Friday, July 31, 2009


Kenyan productions are the best thing to ever happen to our viewing pleasures and they seem like they are not going anywhere. Yet!
Yes, our local productions are all the rage and with good reason, they speak our language and we can relate to the scripts and yes, because we are supporting our homegrown talent.
There is no need of mentioning the major productions in our living rooms, both the good and the very bad, but one thing is for sure, they have overshadowed almost every foreign production on the market.
Well, there are still the useless soaps that still rake in ratings but I would want to believe some of our productions like Tahidi High would whoop their Mexican or is it Philippine behind.
However, all that is very good right now, the mood is right, the market is receptive and so is the corporate world and local productions have never been this good. The problem is not whether we have talent, its more of, is this talent bankable in the long haul?
Sustainability is the word am looking here and one thing about the media is not if you are good at the start but rather if you will still be good as days pass.
This is a marathon and not a sprint so it matters less whether you are the first off the blocks or the last, can you build enough momentum to get you past your rivals and still manage to hold the momentum and till the end?
The fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, is always the slowest at the start but his bristering pace gets him past everybody else and the gap at the finishing line is big enough to park a bus.
Yes, Churchill Live, Papa Shirandula and Siri are all the rage at the moment but will we be saying the same thing next year same time?
Already Churchill Live seems to have died a natural death after the first season and what the comedian has replaced it with is not up to his high standards. "Top Comic" has already stalled and its six episodes deep!
On Tahidi, they seem stuck because of its very setting. Its biggest stars, OJ, Sheesh and Tanya are in Form Four and are about to graduate. What happens when they leave? Thats the problem that even the producers don't seem to know.
Simple, kill off the production or have another show that will be run by the main stars in another setting. Joblessness, campus life etc.
As much as we like them, they gotta go. Simple!
I am all for local productions but sustainability is what worries me and if that happens, then I know that this is not a phase but a season that will last for years to come.
If its a phase, then we only have ourselves to blame!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blame it on the...

An African proverb goes thus, "Until the lions can tell their stories, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter."
This is a proverb that goes on to say that unless people tell their own stories, whether of triumph or defeat, people will always believe whatever is out there telling that story and this is true when it comes to Africa.
Who will ever tell the African story? Everybody has their story about Africa but it all has one thing in common, that Africa is a doomed country full of AIDS, poverty, wild animals and some of the most backwards people. I don't blame the West (atleast not entirely) for casting Africa in bad light.
I blame us, we are always complaining but we are the first to show off our poverty to the world. Kibera has now become a tourist attraction site in Kenya, any high profile person who lands in Kenya is whisked there even before meeting the President and the American media will replay that shot a million times until people believe that is Kenya.
After that, lets go to the movies, I always hate watching movies on Africa because they just perpetuate the poverty notion. Again, what do we do, we just complain and flock the cinemas to watch the film.
Any celebrity in America who is considered A List material wants a piece of Africa's latest import; orphans! Am not running away from the truth, no, this issues do exist but they also do in the US and Europe!
We have very many stories we can tell but unless they are told from the eyes of an outsider, we don't take them seriously. Heck, even a movie like Blood Diamond which is shot in Africa had a white person as the lead.
We have National heroes, isn't it time we honoured them by doing feature films on them and applaud them for what they did for Kenya?
Come on, Americans shoot movies about anything and make it sell, why cant we start small and see what we can do for our own heroes like Paul Tergat who is the second most popular African in Brazil after Nelson Mandela or even Henry Wanyoike who has proved you don't need to have eyes to have a vision!
Yes, Riverwood is doing well but isn't it time they started concentrating on telling the "Real Kenyan" story? Not to take to Hollywood, but to give us Kenyans a sense of patriotism and need to get rid of this notion that it is the West that will save us, no, its us and our God! Believe that!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Remembering Cobra Squad...

Sloppy acting, an equally weak script and an annoying set of events is what Cobra Squad brought to your living rooms every Sunday.
Our dear Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua continues to ruin his reputation whenever the show hits the airwaves because if there is one program I would help pay so as it never gets back on telly, it has to be Cobra Squad.
Season one was horrendous and unbelievable that such a show would grab a prime time slot on television and so when it ended I was very happy that the assault had come to an end. Then they brought back season two! Who said lighting doesn’t strike twice?
My problem with the show has nothing to do with who is producing it but rather, how it is produced. If it is acting, it has to be the worst in the history of bad acting, a script that clearly is not written but sent via SMS to the actors and action scenes that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Once in a while, I attempt to watch the show but it just never makes sense. Usually, a plot should lead somewhere and not into a Zain store or a hotel where one orders for Brookside milk, it should be able to captivate and get you to talk or think of what’s next. But no, not Cobra Squad, every scene is an advertising gold mine and that is where problem lies.
What is the objective of Cobra Squad? It definitely does not intend to build an actor’s career or such, its just an opportunity to make money for the Producer, writer, cameraman, director, financier and marketer all who are the same person, Mutua!
It is good to see corporates getting on board but I doubt they get value for their money for appearing on this show because all they get it quantity not quality in the product placement segments.
A mad man can go shouting a brand all over time and I doubt you can call that advertising. All Cobra Squad needs to do is get writers, cameramen and better actors and it will start being relevant because all those choppers, AK 47 rifles just confuse the show the more.
Look at smaller budget programs like Mother in-law, Papa Shirandula, Tahidi High, they are a bigger brand that Cobra Squad which I might start calling Cobbler Squad soon.
There is still time to rescue the show but that depends on the objectives.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Omosh, the Tribal council has spoken U have been voted off the island... of comedy!

