Fri Oct 20 12:45:34 SAST 2017

Top-of-the-pops Generations scores zilch at industry awards

2012-04-01 12:21:00.0 | MZWANDILE kaBIZOKWAKHE |

THE South African Film and Television Awards have come and gone and South Africa's premier TV show by audience numbers walked away empty-handed.

TWEEDLEDEE: Melusi Yeni plays the smooth and suave Phenyo. Picture by Bongani Mnguni
TWEEDLEDUM: Buyile Mdladla plays Generations' suave and smooth Lungile

One need not watch more than five episodes to know why Generations is trailing other soapies for industry recognition.

Of course the producers won't give a hoot - ratings still make for good reading - but the actors will bemoan the sliding standards of the art.

While this might be partly their fault, it also points to problems at the top.

Actors don't assign themselves to roles - they are either head-hunted or they audition and are chosen.

It's a major problem when one word can define all the male characters - barring Thami Mngqolo (Senzo Dlomo) - and that is: smooth operator.

The role played by Melusi Yeni (Phenyo) could have been played by Buyile Mdladla (Lungile) and vice versa; both are smooth, suave, well-groomed and pine for the attention of Katlego Danke (Dineo).

So similar are their roles that even the men look the same barring their facial features.

Interestingly, Carlo Radebe, though looking slightly shorter than the other two, falls in the same boat.

Until recently the show's male characters even used the same "damn it" expression.

Juxtapose this with their cross-town rivals in Isidingo where the character played by Don Mlangeni Nawa (Zeb) is markedly different from the one played by Vusi Kunene (Jefferson Sibeko).

Even between two business executives - Kunene and Jack Devnarain - there are still subtle differences; the devious Godfather versus the shy, straight-jacketed family man.

Skin colour aside, the only two characters that are carbon copies in Isidingo are Barker Haines and Jefferson Sibeko.

Though both bimbos, village idiot Karin van der Laag (Maggie) is different from gold-digging dimwit Tema Sebopedi (Lerato).

There is no deep, nuanced character in Generations, all are superficial and groomed to look sexy on screen.

Wanani Rantloane's shallow direction does not help. It would appear she uses one camera to save on costs hence the slow, pedantic scenes.

And she employs movement for its own sake - how often do we see characters swapping positions, leaving the discerning audience wondering why.

Small wonder then that Generations left the awards evening empty-handed.

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