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A Companion For The Night!

Thursday 16 July 1998
By eBroadcast Staff and agencies.

Late-night TV isn't all Home Shopping and husky-voiced phone services.

Not that Sebastian Vasta went looking for that sort of thing....



I've never stayed up all night watching TV. I'm sure that some 'teltales' readers have, but me, I'm a late-night TV virgin. Well, I was, until last Saturday night.

It started out innocently enough. I was watching The Pretender...quality viewing indeed. But I quickly tired of this unstimulating fare, and picked up the remote in search of something more...exciting.

Good News Weekend didn't deliver, and the frighteningly good Once Were Warriors only kept me awake. Before I knew it, the clock was striking midnight. The witching hour had arrived, and in the darkness, the TV took on an ethereal glow. It was time for Ground Zero.

I was initially pleasantly surprised by this show. The 'instant requests' included the fabulous Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys. Plus, that bloke from Cheez TV was absent, joy of joys - but unfortunately it left three somewhat clueless presenters. But this was late night TV, and by this stage I (and most of the show's audience) would be too tired to care.

Or too distracted. GZ is aimed squarely at the late-night internet user. Wired computers adorn the set, with people animatedly IRCing. The show is live, cheap, and sleazy. But I wasn't expecting anything else.

I was quite surprised with the live acts on the show, namely the DJ Endorphin. That impressed me greatly - unfortunately it was all downhill from there. Just when you thought there was one last denizen of resistance to his ego, Australian commercial radio's very own tryhard Howard Stern impersonator, Ugly Phil popped up with a timely reminder that this was crappy TV at it's best....or is that 'worst' ?

The interview, and performance, by a troupe of Spice Girls impersonators, was one of the most embarrassing things Id ever seen. At least they had the ugliness down pat. Not that Ugly or his offsider back in the studio cared much, they were more interested in Ginger's assets than the quality of their program.

The two female co-hosts struggled to cope with this wonderfully subtle male chauvinism, choosing to laugh it off with a perfect bimbo's titter. It's nice to know that we have finally achieved equality of the sexes. Channel Ten and Ground Zero: thank you.

Running from the large-sized head of Ugly, I stumbled across Rage for a few brief moments before that cinematic gem, 10, caught my attention. Somewhat more sexist and sleazy than GZ, 10 could be excused because it didn't have Monsieur Ugly, and hey, this was the Seventies, baby.

But Dudley Moore isn't the most well-cast of sexual heroes, and besides, it was time for Fantasy World Cup.

A brief self-plug: You may remember a recent column where I praised FWC; well, funny thing that, soon after that, the tabloids jumped on the bandwagon, Tony Squires and Richard Wilkins sat up and took notice, and suddenly this gem of a show was a talking point among the bleary-eyed soccer diehards. Remember; you heard it here first.

But enough of the breast-beating. Fantasy World Cup was reason enough to while away the night hours, but as the ensuing soccer match began, sleep finally caught up with me. I closed my eyes for a brief second, and the next thing I knew I was watching a gap-toothed newsreader....speaking Ukranian.

The bliss of the night was over, already forgotten as Bruce MacAvaney told of the wonders of underwater hockey. Suddenly, this daylight realm seemed insignificant. I longed for the comfort of dark, and the assurance of poor TV. Would this be a one-night stand ? No, I thought, this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I think I'll stay up for Pacific Drive tonight....


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