Growing up in the United States, morning news shows are common place and for most families a part of everyday life. Moreover, people seem to be fiercely loyal to whatever show they watch, whether it is Good Morning America or the Today Show for example. Growing up, my family watched the one on CBS simply because our favorite news station in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, WCCO, was a CBS affiliate. We were loyal to WCCO and Mike Fairbourne always forecasted the weather accurately, and we would not waste our time with KARE 11 or channel 5.
Since I moved to host family #3, I’ve been introduced to the curious, yet wacky, world of Georigan morning news shows. I cannot believe it took me over a year in this country to discover this! I found out about the dubbed telenovellas on day one, but not this. With Georgian morning news shows, the first question one must ask is, “Where does one even begin?”
Most of my experience with them comes from the one on Georgia 1 TV (or something like that, it remains unclear what exactly the name of the station is), however, every other station is very similar. I’ve discussed this with my friend, Tom, and there seems to be definite trends throughout the stations, though most of my discussion will be based on Georgia 1.
The Set: One of the first things one notices is the set. I must admit, it is terrible. For those readers in Utah, it looks like they raided they clearance bin at Deseret Industries. (DI is the Utah equivalent of Goodwill or the Salvation Army). Nothing matches, and it is all hastily thrown together. At G1TV there is this hideous yellow, black, and apple green-coloured thing on the wall. Each day I try to decide what it is. I’ve come down to either apples or music notes, but when it is paired with the light grey wall it hangs on, it is especially fetching. The floor is orange and tan checked tiles. I also like the picture of Tbilisi in the fall covered in a fake window pane to give the impression one of looking out at a scenic vista of Old Tbilisi as the river runs by. The picture looks like it was printed on a daisy wheel dot-matrix printer as it is that grainy.
The Hosts: The hosts all seem to be in their mid-20s. Just today I realized that the hosts all seem to look exactly alike so as to be interchangeable, especially the two guys. I have no idea what their names are, but one guy definitely likes sweaters with oddly styled collars. Part of me wants to take this guy shopping to help him buy something that isn’t so awkward. The female hosts dress just like every other Georgian woman, which is a discussion I really do not want to get into. Let’s just say that at my school, I am the least dressed up staff member (apparently Birkenstock clogs do not scream “Stylish!” in Georgia) and that students will tell me how great I look just by adding a necklace. Moreover, I often get condescending looks from women on the street or bus over my apparel. I am not making this up. Actual faces of scorn. However, I felt vindicated recently when a Georgian man said that the shoes women wear here remind him of what a “certain type of woman” would wear in Germany. Or the US, as I added.
The News: This is perhaps the best part of the show. The “news” that is reported simply is, and I am not making this up, read from the newspaper. Some production assistant has gone through and highlighted what the host is supposed to read. Basically it is the title and the first paragraph or two. The highlighting is laughable as well. The highlighter is practically dead, and one would think with the money that was not spent on the set, that an adequate highlighter or two would be in the budget. Apparently not. The fact that the “news” is reported this way is a little unsettling, because by this method the show chooses exactly what is told to viewers and often what is reported is taken out of context. Moreover, most Georgians will just accept what is said as the truth as they won’t go to seek out the full story themselves. The partially reported news then becomes the whole story, and is perpetuated as such. On the station I watch daily there is a segment where one of the reporters talks to a retired Georgian dancer or actor or actress. Considering this is a daily segment, it is amazing that they keep finding new dancers to interview.