Young Talent Time returned to Australian television screens last night, and a reported 1.05 million viewers tuned in to watch the Rob Mills-hosted reboot of the variety show some of us remember fondly from the late Eighties.
In terms of the show’s premise and format, it stays faithful to the basic formula of the original: a cast of kids sing along to pop chart hits and perform choreographed dance numbers. Even so, I was overwhelmed with the sense that I wasn’t watching the same show I’d so obsessed over as a child aged below 10. There’s a reason for that, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the show.
Watching YTT as a little girl I found it inspiring and aspirational as an insufferable show off with dreams of becoming a dancer. Those older kids in coordinated fluoro overalls and edgy side ponytails performing jazz-walk across a full size stage were living the dream! On TV! These days my heroes and ambitions are very different – because I’m 29 years old, and because aspiring to the career of a pre-teen jazz dancer would be a real concern (not to mention right fucking creepy).
Speaking of creepy, the other draw card to watching the show as a kid was prime perv-time: An all-singing, all-dancing troupe of chaps with proper leg muscles, light-weight dancing sneakers and voluminous blond hairdos? Hot shit. Last night I found myself watching the performers through a whole new set of eyes (thank god). I observed the popping and locking and hitting of high notes with an almost-maternal appreciation: “Nice job, Nicolas,” I thought, “Solid finish.”
Truth be told I was kind of bored. But that’s fine, because Young Talent Time is not for me. It’s for little kids and their parents who can enjoy it together on a casual Sunday night and feel safe knowing that explicit language, adult references or sexual innuendo are guaranteed off the spice-free menu.
Apparently though, the target demographic wasn’t clear to a bunch of viewers who took to Twitter attacking the show and the young tweenage performers on it. On the other hand, there were a lot of positive tweets to come from – surprise! – parents. Here’s a sample of the mixed responses…
Young Talent Time will be back at 6:30pm next Sunday on Channel 10.