Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Correct Me If I'm Wrong

It's nice to know that these days, no matter what area of domestic life you might be having trouble with, there's a reality TV show that can sort it out for you. Kim & Aggie will clean up your house, Gillian McKeith will change your diet, Supernanny will sort out your kids, and the Sex Inspectors will solve any problems you might be having in the bedroom. You can't go wrong. Unless of course you have a hopeless husband.

But fear not. Spotting a gap in the market, ITV1 have rushed in with 'Transformed', a new three part series which began last night with a show subtitled 'Hopeless Husbands'. The programme introduced us to three such men, while constantly playing the theme to the old 'Peanuts' cartoons in the background. No, I'm not sure why either.

First up was John from Newport, who stated that "every woman loves a bastard". Well his wife certainly does. John justified his decision not to do any housework with the cast-iron reasoning that "you don't have a dog, and bark", before holding up a roast potato and declaring that "this is what a wife is". So clearly being Welsh is the least of his problems. The man can't distinguish women from root vegetables.

Next came Kam, a customs manager who seemed to prefer the customs of the 19th century. He told us "I don't like the chores in my home to be split", before adding "it's better to be laid back now, because by the time I'm 60 I'll be knackered out". Which is true. Nothing guarantees an early death like a bit of ironing.

Finally we had David from Norfolk, who'd taken early retirement to become a gamekeeper. He admitted he was out of the house all day, every day, seven days a week, but as he said himself, "it's disappointing for Marilyn, but it's my life now". Yeah, what's that woman complaining about? She needs to learn to get over her disappointment.

Anyhoo, the three men were duly dispatched to 'The House of Correction' (which sounds like the kind of place a Tory MP would pay good money to attend), where they met the triumvirate charged with making new men out of them: life-coach Kate Marlow (pictured above, looking far more glam than she really is), ex-marine Scott Ritter, and psychologist Philippa Davis, who was attempting to make sense of the 'Peanuts' theme by offering psychiatric help for 5¢.

Saying goodbye to her husband, John's wife Tanya attempted to explain that she feels he doesn't appreciate the fact that she works a 40 hour week. His response of "And?? I'm not bothered. I couldn't give a shit" suggested that maybe she was right. Meanwhile, David was getting more upset about leaving his dog than his wife.

Once arrived at The House of Correction, Kam made his way upstairs, put down his bags, and declared "I'm actually knackered. Really, really knackered". Thank god they didn't ask him to do any ironing. So it was straight to bed, before facing their first daily task - working as chambermaids in a nearby hotel. Kam managed to change a couple of pillowcases before collapsing from exhaustion, while John just spent the morning giving Scott the finger.

Back at the house, Kate reflected on the task by asking John "How do men make women happy?". John thought for a moment before responding with "Give them a month's wages". Which turned out to be the wrong answer. According to Kate, "you give them your time". Which explains why Michael Winner gets all the pretty girls - he's obviously got a lot of time on his hands.

The second day was perhaps the most intriguing. Unless of course you're familiar with the concept of solving relationship problems by stroking horses. David was partnered with a stallion called Butch, Kam a large mare named Zara, and John a Shetland pony called Mopsy - a fearsome beast which naturally he was too scared to touch.

But having attempted to get in touch with their equine sides, the men moved on to a lesson in wining and dining. They already knew how to whine of course, but this time they had to do it in a restaurant with a member of the opposite sex. The three showed starkly different methods of chatting up a lady. Kam listed all the major A-roads near his home, David talked about his background in instant mash, while John just went straight in for a kiss. Clearly the horse-stroking had taught them nothing.

The remainder of the week was spent cooking, dancing, and self-defence training (which is pretty much all you need to survive a modern marriage), before the trio were sent home new men. Apparently. And the verdict..?

Well, Marilyn was happy, Tanya complained that she was confused and felt like she was living with a stranger, while Kam's wife Alpa, who sounds like muesli and is about as nutty, found she couldn't cope with Kam's insistence on doing the household chores, and told him "You irritate me. You're trying to please too much", before listing everything she hates about his new attitude, seeing the look on his face, and adding "I knew you'd take it the wrong way".

So there you go. Conclusive proof that if you want your wife to be happy, forget the horse riding and Salsa, and just stay as you are.