Arts & Entertainment

The Naked City – The Grumpy Guide To The Logies

There are all sorts of crimes in this world depending very much on your point of view. If you are a staunch republican you might regard the entire British Royal Family as a crime against egalitarianism. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is without a doubt a massive crime against humanity and on a lesser scale, Johnny Depp’s recent performance of the Marvin Gaye classic ‘What’s Going On’ at London’s Royal Albert Hall, would be considered by some as a crime against soul music. Then there is the Australian television industry, in particular the commercial networks, who in recent years could be accused of cultural atrocities against the Australian public.

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Australian television, despite the proliferation of digital channels, has never served up as much tripe in the name of entertainment in recent years. I’m talking about those shows aimed shamelessly at the lowest common denominator – like ‘Big Brother’, ‘Married At First Sight’, ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, ‘Dancing With The Stars” and a seemingly endless onslaught of so-called reality shows.

To add to this insult the secondary digital channels are clogged with reruns of ‘Border Security’ shows, ancient UK detective dramas, even more ancient American sitcoms and every season of Seinfeld on permanent rotation. At times the channels’ only purpose would appear for the commercial networks to gather additional advertising revenue, rather than provide any diversity in programming.

Little wonder then that viewers are deserting the free to air channels in their thousands and turning to the various streaming services to light up their flat screens. As the exodus continues it seemingly makes no difference to the alcohol charged ritual of mutual admiration known as the Logies, where the TV industry gathers annually to validate its own relevance.

Thanks to the pandemic we have been sparred this celebrity-laden night of nights for the past two years but hold your breath it’s on again this year at the Star Gold Coast Entertainment Resort in a few weeks’ time. And thanks to comedian Tom Gleeson who hijacked the dubious voting system in 2019 to take out the coveted gold gong and then poured poo on the whole event at his acceptance speech, the Logies may never be the same again. “I have ruined the Logies, and it’s never going to happen again,” he joked much to the chagrin of the gathered industry throng. “Our industry is dying, and I’m part of that!”

Nevertheless, the commercial networks are pushing hard for their major stars and encouraging their viewers to vote for the only Logie that seems to count and that’s the gold one. Well, at least the gold plated one as the miserable-looking gizmo looks pure poverty row compared to some of the film and television trophies awarded abroad. The lesser silver Logies seem very much a second rate currency and have often surfaced at auctions and even eBay After all who would want something that looks like a cross between Gumby and a shoe horn taking up room on their mantelpiece.

The Americans with their love for hype and well-orchestrated pazazz have set the standard when it comes to award ceremonies and by comparison, we just don’t do them well. The Logies have been around since 1959 and for decades the cultural cringe saw the need to import numerous US and British celebrities to boost the event and give it credibility.

Those that defend the Logies in the present era point out that they don’t only recognise soap stars and game show hosts, but news and current affairs and the kind of documentaries that the ABC and SBS do so well. Nevertheless, the awards ceremony itself with its red carpet arrival, preferential seating and big-name cameos seems very much the realm of Nine, Seven and Ten with a kind of nodding lip service paid to SBS and the ABC, despite the fact they often collect a swag of silver gongs between them.

Over the years the actual voting process has come under scrutiny and Tom Gleeson certainly proved with enough public support it’s possible to displace the usually favoured candidates. In 2018 Gleeson spearheaded a similar campaign to his own which saw on the outer TV personality Grant Denyer wind up with the number one gong.

The Logie Awards will screen on the Nine Network on Sunday 19 June. What better reason to switch your set to Netflix or Stan or just read a book.

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