We always find the Greek people are wonderfully kind and helpful. They are rightly proud of their historical accomplishments and cultural contributions dating back to times of antiquity. But somehow both their fashion sense and TV offerings seem to be stuck in the historical period of the 80s which is weirdly kinda cool in an outdated and nostalgic kind of way.
Because we have been doing so much time at anchor waiting for the wind to abate, we have watched more TV than would be usual. It’s been a relief to have some mindless noise and distracting entertainment to think about other than the howling whistle of high winds that have been the percussion to our life for the past week. Our preference is not usually for free to air tv. But we have decided to expose ourselves to some real Greek life and have been watching the channels we can tune into rather than our preferred YouTube which sucks up data at a rate that’s going out of fashion with our UK roaming plan and short-term Greek sims. We are always mindful of the rate at which we eat data because we require it to run our navigation and maps while we’re sailing.
Grecian TV has the usual type of programmes and formats you’d see almost anywhere in the world. And there are syndicated game shows galore. They have “Survivor” featuring a range of Greeks wearing little to nothing stuck on a remote island (Fiji we think) trying to outwit, outlast and outplay their fellow contestants. There are scheduling similarities such as “The Chase” nightly on weekdays featuring Greek geniuses that lead into the 6.00 pm news timeslot. We swing by “Wheel of Fortune” that we would never ordinarily watch, but we check it out for 2 or 3 minutes just to critique the glamourous co-host’s clothing, which mostly features shiny satin-type short frilly frocks partnered with stilettos of a style not worn since the 80’s that Paula Abdul would have been proud of.
Mostly, Greek TV is akin to living in New Zealand in the ’80s … but dubbed with subtitles. “Little House on the Prairie” is listed in the TV guide as ‘Small House in the Meadow’. The movie “Raining with a Chance of Meatball’s” is simply “Meatball Rain”. Even the Australian cartoon for kids that is called “Bluey” about a Blue Heeler dog and her family that is our 1-year-old grandson Alek’s favourite programme in New Zealand, is dubbed and subtitled and available to watch every day. And we even get to hear the familiar twang of a kiwi accent twice a day when New Zealand’s Nigel Latta’s programme “Mind Over Money” plays mid-morning and is repeated every night.
Even the commercials are interesting. By far, the most featured adverts are about long covid which feature 4 or 5 different commercials an hour. Unlike New Zealand television, we are not interrupted every 10 or 12 minutes with ads. These play only once an hour for about 10-15 minutes, which means there is a useful period between programmes when you can shower, make a cuppa, tick off a task from the list of things to do etc. And at the end of each programme, a list is shown of all the commercial sponsors from the preceding hour, which provides some well-received transparency of funding in that respect.
But the thing we have enjoyed most is the period programmes in English that are subtitled with Greek. We began by discovering ‘Victoria’ which we enjoyed thoroughly and had a reasonable degree of historic accuracy. But the joy of joy’s – we are now enjoying BBC’s ‘Poldark’ which plays a double episode each evening. Greg says it’s really a soap opera and he’s probably right. But there are no soap commercials supporting the timeslot. It seems to be sponsored by a frozen foods company called Parnassos, which just makes me laugh. TV advertising here seems to be about less waffle and about more falafel I guess.
And in line with the feeling of nostalgia that comes with our recent viewing pleasures, here’s one of the best nostalgia songs of the 80’’s with Paula Abdul’s ‘Straight Up’. The choreographer turned dancer started as an LA Lakers cheerleader before choreographing routines for Michael Jackson and ultimately becoming a recording artist.
Wouldn’t like to get my love caught
In the slammin’ door
Are you more than hot for me
Or am I a page in your history book
I don’t mean to make demands
But the word and the deed go hand in hand
How about some information please (please please please)
Straight up now tell me
Straight up now tell me