Polish TV isn’t known for its originality. In a world where the reality show is rapidly supplanting all others forms of entertainment every example of even this less than creatively taxing format on Polish TV appears to have been directly copied from elsewhere. What Poland needs are some homegrown program ideas. “What are Poles uniquely good at?” I asked myself. Before we are further assaulted by upcoming examples of the reality genre such as Dancing with Stars on Stilts or Underwater Celebrity Hairstyling I beg the Polish TV industry to consider the following ideas. I’m willing to accept a 50-50 revenue split.
Two Poles are seated on opposite sides of a table in a locked room. On the table is a loaded revolver. Each week the presenter starts a debate on an aspect of Polish grammar and then hastily leaves. Viewers are invited to place bets on how long it will take for one to blow the other one’s brains out.
Tension, violence, and a satisfying resolution are appreciated by TV audiences the world over. Poles will have the additional satisfaction of listening to a really good argument about transitive verbs while shouting at the television.
Episodes might be rather short. Perhaps it could be used as a filler between the news and the weather. Also, copycat arguments and killing sprees would probably sweep the nation each evening at around 7:30 but the death toll probably wouldn’t exceed that of the traditional holiday weekend road carnage, which doesn’t seem to bother anybody.
You’d better take back what you just said about third-person pronouns!
Mentioned in the News
Poles get a thrill whenever another Pole comes to the attention of somebody outside of Poland. The fact is invariably mentioned on the news. Ideally it should be for doing something noteworthy, but not necessarily. Stories such as “King of Swaziland once knew a Polish man – ‘He was an okay guy’ says king” or “Polish tourist in New York asked question on the street by CNN” are commonplace. This should be turned into a competitive activity. Two teams of Poles are sent abroad to try and get themselves mentioned in the news. The first team to get one of its members noticed wins the opportunity to star in a three hour miniseries about his or her life.
It would do wonders for Poland’s international image and Poles would have a guaranteed weekly glow of pride at having one of their own in the spotlight rather than having to wait around for the next volleyball tournament or ski jumping champion to turn up.
Of course, the easiest way to get on the news is to do something dangerous, criminal, or ill advised such as running naked down Fifth Avenue firing an assault rifle into the air. You’re not allowed to use that one.
Polish man asked “Where are you from” by UK passport control officer. “I was so proud” comments man.
The Kombinować Game
Poles are justifiably proud of their ability to circumvent ludicrous laws and to make do with what’s to hand. It’s a talent that had been developed over centuries of hard times and is usually summed up in the elusive Polish word “Kombinować.” In a way it’s the ultimate form of DIY. Unfortunately this often leads to Poles taking on jobs that they are dangerously underqualified to perform such as rewiring their house, or installing satellite dishes while suspended by the ankles over the side of uncle Bogdan’s balcony.
Working on the premiss that taking things to absurd extremes is invariably entertaining I envisage a show in which people from one profession are challenged to undertake a critical task in a completely different profession. Stefan, a florist from Stalowo Wola, is challenged to construct a gas-cooled nuclear reactor using only the contents of his cutlery draw. Gertruda from Zielona Gora is challenged to undertake a restructuring of national banking policy using only packet of cigarettes and an economics textbook in Urdu.
Putting the talents of a nation to use.
Nobody watches because it’s too much like real life.
Ideal for restructuring a nation’s economy or mending porcelain.
Contestants are shown neutral statements about Poland and are invited to find reasons to take offense for no well-founded reason. For example:
Presenter: Tonight’s first statement is: “Poland is the 9th largest country in Europe”
Contestant 1: I resent the generalization that there are eight ‘larger’ nations in Europe. What you people seem to forget is the sacrifice made by the Polish airmen and the betrayal at Yalta!
Contestant 2: For 120 years Poles were suppressed and not allowed to swear in their own language! Also: Copernicus!
(Audience goes wild. Judges award a 9.6)
Poland. It’s a country. People live there. More than that I’m unwilling to say.