A few weeks ago, Channel 4’s critically acclaimed series Gogglebox returned to our television screens. For those unfamiliar with the show, Gogglebox features everyday couples, friends and families voicing their opinions on the latest television broadcast the previous week.
This concept capsizes the traditional role of the viewer, as they become the ones actually being viewed and subject to the gaze of the audience. Whilst watching other people watching television doesn’t exactly sound like the most gripping viewing, it works. Give it five minutes of your time and you will most likely be enthralled by the viewers’ sarcastic digs and cutting remarks about the television shows and the people featured on them, proving that the average viewer today is a lot more media savvy than once thought.
Of course, the programme would not be the same without the rather throwaway, ignorant comments; one of my favourites being, ‘it’s the bloody politicians again’, when The News at Ten started. By drawing on the living room milieu of The Royale Family and the show-bashing in Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Gogglebox manages to perfectly capture the love-hate relationship between the consumers and the producers of television.
One programme at the viewers’ mercy this week was Sex Box, which one viewer summed up as ‘basically, two people having sex in a box and then talking about it’, which essentially hits the nail on the head. In fact most of the viewers were extremely dismissive of the show. What is worth commenting here is that Sex Box is also broadcast on Channel 4, which allows for a biting critique of their own shows, as well as those on rival channels. This gives Gogglebox a certain degree of credibility.
On another note, the undeniable stars of the show are husband and wife Steph and Dom, who seem to have a different alcoholic concoction in their hand in every scene. The posh couple drawl out a scathing remark or two, whether it is about the sombre scenes in Downton Abbey or the frank comments about people’s sex lives, as they then proceed to get increasingly drunk until one of them occasionally passes out.
The show is hardly thought-provoking, yet it has a warmth to it and is certainly addictive viewing. What makes Gogglebox so endearing are the people it features and the stripped back format; there are no tacky or grotesque, over the top personalities; just simply normal people bickering and laughing over the latest television from the comfort of their own home. This seems to give the show an understated quality that leaves you wanting more.