Growing Up with Talk Shows 

Food and nonsensical drama

When I was still in school, one of the busiest times of the day during the week was the afternoon. Coming right back home from six hours of school-time meant I was obviously tired, and very hungry. My lunchbox wouldn’t contain anything extraordinary: there were no sushi rolls, miso soup, burgers and fries or a warm paratha for lunch. I would snack on potato crisps or iced soda, and that to me was the perfect mid-lunch snack. I didn’t quite fancy spending all my time during lunch-break in school eating with friends, because it was also the only real option to catch up with friends.

During school hours, it was optimal to pay attention in class because as a student you are expected to learn both in class and in your own time. After coming home, I would heat-up my lunch and plop myself on the couch to watch television but the only shows that would air at the time, worthwhile catching, were the afternoon talk shows. The talk shows would air in the evening too, which would mean they were quite interestingly inescapable during food-time. Growing up, food-time began to mean The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. It meant Star World, the Hallmark Channel and CNN. I was too busy being a couch potato to know what my friends would be upto right after school was over so it was just me and my pet dogs, a good warm lunch and talk shows.

I have to admit school never permitted to be a regular viewer of both the shows because living in a city as a child meant traffic jams are unavoidable. Sometimes it would be so late hours that I would get home from school that a warm lunch and news segments on the BBC would be the only thing worth watching on television that would greet me. Naturally, it was never really as interesting but during lunchtime I don’t think the kind of television I like to crave is serious pieces of journalism.

There is a very good reason why Oprah was interesting to watch during lunchtime: Oprah would participate in gift-giving to her audience and it would bring such joy to all of the people who would tune into her show live and on-set, there were a varied range of guests, from book authors I normally never hear off despite being an avid reader of books from my childhood, to rare interviews of celebrities, and one of Oprah’s biggest past times on her television show was fretting about her waistline.

Growing up with talk shows does not mean I could reserve a lot of time to catch every single celebrity interview the chat show hosts would do because naturally I had homework to think about, and practicing my writing skills, as well as cultivate my hobbies, which I was quite crazy fond of doing. But there were pieces I did catch on The Oprah Winfrey Show, like Tom Cruise’s loud proclamation of love for Katie Holmes. Holmes had harbored a crush on Cruise, during her starry-eyed days in Dawson’s Creek, and long before she ever got the chance to meet him.

So the relationship had circulated a lot of drama and the episode, upon first sight, looked like it would be a treat wrapped up with ribbons and everything, for audiences around the world tuning into The Oprah Winfrey Show. I found the episode rather boring in places and given the mad publicity hoopla that was going on at the time surrounding the two’s whirlwind romance, that was disappointing, to say the least. But that’s what chat shows are on most days: absolute hogwash but it’s all that’s worth your time really during food-time because no one wants to watch One Piece, absolutely all the time and every single day.

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