the second problem.
2. The hills are alive with the sound of lame.
The over reliance on dance numbers and musical acts is questionable. No one cares about the acts on the show, its just a parental dick/ovary waving contest for parents to see their sprogs on TV. There is a reason no one wants to go to school plays, children suck at performance arts. One can just tell that that girl singing on stage will be a cocaine addict in 15 years time and the parents will be culpable. Besides, half the show could be freed up if if they trimmed out the musical performances, leaving more time for the fun stuff they usually have to rush. Seeing the toys being played with and fun being had is the real reason why the toy show is loved, not for soulless and lame performances.
3. RTE shenanigans.
Everyone takes the piss out of Newstalk for being owned by Denis O’Brien, however it would make more sense to take the piss out of RTE being owned by the state. Government controlled broadcasters can afford to be complacent when they can rely on the state and not entirely on fickle audiences. Viewership is dropping in the new age of streaming services and internet video platforms, RTE have ceased making any Children’s programming relying instead on cheap imported fare. RTE is the sort of broadcaster who airs its best imported shows at 11 pm on a Tuesday, if anyone has any other options at all, they will not watch RTE if they have any sense. So now we have a weeks worth of preview ‘behind the scenes of the toy show’, programmes before the main event itself, advertisements for garbage are crammed on to the show and the tackiest celebrities of the week are brought in, such as One Direction and other corporate hacks that children look up to. Gone are the days when an appearance from Dustin the turkey was more than enough.
In general terms I feel the Toy show became very cynical in presentation over the past 10 years losing the warmth I once felt from it because of all the baggage tacked on to it. The show has lost its way and its hard to care about a second of it. However it is for better or worse now part of Irish culture, and deserves respect for what it used to be if not for what it is becoming.
Next time: The Firefly blog was not cancelled in some ironic twist, it was just delayed. Tzai Jien.