I wanted to watch Tattoo last night, a German film about a mental man who cuts intricate tattoos from the backs of alternative types – cyber goths, crusties, you know the sort. Dragons’ Den had ended (a strange episode filled with in-fighting amongst the Dragons, which was entertaining) and I rubbed my hands and nads together as I loaded the DVD player and prepared for misery. But then the DVD halted. DVDs are always broken these days. I fancy a return to VHS. Anyway, it wouldn’t bloody work and so regrettably me and the missus ended up watching BBC3’s ‘Freaky Eaters’.The programme details the rehabilitation of individuals who have somehow managed to forge themselves a very limited daily diet from which, psychologically they’re unable to veer from. They pick one foodstuff and they’re set on it, for life. Last week it was a shaven headed geek who could only stomach pizza and this week we were served up an Essex girl with a chip butty fetish. I like pizzas and I like a good chip butty, but if one of those was the only thing I was allowed to eat for every meal, I suspect I’d be bored by lunchtime and possibly suicidal by the time breakfast came around again. Variety is clearly the spice of life. To deal with the problem, the BBC sends in a dietician and a psychologist to solve the problem eating pattern. So over the course of an hour they set to work reversing the complex.An hour is a bloody long time. It’s two episodes of Dad’s Army. For some reason, Dad’s Army is the gauge I use to measure TV time and it’s something I’m unable to shake off. It’s the same with money and pints of lager. I count cash in blocks of £2.50 because that’s how much a pint of premium lager was in the pub when I was a teenager. We have these little habits, created in our formative years and they inform our decisions for better or worse. Freaky Eaters argues that the reason their participants have these bad habits is that they made one such decision early on in life and haven’t the facility to break the habit, despite the fact that their digestive tract is probably beginning to resemble a gnawed hose, even in their late 20s. Seriously, on a diet of chips I’d imagine she doesn’t shit for days on end.I can believe that this happens though. With the shaven headed chap, his pizza fixation was a result of a strange relationship with his father, who died while he was quite young and in a process of rebellion against his parents. So his diet was one way of continuing this resistance to admitting his natural love for his father. He talked this through with a counselor, spent time trying different food with a dietician and fixed his mind up good and proper. The cameraman got his tears from the rest of the family and everyone was happy.
Last night, however, the Essex girl they picked was not, perhaps, the best choice. They narrowed her chip butty kink down to the fact that when she was younger she had some form of bronchitis, meaning that if she ate and coughed at the same time, she would gag. The inference being that her problem stemmed from her mistrust of food in general. But then, when going through counseling, she giggled when asked questions about this period of her life, refusing to think that it might be the root of her extremely high carb diet. When offered different foods from the dietician she turned into a complete Daddy’s girl, spoiled and noxious and, let’s be open here, a right royal pain in the arse-end.
My feeling that she was simply the type of girl who had never found herself wanting, who was waited on hand and foot by her parents and doting boyfriend, was compounded when the ‘reveal’ of the programme arrived after 50 long, tedious minutes. To see if her gross obsession with fried spuds had been headed off at the pass she was taken to a posh restaurant with her boyfriend who, he had told the camera, prayed she would choose something other than chips. Guess what gang? She ordered chips, chips and only chips.
So not only was her time wasted, her boyfriend’s time was wasted and her family’s time was wasted. Oh – and the dietician’s time was wasted. And the psychologists. And mine and my missus’s time was wasted. And anyone who bothered watching this pile of crap’s time was officially, undeniably and irretrievably wasted.