By Sonya Rehman
While I have come across snippets of local morning shows on the tube every now and then, while channel surfing, I decided to watch a couple of morning shows for two days running.
Now look, I know our Pakistani morning shows (and their hosts) have been thrashed to high heavens in articles and blogs, and frankly it has become a tad boring – bashing and criticizing the same thing over and over again – but after my two-day viewing marathon, I am compelled to share my observations.
For one, it seems like Pakistani set designers are smoking crack while on the job. That, or, a group of wild My Little Ponies (with the trots – pun intended) are set loose (pun intended, again) to take massive, sparkly, neon-coloured poops in blissful abandon on the sets. The colour schemes are an eye-sore and a half. Given the number of advertisements that run during some of the popular live shows, surely the channels can afford to pump in a little more money to get the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of the show right?
Then, if that’s not enough, you have hosts like Maya Khan hosting wedding-themed morning shows, where she’s marrying off couples left, right and centre, and breaking it down to Bollywood numbers on live television with babas and Aunties, and little girls doing sexy little thumkas and hip-swivels while screeching and excitedly yelping into a mike like a ringmaster who knocked back a few well before noon.
I’m all for fun, hun, so don’t get me wrong. But ever since Khan went ape-s**t hunting down ‘couples’ in Bin Qasim Park in Karachi last year, during a nauseatingly hypocritical and self-righteous ‘crack-down,’ for her show that ran on SAMAA TV, I find it rather difficult to respect or admire her as an individual, much less as a ‘media personality.’
Where did that gorgeous, educated, sensible Maya Khan from the yesteryears ago? What happened along the way? Given that notorious episode and the horrible public shaming and drama that followed – her hysterics, crying on live TV, apologizing for the mess – I don’t understand how she bounced back so quickly, only to host a show that honestly is vulgar at best.
Where’s the preaching now, Khan? You have a child doing a solo dance (mujra) during one of your segments – would you like to sit down and talk about morality and decency now?
Do our talk show hosts not realize what positions of power they’re in? Yet they continue hosting inane shows without preparation, nor planning – where’s the inspiration and entertainment in their shows? Nadia Khan was a terrific, A-class host because she brought depth to her interviews: she was a firecracker, a natural. Far from the fluffheads on TV these days. How about bringing stories of inspiration and hope to the table, girls? How about preparing a damn good script prior to your show, instead of spewing mind-numbing nonsense from those perfect little pouty mouths?
I’ve been wondering; is media truly a representation of society, or is media creating society? I lean more towards the latter, because even if the local media is a representation of Pakistani society, it is aiding it to remain lodged in its judgmental, vulgar, duplicitous and rigid little position. If HUM TV can produce some incredible all-for-female-empowerment dramas, why are our morning shows falling flat in a pool of sparkly My Little Pony feces?
Paperazzi, Pakistan Today