It has been a while since I heard someone call for a National prayer day to pray for our country since last year when we completely lost our heads.
I know we don't need a prayer day to dedicate our country to God but I think I should call one on supposedly the next big comedian Omosh.
I have watched that thing he calls a show for two weeks and I can say that I love watching that show as much as I love the smell of burning garbage.
To be honest, I have heard more creative jokes while watching the weather updates than I have from the last two shows of "Hawayu".
First things first, who is Omosh, Churchill, Kajairo or Nyengese? He doen't seem to know whethere he is a stand up comedian or an actor. There is a difference I tell you.
He needs to define what his craft is and then stick to it as a way of giving the audience a chance to know him and get to understand where he is coming from. He is trying to hard to be funny.
Don't even get me started on the name so I will just zoom past it because isn't Churchill the one who invented or atleast made it famous?
On the show itself, everything seems to be going wrong for young Omosh because from the lighting, sound and even props, they are all a big turn off and that is made worse when he steps on stage with skits that are done at Daystar.
I have no beef with Omosh as a person, I think he has some talent somewhere, what I have a problem with is his rush to be a star.
For heaven's sake, he is 22 and still in college, what happens when he hits and after a year and he is done? Spend the rest of his years as savouring the moments?
The Kenyan audience is one of the most unforgiving crowd I have ever met. They may seem interested until you cross some imaginary boundaries they set for you and they will never even look your way after that.
The one thing that Omosh is missing apart from creative jokes is patience and I know even his three fans agree. He started out in December and six months later he has his own show? How lucky can a brother be?
Moving from two minutes at Churchill Live to having 30 minutes with Hawayu is no small feat and I doubt he knows whats at stake.
The money may be good now but the money will always be there if you take your time, grow and then have a bigger audience and influence.
Many people say that we need to give him time. I agree, but shouldn't he give himself time to grow first? It is his career not the audiences.
I feel for him because this is the second time in a second station that he is trying to have his own show with disastrous results within a span of five months.
Unless he has nine lives like a cat, I think he should take a bow and exit the stage until such a time he is ready and maybe, just maybe, we can give him a third chance. Comedy is no laughing matter I tell you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

And here's the NEWS... Or lack of it!

News anchors! Where do we start, they are a thankless lot you know. Everyday they are welcomed into millions of households in Kenya and but when they leave, (if the hosts decides to let them stay the length of the news) they leave a bad taste in our mouths.
Reading the news is not small feat but we expect that by the time we see a face presenting the news, they have been through the drill and can follow the autocue seamlessly and once in a while wow us with an off the cuff report.
But that's not my beef, its the lack of chemistry between anchors that just gets to me. The nine o'clock news are now presented in pairs and in some stations, that is just disastrous.
From blondes and bimbos who can't follow the autocue to know its their turn to trying dry jokes where only them laugh, the pairing on television is just bad.
What was supposed to be a new generation of news casters is proving to be a step back to the days of Hamisi Themor when you sat through the news and pick up the necessary bits like wher the President went to church followed by the VP.
There is no creativity as far as news casting is concerned because all they do is read the autocue, line up a clip to go with it and we are done.
The girls of TV are the worst affected, they think that their looks is enough to make us enjoy them doing their work but sadly they are mistaken.
The guys, to be honest are a bit more composed, steer clear of dry jokes and they just do their do and wait for end month.
The girls, they try stuff that really never works, like showing us their handbags, trying to comment on a clip they have no clue.
It goes something like this; "Wow, that was something. What do you think?" and the other says; "I know its really something right?" (Giggles)
Now, we all watched the clip, what is "something" and how is that supposed to help me as a viewer enjoy the news?
If you were to adlib, that is, share a thought you have, it better be concrete and at the very least, make sense. Is that asking for too much really?
Female anchors should be able to make us want to watch the news and not care if we will understand a word they say, so if you are a girl and people tend to listen to message you have, then you are doing somethign wrong.
Why do you think Esther Arunga is so loved? You can listen to her but it is legal to let your mind wander after sometime. Men say it ain't so?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Talk shows or blondes anonymous?

