Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Hey Hey the Reunion

After 28 years of appearing live every Saturday the Hey Hey show finally left television back in 1999. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the end of the show that so many Australians grew up with they brought back the cast, crew, and some of the guests that had appeared on the show during its original run for two reunion shows.

Watching the parts of the reunion shows that I saw brought back memories of both the good and bad aspects of the show which I watched during the earlier part of its original run but had stopped watching some years before it finally ended. Unfortunately many people’s enjoyment of the second of the reunion shows was damaged through the inappropriate behaviour of one of the international guests who took exception to one of the performances that was a recreation of one that had been on the show originally some twenty odd years earlier. This incident has apparently caused major discussion in his home country (where such an act would perhaps be completely inappropriate).

Here’s my understanding of what happened. The original act as performed back in the 1980s was performed by six medical students. These students between them represented a number of different cultures with most coming from different Asian countries. Their selected lead singer was Indian. Only one of the six was white. Together they performed a tribute to the Jackson Five by performing one of the Jackson Five’s songs. To kelp to make them look more like the group they were performing the tribute to they all painted their faces black and donned black wigs. Given their multicultural background that was the only way they could have made themselves look like they were related.

In the reunion show those same six people – now all doctors or in other specialist medical professions – came back together to reproduce the act that they had performed back in the 80s. Now some people might consider this to be in bad taste considering how recent it is that Michael Jackson died and they really ought to have considered that aspect of it before deciding to include the recreation of that act in the reunion show. I suppose the fact that the act was always intended as a tribute to the Jacksons meant that the show organisers saw nothing wrong with its inclusiion so soon after Michael’s death.

The American guest who had been invited to act as a judge on the recreation of the “talent” show segment that was being recreated had a completely different objection though. He just took great offence to the group painting their faces black and donning wigs. Now given what happened in the past in his own country with treatment of blacks by whites and portrayal of blacks by whites in tv shows many years ago such an act would be totally inappropriate to perform there and the group performing the act were well aware of that. They weren’t performing their act in his country though, they were recreating a tribute act that they had previously performed some twenty odd years ago for a reunion special. The guest just completely forgot where he was and the reason for the show and reacted in a completely inappropriate racist manner.

The host of the show went so far as to apologise to the guest on air at the end of the show (after all he was a guest who had unfortunately been offended by something on the show). It’s just a pity that they had to invite that guest on the show in the first place as such racism as he inadvertantly displayed has no place in Australian television.

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