Tag Archives: Czech TV

Meat and Potatoes: Come Dine With Me, Czech Style

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Czech Come Dine with Me folk

Oh. My. God. This is brilliant. Worth moving to Prague for. Almost.

Some of you may remember that as part of my rather inconsistent efforts to master Czech I used to watch this. I switched on the TV at the appointed hour a few weeks back and lo and behold, what was I confronted with? Something strangly familiar and yet not, in the way that things in a foreign land often are. Then the penny dropped. Czech Family Fortunes has been dropped from the schedules and in its place we have Prostřeno, Czechland’s answer to that stalwart of British TV, Come Dine With Me.

For those of you unfamiliar with the programme’s format, it goes like this. Five strangers take it in turns to host a dinner party at their place and impress the other four with their culinary skills. At the end of each evening, they have to award points to their host. The person with the most points at the end of the week wins £1000 or in the case of the Czech version, 25,000kc.

The first episode I caught showed a modest middle-aged Czech lady from somewhere in Moravia shopping for items to impress her guests with. Did we see her pop out to her local Italian organic deli where every product had been carbon offset and ethically sourced? Oh no. We watched her pushing her trolley around Lidl.

Which items did she intend to wow her guests with? Caviar? Oysters? An olive or two perchance? Again, no. Brambory a maso – meat and potatoes. What else?

Even Czechman had to laugh. He doesn’t have to watch any of the episodes anymore though because one of my new favourite pastimes is regaling him with highlights from the show. Like the time one guy had an Argentian theme which was basically just an excuse to centre the menu around what most Czech people love: huge slabs of meat. The main course consisted of the thickest beef steaks I’ve ever seen accompanied by a tiny portion of vegetables. A sure fire winner you would have thought. Except that, much to my disbelief, most of the contestants complained about the portions being *too small*.

“But they were as big as my head!” I squeal.

“Hmm,” replies Czechman.

Last week there was Celebrity Prostřeno. There was a model lady with long blond hair. One man cooked cow tongue and dumplings. Model lady refused to eat the dumplings as they might make her waist expand. Just watching the cow tongue being boiled made me consider vegetarianism.

The thing is though, Prostřeno is only funny because it’s Czech.

Which is fine. Up to a point. But there’s a fine line between gentle teasing and disrespectful mockery. Perhaps its best not to poke fun at your host country’s way of life too much. It’s different, that’s all. Isn’t that why we expat types came here in the first place?

Shock horror! Czech model lady says no to dumplings!

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Five against five: the wonders of the Czech small screen

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It’s been raining rather a lot today here in Prague and  I’m feeling quite sleepy.  This should be the perfect opportunity to flake out in front of some mid-afternoon TV.  Sadly, there is a problem.  Digital switchover day was 30th April – last Thursday – and neither myself or Czechman has made the effort to buy a digital receiver or ‘set-top box’ as they’re called here.  I’d like to pretend that’s because we regard the medium of television as being beneath us and spend our evenings reading extracts from the Collected Works of T.S Eliot to each other, but the sad fact is, we’re both just lazy.

So, what delights am I missing out on?  Well,  my observations on Czech TV will be rather superficial, due to the fact that I can’t really understand much of it.  However, the daytime schedule seems to be dominated by re-runs of old American serials dubbed into Czech: cop shows and soaps and comedies, some of which I recognise, some of which I don’t.   Even in the Czech output, there are echos of formats I recognise from my trashy viewing binges back home:  reality TV shows where some grotesquely fat person is forced to exercise and stop eating too many cakes, another one where an angry chef shouts a lot at some hapless hospoda owner about how crap the food is (this one’s imaginatively titled ‘Yes, Chef!’) and a soap opera called, wait for it, you’ll never guess – ‘The Street’.  So far, so run of the mill.  However, there is one ray of gleaming hope in the schedules and it comes in the form of ‘Five Against Five’.

‘Five against Five’ is the Czech version of the quiz show called ‘Family Fortunes’ that used to be on in Britain when I was a youngster.  There are two teams each with five people in (hence the catchy Czech title) who try to guess the most popular answers to a question posed to 100 members of the public.  Here’s an example, just in case you haven’t got the idea.  Name something that people consume a lot of in hospital (I know, I thought this was weird).  The top answer?  Blood, closely followed by tea.  Apparently the reason for this is cultural: the Czechs also believe that consuming vast quantities of some special tea-like brew when ill will restore you to optimium health.  My students tell me the stuff is vile.

Anyway, the main reason I love the show so much is that it’s the only thing on Czech TV which I can actually understand.  Some of the questions are real posers.  For example, name a quality which a good secretary needs.  Foreign languages?  IT skills?  Yes, they were all up their on the board but so was – S-E-X.  The Czechs are certainly far less politicially correct if their quiz shows are anything to go by.  Czech this one out (pun intended).  What toy doesn’t a little girl like to play with?  Soldiers?  Lego? A toy car?  One team member actually said (you can see where this is going…) – penis.  Even the normally loquacious presenter was lost for words when the contestant came out with that one.

Thanks to the fact that the answers are flashed up on the screen, I can manically flick through my dictionary in an effort to build my vocabulary and work out what the hell is going on.  This is now my idea of fun here in Czechland.  I think my next entry needs to focus on the more typical expat pastime of drinking Budvar in smoky backstreet pubs until the wee hours, followed covering the cobblestones in vomit.  Perhaps I could skip the last part.

V ateliérech zřízených v nevyužívaných výrobních halách Modřanské potrubní, a.s. se točí i po výměně moderátora Petra Novotného za Petra Lesáka a v nových kulisách.

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