Border Security. Wot Cuns.

Do you like dogs? Have any people skills? A thing for rubber? Then your country needs you.

AS WE ALL KNOW, I’M not a proper television reviewer, but I did pretend to be the other day by checking out the ratings. As I scanned the national top 20: It Takes Two, 60 Minutes, Where Are They Now, Seven News, I despaired. But I was, at the same time, a little smug. “Yes, well that’s what the bogans are watching.”

(Which reminds me, I received a letter from Joan, of Myrtleford, asking me to explain what a bogan is. So I will. There is a scientific equation to determine precisely whether you, or someone close to you, is a bogan: if your television is wider than your washing machine you are a bogan. The people who live over the road park their television in the driveway between the trailer they use to transport their Rottweilers to dog shows, and the carton of fags their 12-year-old smokes. They are bogans. And the bigger the telly, the bigger the bogan. OK, that’s sorted.)

Border Security is the most watched show in Australia, with almost 2 million viewers. Mostly bogan. How do I know? I don’t. I’m just guessing. But the bogans over the road are big fans. So I gave it the Deveny Three Episode Treatment.

Talk about putting the sizzle back into cavity searches.

Thousands of men and women dedicate their lives to protecting Australia’s border and after watching three episodes of this documentary/advertisement/propaganda I started thinking, “Who would want to be a jet-setting rock god, a Hollywood megastar or a secret agent of international espionage when you could work in customs?”

Hey, thrill seekers? Tried ice climbing, base-jumping and skydiving? Looking for a new rush? This program turns working in the public service into an extreme sport. It’s more than, “Did you pack your own bag?” It’s fully sick.

Border Security gives the viewer, or in my case, the piss-taker, an opportunity to take a peak under the bonnet of the Australian Customs Service, and it is fascinating. The show pumps the whole business up with a soundtrack heavy on cock-rock, not that it needs any more excitement, it’s adrenalised enough.

The show is alarming and comforting at the same time. It’s, “Alert! Alert! Funny coloured people who don’t speak English being dodgy trying to rip us off blind,” on one hand, and then, “But don’t worry the Government has it all under control so just sit back, watch McLeod’s Daughters and relax. We have everything under control”. It’s cops and robbers. It’s good versus evil. It’s us and them.

This show should be called Sprung Bad. Drugs mules, exotic snakes, illegal workers and a mental case throwing his false teeth at the Customs officers when asked to pay the duty on a slab of fags, all sprung bad. The drug dogs are clever, the customs officers are big on hunches and an overly chatty passenger is asking for some personal time with Mr Rubber Glove. Probably safer to just stay home.


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