Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: The Embassy

TV Preview: The Embassy | TV3, 7.30 Monday


By Doug Coutts

“We’re going behind closed doors – for the first time ever on television – an exclusive look … ”

Fifteen little words that mean so much – not quite, they’re shorthand for: “We’ve stuck a camera somewhere and got a couple of stupid people doing dumb things, then we’ll pad it out with repeated shots, ask some officials to say the same things in five different ways, add some overly-loud production music and by crikey, we’ve got a series”.

Last week it was helicopters, next week it’ll be cycle couriers but this week, Simon, it’s embassies. Actually, just one – this time round the Australian Embassy in Bangkok gets the treatment.

Being an Australian Consular Officer in Bangkok would be a cushy number, if you didn’t have to deal with Australians.

Sadly, that’s the client base – Australians who overstay their visas, Australians who get their passports wet and Australians who get pissed in Phuket and urinate off balconies because, as the narrator says, “they had one bucket of Red Bull and vodka too many”.

You know what it’s going to be like – cheap, tacky and loud, like Aussie tourists but unlike the tourists it’s compelling, the sort of TV you hate yourself for watching.

Still, it’s better to make snap judgements on supremely stupid young people –“We were attacked by three Taiwanese” – than on your neighbours or passers-by so in that way The Embassy is providing a valuable service. Pass the Red Bull.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at: Weakly Whirled News.
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