5. The death of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
Come on, Game of Thrones. Admittedly, we knew, the minute you had Ned Stark killed off in season one, you weren’t going to be afraid to toy with our emotions. Ned Stark was a stand-up oke amid a sea of douchebags. Since then, 60 more characters have lost their lives in various scenarios of baroque cruelty. Some of them had it coming. Others are still fondly lamented: how unkind to rob Daenerys Targaryen of her true love Khal Drogo, even though it does seem to have given her a certain get-up-and-go colonising spirit. But in overseeing the fatal stabbing of Jon Snow, you’ve simply gone too far. Apart from the fact that he was the only reason why millions of women watched your show in the first place, we now all have to cope with hearing dinner-party bores drone on about their theories of how he’s not really dead. Jon Snow has become the Schrödinger’s cat of Game of Thrones, which is quite a wanky existential position.
4. The collapse of the relationship between Fitz and Olivia on The Fixer
With the current season of The Fixer winding to a close on our screens, it’s already clear that our worst fears are being realised. After having to sit through five seasons of the will-they-won’t-they tango between President Fitzgerald Grant and fixer Olivia Pope, it now seems they’re realising that actually they’re not such a hot match after all. We could all have told them this years ago. That would have spared the endless twittering about their “place in the sun” and the weird musical leitmotif that plays whenever Olivia gazes into Fitz’s anguished face in the Oval Office. Just do us a favour and ditch him for good, Olivia. Find someone who is neither the leader of the free world nor a secret killing-machine spy. Maybe try date a chef, because that popcorn diet you’re on can’t be meeting all your nutritional needs.
3. Piper’s affair on Orange Is the New Black
It was a pretty damn weird season of Orange Is the New Black all round, but it reached its zenith of implausibility when Piper ditched Alex for fellow inmate Stella Carlin, played by Australian model Ruby Rose. Let’s be frank: Rose is hotter than the Free State’s current drought, but the woman cannot act. I can only assume that it was owing to her inability to adopt a convincing American accent that the producers allowed her to remain Australian, because that aspect of her character made no sense whatsoever. Piper’s transformation from wide-eyed ingenue to prison gang boss, complete with a “Trust No Bitch” tattoo, is beginning to strain credulity. Then again, maybe the show’s writers are preparing us for the inevitable moment when Piper is made to kill someone to justify her still being in prison.
2. Our Perfect Wedding’s rape celebration
There’s an ancient Confucian proverb that holds that a country gets the reality TV it deserves. And in a land where pregnant primary school girls cause annual hand-wringing about youth sex, rather than youth rape, it’s little wonder that we have a TV show that in effect devoted an entire episode this year to glorifying statutory rape. Our Perfect Wedding told the poignant tale of a man who was a 28-year-old taxi driver when he met his 14-year-old bride-to-be.
Viewers were tacitly encouraged to sympathise with the fact that her family was initially opposed to the match, when the real question is what on earth prompted them to abandon this sensible initial position. The groom in question also bragged about bedding other schoolgirls. Mzansi Magic’s response to the ensuing controversy was essentially to shrug and say: “That’s South Africa for you.” Which is undeniably true, but perhaps they could have done a leetle more to problematise what is a genuine social scourge, rather than a feelgood happily-ever-after tale. What’s the message, otherwise: That rape doesn’t count if you go on to marry your victim?
1. Big Brother Mzansi’s alleged rape
The top dishonour in this hall of shame goes to another Mzansi Magic product: Big Brother Mzansi, which may have actually played host to a rape. We can’t be certain because the matter appears to have been so successfully hushed up that no evident resolution was ever reached. Mzansi Magic said it wasn’t sure exactly what happened, despite the fact that the alleged crime took place in a house where contestants’ every move is captured by a billion cameras. They also didn’t seem able to explain why the man involved had been allowed to remain in the show after an earlier incident when he groped a contestant against her will. Big Brother is watching you – except if you’re committing any kind of sexual assault, apparently.