Category Archives: Television

When We Judge Others Unlikable – Starring Strictly and X-Factor on Social Media

I’ve been watching Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor
and people are very complimentary about the male contestants in general,
but the women are another story.

When We Judge Others Unlikable... Starring Strictly and X-Factor on Social Media - The Last Krystallos

Why do we judge people so much without true information? And why are confident, talented women so easily branded unlikable?

I’m very confused at the amount of judging someone’s personality on talent or media perception alone, especially women. For a start, personality is not based on talent or what we do, it’s who we are and we should never judge personality on hearsay, or without knowing someone.

Let’s take Alexandra Burke and Grace Davies. Both very talented at dancing and singing – their style might not be your cup of tea – but there’s no doubt they are amazing at what they do. However, I’ve seen so many Tweets and Facebook statuses branding these women unlikable, up themselves, over-confident etc… and it’s disturbing.

Both are open, friendly, confident, bubbly, talented, and much more, all the things we encourage our children to be when they are growing up. Yet these women are perceived as unlikable.

Grace Davies X-Factor Alexandra Burke Strictly 2017 Images- YouTube, BBC, PA, ITV

Grace Davies X-Factor and Alexandra Burke Strictly 2017: Images- YouTube, BBC, PA, ITV

How can women win or become equal when internalised misogyny is so prevalent? It appears that the majority of the comments come from women about women. Why are we tearing each other down over alleged personality?

Alexandra has danced beautifully in Strictly, been confident in her ability, smiled, wept (she lost her mum just weeks ago, so being emotional is expected), yet is judged an unlikable diva. Aston Merrygold (who lost his place a few weeks ago) was at a similar level of talent and confidence, and was widely liked and applauded. It’s been the same with Grace on X-Factor, another confident woman writing her own songs and singing with passion, bubbly and excited at the place she found herself in. The all-male group, Raksu, who won X-Factor also wrote their own songs, sang with confidence, and were friendly, fun and open, receiving much praise. Why is it different for women?

Both these women have fought, trained, studied, and worked exceptionally hard to become as good as they are in their fields, and yet, when it pays off we are so quick to judge their personality on appearances in the media.

If we show confidence in ourselves we’re branded unlikable.

I would hate to be judged on my public persona. It’s not me. I remember my form tutor at school in 4th Year (Year 10, I think) writing in my school report that I was aloof. I was devastated by that comment. I have never been aloof, shy, yes, aloof, no. It hurt me for years. I’m quiet, I build barriers, I live with crippling anxiety, yet I can be very confident teaching, speaking, and working in public. I hate being judged on a brief appearance, and a judgement is not valid until you know me.

We all have a personality, good and bad, and we can like or dislike who we want – I don’t like everyone! But I’ve become very disturbed at the way people, women in particular, have been branding other confident, successful women unlikable without knowing them.

 

Social media offers us an instant way to comment, to offer our opinion, to voice our thoughts without thinking (I do it too), and to become what X-Factor calls the fifth judge. We are armchair commentators, but we need to be charitable and kind to those we talk about.

I wouldn’t dream of tweeting that I dislike Alexandra, or claim that Grace is a diva – how would I know? I don’t know either woman. I can see that they are strong, confident, focused, and fighting for their place in an overcrowded world, but unless I know them personally, I won’t judge them on a few hours of edited television or a sensationalised newspaper article. We often comment without understanding that people in the spotlight are just like us. They may have developed a thick skin, but what we say can hurt, and our discernments are often flawed.

Say and believe what you wish in the privacy of your own home, but let’s be careful and kind online, and in our expressions of judgement.

Can we – and all those around us both in real life and in the media – not be happy and confident within our own bodies and minds without it being mistaken for being aloof and arrogant?

Lumia Selfie Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Have you ever been judged unfairly?
How did it affect you?

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Television Writers who Inspire and Enchant us

Do writers get the recognition they deserve?
As a writer myself, I’m going to say that in general they don’t.
There are millions of us out there with beautiful words to share,
and stories that would blow your socks off, if we just had the chance to be noticed.

But, I’m not talking about books today, though you can always check mine out at my website

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I’ve been watching The Good Karma Hospital on ITV the last few Sunday nights. It’s one of those shows where I wasn’t enthused by its name and hubby wasn’t keen on its description, but I love Amanda Redman and the trailers looked cool, or rather hot, filmed in Sri Lanka! So we gave it a try.

It’s a hit in my house, great acting by its entire cast – not just the leads, gorgeous scenery, humour and wit, lovely cinematography, and, last but not least, beautiful writing.

The third episode hit home for me. Clive Russell played an artist with pneumonia and Dr Lydia Fonseca astutely recognised symptoms of dementia. The acting was spot on, as it has been all series, showing vulnerability, compassion, and a multitude of emotions. Phyllis Logan is a gem in a part that draws you right into her dilemma. And these actors are playing supporting roles, the acting and characterisation is superb.

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© Lisa Shambrook

And that brings me to the writing. I’ve name checked three actors in this post, and I could list them all, but the actors are nothing without good writing. I’ve seen brilliant actors let down by poor storylines, lousy hooks, and lazy scripts. So, the writer is vital. Again, the entire cast and production team is important as it’s an ensemble in reality, but without the writer there is nothing. I’d love to see interviews with writers on TV, but often the selling point for a series are the main actors.

Dan Sefton is the writer and creator for The Good Karma Hospital, and he deserves recognition.  His storylines and characters are delightful, painful, gritty, realistic, vulnerable, and engaging. It’s the emotion beneath the protagonists that move the show along. The moment when Maggie (Phyllis Logan) bends at the height of her joy amongst the paint powder and dancing at the Holi celebrations, and whispers “I don’t want to die,” cuts you to the quick. She delivers the performance but Dan Sefton gave her the words and script to make it work – and it works! When writing and acting come together and pour out of the screen and into your heart, then you know you’re onto a winner.

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© Lisa Shambrook

I generally pick which series I want to watch according to the actors I love: Nicola Walker, Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Hugh Laurie, Amanda Redman, Peter Firth, and John Thompson are just a few that draw me to the screen, but the writers are becoming more a source to search.

Nicola Walker and Stellan Skarsgård pulled me into River last year, and I loved it. Abi Morgan’s writing, her script, was outstanding. It drew me into John River’s poignant world of awkwardness, fragility, strength, intelligence, and mental pain. I empathised with the lead, I felt what he felt, and I wept when he wept. It takes great skill to write scripts that move you.

Mike Bullen’s Cold Feet was always a favourite, but the revived 2016 series tackled depression, something Mike Bullen, himself, had experienced, and John Thompson’s portrayal of Pete slipping into despair was spine tingling. Excellent writing had me on the edge of my seat, as I’ve suffered clinical depression for most of my life, and when Pete stood on the edge of the cliff, I was right there with him. Mike Bullen’s writing was real, honest, and both he and Abi Morgan with River, were able to highlight conditions (that are often swept beneath the carpet) with truth and integrity.

Chris Lang’s Unforgotten had great stars in Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, but it was the ensemble cast that pulled his brilliant scripts together. Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch is another fantastic cast with great writing.

There are also wonderful dramas scripted by several writers or writing teams, like Humans, Wolf Hall, Sherlock, and many US dramas, I was a huge fan of The West Wing, and loved The Good Wife.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Good actors are, generally, what sell a TV drama, but good writing is what keeps us there. Take the time to recognise the writers behind the screenplays – it’s much harder than it looks!

I know most of these series are British, and only some have been shown internationally,
but what show really inspires you, which writers are the ones that make you tick?

What’s been one of your favourite shows?