Men, What do They Know?

Mimi ON Dec 03, 2008 AT 1:17 pm

This week our resident male columnist Iain Laurie draws us into the world of pushy celebrity mums.

Since the advent of Sky Digital and its kaleidoscope of channels we’ve seen ever more tawdry and desperate creations fill up our airtime. My new favourite is The Underdog Show on Living TV, where ‘celebrities’ like Raef from The Apprentice and Dorian from Birds of a Feather put their dogs through Crufts-type trials while Tara Palmer Tompkinson and Mark Durden-Smith present as if it were as monumental and emotionally trying as World War I.

One definite positive of all of these satellite channels, though, is the amount of American versions of British shows we get to see, Pop Idol, America’s Got Talent, etc. They are always vastly superior to their British counterparts because when it comes to producing artistically bankrupt TV America sets a brake-neck pace. The USA, it seems, will always be the home of crass, emotionally unstable showbiz.

However, one Brit is fighting back. I’m talking, of course, about Kerry Katona. Last week she shocked viewers by slurring incoherently at Fern and Phil on This Morning, probably drunk. It’s easy to sympathise though, if you wanted to get tanked up then go on telly, This Morning would seem the obvious choice, Judy Finnegan did it for years. Ms Katona is our equivalent of the American Britney Spears, whose life, we’ve learned this week, is to be made into a film starring herself as herself. The similarities between the two women are manifold: they both apparently gave up successful pop careers to concentrate on drugs, they both pushed out a ream of babies at the earliest possible convenience and they are both prime products of pushy mothers.

Britney’s mother, the formidable Lynne is the North Star of pushy mothers. She uprooted the family from a spacious house in rural Louisiana to a flat the size of a wardrobe in New York. From there the young Britney was dragged to auditions in a headlock whilst her husband Jamie (at 56 years old, surely the oldest Jamie since records began) was locked in the cupboard under the stairs from where his muffled protests couldn’t be heard (this is an educated guess). And then once Britney was successful she coerced her into writing a book called ‘A Mother’s Gift’, just to ram home exactly how much Lynne was boss.

If that was the stick approach then Kerry Katona’s mother, Sue’s, was the carrot. In keeping her Kerry well stocked with narcotics Sue would presumably use the old, ‘practice your dance steps or you won’t get your drugs’ routine to keep her young daughter on the right path to fame.

But despite all this, I am in favour of pushy mothers, how would TV talent contests get any competitors if there weren’t any? As such I am now preparing a pitch to TV companies for a show called ‘The Pushiest Mum’. In the early rounds the children are put in front of a panel of judges and invited to prove a complete absence of talent. When the least capable ones have been chosen they go into the second round where their mothers come in and force them to learn a skill to a professionally competent standard, with bonus points being awarded for the use of humiliation, physical intimidation and internationally condemned torture methods. I think it’ll be a good show, but of course, the American version will be better.

Britney and Lynne Spears

Britney and Lynne Spears

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