Female talk Shows. They are a women best friend alongside Soap Operas and the opposite sex swears by them taking in everything they are told without questioning.
Oprah Winfrey, the biggest name in the art and slowly but surely Tyra Banks, seems to be creeping into that position and the women are loving every minute of it because, to quote my baby sister, "They have variety!"
Well, that variety seems to be coming to Kenya but it looks like nobody is taking notice because, to be honest, Kenyan talk shows are borderline pathetic.
Now, I am not a fan of talk shows and their emotional nature apart from when they have some serious guests like Donald Trump, Obama and other heavyweights who make news anytime.
Over the last year, female talk shows have literally exploded on our screens and now we have The woman's show, Sebuleni, The Patricia Show, Today's Woman Show and others that I cannot really remember.
My problem with these shows is that they are the most depressing shows you will ever catch on television together with Catalinas where the women are always crying their eyes out and the men are shirtless and they never smile.
Our local shows have nothing new to share and they seem to recycle every woman who has been on television or one who is burdened with life's problems.
I know women go through a lot in life but is that all there is to women? As a society, we need to celebrate women and not always bring someone who has a sad story which sometimes are pushed to a unbelievable heights.
If you listen, you might hear something like this; "I have single handedly raised my children alone." I know that is sad but wait till you hear what comes next. "I have nine kids and none of their six fathers helps me in any way and now I am pregnant with the tenth."
Now, how am I as a viewer supposed to do? Cry, laugh or switch off my telly? All this time, there is a host whose main purpose is to look good on telly and she just looks at the "victim" and all she can muster is; "Oh, pole sana." Really? What about telling her to stop delivering kids like she is a conveyor belt?
Even Oprah Winfrey has times when she livens up her show with celebrities, giveaways, humuor and even road trips with some of her biggest fans. Why can't these shows try to liven up their shows and then stop bringing audiences whose main role is to smile for the camera?
Even at the office I have asked some of my female colleagues and they are all seem to agree that female talk shows in Kenya are a waste of time.
If you want to know just how bad the local talk shows are doing, ask any girl you see to name you what they love about these shows and you will be shocked. They would rather wait till midnight to watch Tyra or Oprah than watch these daytime weepy shows. Although why do our stations insist on bringing daytime soaps at midnight and bring porn during prime time hours?
Clever by half perhaps?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Air heads and Radio; Match made in HELL!

There is no dispute that our radio industry has blown up in a massive way and continues to stay on the top but I have some issues with the new kind of radio presentation.
Call in sessions used to be spaced throught out a four hour show such that a presenter had ample time to indulge their audience with the substance that's between their ears but sadly this is not the case anymore.
Do you that just about anyone can host a radio show and I mean everybody who can say this; "What do you think about that? Call us on blah, blah..."
Yes, that is the only thing you get when you tune to your favourite radio station and to be honest, it bores me so much I can feel my hair growing.
What happened to hiring presenters who pick a topic, a relevant one at that, and then tell us their side of the story or give us tit bits that helped us get our general knowledge sharpened?
Whether its a business deal with the mobile phone companies or just lack of content, radio listeners are being taken for a ride and many don't even know as they are busy calling in to hear how they sound on radio.
When was the last time you listened to a radio presenter and the talk did not end with you being asked to call in and give your two cents worth?
I have no problem with call in sessions but they should remain just that, sessions and not run the darn show from start to finish.
A presenter sees a picture in the papers or even saw someone crossing the road as they went to work; "Call me and tell me what you think about that."
They had a drinking session the previous night or are in a bad mood or got dumped; "What do you think? Call me and let's talk."
Why don't you just come and pull my hair dear presenter? Blondeness has been allowed on radio while all this time some qualified and interesting next big radio presenter is somewhere looking for a job with no hope.
Radio executives need to address this because at somepoint, you the listener will be asked to call in and just run the show and this I can bet you affects the quality of a show.
I know that to be a radio presenter is tough because but isn't that why very few make it on radio? The doors have just been flung open and every person who can talk with an accent is eligible.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time to punish useless entertainers!!

Recently, my favourite television host Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear was on the receiving end after he called the British Prime Minister a “one eyed idiot”.
He apologised but he received some nasty backlash from the public through death threats, people spitting at him and calling him names and my favourite, getting CDs of the Sugarbabes and James Blunt sent to his house.
Now, the music is considered as torture by the Brits and that was the reason they sent it to him. That got me thinking, if it was Kenya and people were to send some “torture” music to him, which songs would make it to Clarkson’s door?
It was not hard coming up with names of artistes whose music I would personally buy to ensure he gets good quality “bad music”.
On top of my list would be a compilation CD of tunes from artistes, Mr Lenny and Choku, these two just keep doing songs even when the crowd clearly hates it.
I would like Clarkson to be really tortured while listening to the two artistes attempting to sing and I would even own up if the authorities started looking for the culprit.
Other songs have to be Nyota Ndogo and Mr Blue, Magwezere by Bugs, Jua Yanyesha by Tattuu, Ti-chi by Kenrazy, Sarafina by Jaguar, Mambo Bado by Wahu, Muadhara by Jimmy Gait and many others that I forget.
But I would not stop at just music, no, no, Clarkson must really regret why he said that to the British PM and so he must suffer visually to and what better way that to get him to watch the full two seasons of Cobra Squad. I would actually send two copies of each incase one has a scratch.
After he is through with that, he will have to watch the Tusker na Milli TVshow and listen to a sorry Barasa and watch a pointless show. Other shows he will have to watch will be Inspekta Mwala, The Prime Time Show and the Coastal shows all over our stations.
By then, he will be begging me to stop and I will but there is one more thing, he will have to stay for one month with Hemedi.

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