From Austin to Oz. I'm planning to flee the country for 7 months - working for 4 and traveling for 3.
Departure = 03 Sep 2003 / Re-entry = 03 Apr 2004

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Untalkative Bunny

Back in the US, I didn’t watch much television. I often was outside of my apt, visiting friends, eating with friends, volunteering, going to the cinema, going to listen to live music, cycling around my neighborhood ... I really did not have much time for television because I already had heaps of activities that kept me away from the Asian Light Box.

Further, I did not find most teev shows entertaining or well-written. I also abhor the laughtrack of pre-recorded audience laughs added to shows that have no studio audience. Faux. Plus, I would rather not support any program where every 1 of 3 minutes is advertising. (In other words, during a “one-hour” show, 40 minutes are allocated to the show while 20 minutes are ads. Wrong.) Well, OK, I will admit that I did follow such terrible shows like “V.I.P.”, “Fastlane” and “The O.C.” on Fox just because they are trashy and my friends turned them into drinking games. Mmm... drinking games....

So, even tho we have a telly here in the apt in Brissie, I really didn’t warm up to the TV because it wasn’t my habit. Little by little (sometimes by leaps and bounds), that has changed. I watch heaps of television programs here in Australia, yet I don’t have any regrets. The writing, the variety, and the entertainment value of Australian programming is phenomenal! Granted, Oz has its share of bad programs, yet overall the quality is much greater than most non-pay TV programs in the US.

Part of my reasoning is based on the Aussie population. A country the size of the continental USA with only a population of 20 million cannot support a strong, domestic entertainment industry as vast as that in the US. So, many shows are imported. Loads of British and American shows -- as to be expected. For example, the following American shows dominate the Aussie telly across all non-pay stations:

“The Simpsons”
“The Bold and the Beautiful”
“Law & Order”
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”
“Everybody Loves Raymond”
“N.Y.P.D. Blue”
“South Park”
“Will & Grace”
“Late Show with David Letterman”
“Walker, Texas Ranger”
“The Twilight Zone”
“Get Smart”
“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”
“Dark Angel”
“The News Hour with Jim Lehrer”
“That 70s Show”
“Queer as Folk”
“Jerry Springer”
“Ricki Lake”
“Judge Judy”
“Days of our Lives”
“Punky Brewster”
and, of course. “COPS”

Granted, this list is by no means comprehensive and does not include the numerous US cartoons or US films run as the “movie of the week”.

What has surprised me, tho, is the frequent amount of Canadian programs that pepper the schedule. Why do I have to travel to the other side of the globe to watch programs made in the country next door? Irritated. (I think it harkens back to my earlier argument that Australia screens shows from other English-speaking countries to supplement the Aussie shows due to lack of financial and human resources necessary to maintain 24-hour, 365-day programming.) Fortunately, I have already found a favorite Maple Leaf show only after having seen one episode. “Untalkative Bunny” is a cartoon about a rabbit that makes not a sound. It’s like watching a lagomorph mime.

The 5-minute episode that I saw last week follows Untalkative Bunny as he takes his (ecologically responsible, plastic-bag not-needing) shopping basket to the local organic market, accompanied by his friend the red squirrel. As bunny inspects produce, the squirrel positions his open mouth underneath the spigot of a large barrel of peanut butter and lets loose a river of PB down his gullet, forgoing any small plastic container found next to the barrel like at Wheatsville CoOp. When the bunny finds the squirrel, the squirrel looks like a bowling pin full of peanut butter. At the register, the cashier tells the bunny to weigh the squirrel because she will have to charge the rabbit for the peanut butter contained in the sidekick. In addition, she charges him extra for the organic worm burrowing thru his organic apple. Damn hippies! Then, bunny decides to try on the sunglasses for sale at the counter, each pair having a different magical effect. After a few tests, he selects a pair for him and one for his mate. Finally, the Untalkative Bunny pays his bill, the two walk out with new sunglasses, and the story is done.

Today, I caught my second episode. Having seen an advert on television, Untalkative Bunny calls a Caribbean-accented telephone psychic akin to Miss Cleo. At the end of the verbose call that spanned from how great of skin he has to his favorite color, an automated voice notifies him that he will have a $263.00 charge on his next phone bill. Yipes! If only Almost Miss Cleo would have told him from the beginning that he was to be aghast in the near future.

Thus, from Monday to viernes at 16h45, when able, I will plop meself in front of the teev and click on Channel 2 for my dose of a golden firehydrant with long, floppy ears.

Dynomight, creaters of Untalkative Bunny

Untalkative Bunny Fansite

(Yes, I am member # 28 of the Untalkative Bunny Fan Club.)



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