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Michael Afenfia: Addicted to TV



So, I’m somewhat of a couch potato. I have no apologies for my seeming addiction to the television. In the height of my fascination, it didn’t matter if the programme was old or new, boring or interesting, local or foreign – I just had to affix my eyes on the small screen.

With hindsight, I blame my parents’ church for my problem, not in a Daddy Freeze way – I don’t want wahala! However, growing up, that particular church proclaimed it a sin to watch television or even keep one in the house, and my parents couldn’t cheat because apart from being staid in their membership, our living room was a house fellowship centre. So, for many years my encounter with television was only when we visited cousins or friends.

The thinking then, I believe, was that there was too much profanity and debauchery from such a tiny gadget or piece of furniture, if you will. So, if you really wanted to make heaven, every Television set must go.

As I grew older and the church relaxed its rules on the sin box, I became a compulsive TV watcher and “serioholic,” if there’s any condition like that. I could sit in front of the TV all day; I could even stare at it even if it was turned off, just as long as it was a television. Be it black and white, coloured, HD, smart, Internet – just let it have the ability to relay the news and show the movies, series or music videos I like, then be sure to find me glued to it.

There was a time I watched television for information and to broaden my knowledge. The entertainment factor is also quite high on my totem poll, but these days—and please don’t feel sorry for me—I watch to lure myself to sleep. Trust me, it works faster than any sleeping pill a doctor can prescribe. Family is family no doubt, but it sure can be embarrassing being nudged by the kids when the ending credits start rolling.

Whatever the duration of the programme, I always wind up watching just about fifteen per cent of it. The rest of the time, I’m snoring and acting my own film in dreamland, so please don’t say to me it isn’t embarrassing.

Over the years, like most Nigerians, I had followed quite a number of soaps, from Cockcrow at Dawn, Behind the Clouds, Checkmate, Mirror in the Sun, Fuji House of Commotion. These days I do Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Westworld, Big Bang Theory…I could go on and on. But for a while though, the exigencies of work and family life balance, coupled with data money and fuel for generator is almost weaning me off my indulgence.

One of my all-time favourites has to be Tinsel. I watched Tinsel from Mondays to Fridays and for almost four years I can boast that I never missed an episode, and this is a true story, thanks to the weekend stack ups and DSTV PVR decoders. The acting was top-notch and the plots and sub-plots, super intriguing. Mr. Fred Ade-Williams’ sagacity, Angela Dede’s mental issues, Brenda Mensah’s manipulations, Sunam’s treachery, Chuks Obi’s mischief and misadventures, Bimpe Adekoya’s cluelessness, Shiela Guardia’s je ne sais quoi…all added to 20 minutes of great African Magic entertainment, but not so much anymore.

As I write, the information menu for the programme tells me the production has surpassed the 2000 episode mark. That is no mean achievement and I congratulate the cast and crew for many, many years of commitment and consistency, but don’t they say in acting school and in life itself that it was always best to bow out when the ovation was loudest.

For Tinsel, I think the ovation is just now a whimper. It is not out yet and so shouldn’t those behind it be thinking of pulling the plug on the show? This is not bad belle; this is me calling on the producers to consider reinventing or retiring. Truth be told, the implausibility of the storyline is killing me. People die and rise from the dead like it’s some kind of children’s fantasy series. Plots and themes are repetitive and a couple of not-so-good acting and actors have whittled down the quality of what used to be my favourite programme on TV, next to Sunrise Daily on Channels TV.

This is what I do these days – I take a powernap between 7.30pm and 8:00pm, and wake up at 8:30pm to watch Jemeji, which is really good.

So, if you’ve been a fan of Tinsel, please feel free to share your thoughts and it’s really okay if you don’t agree with me.

A proud son of the Ijaw nation and lover of Nigeria, Michael Afenfia associates with everything good and exciting about Nigeria. His ongoing work, the Mechanics of Yenagoa, is published on his blog every fortnight. So far, he has authored three critically acclaimed novels and a number of nonfiction writing, including a biography. He is @MichaelAfenfia on social media and can be reached via [email protected]


  1. mee

    December 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    please you people should not scare some of us from this blog by refusing to post our comments. It’s not nice; everyone is entitled to freedom of expression!

  2. The Real Oma

    December 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Michael, I like your writing. It’s very captivating in its flow.
    As for the subject matter, we are quite opposites as tv has never been my thing. I watch the few shows on my phone or my laptop. I’m a sucker for GOT though.
    I never really followed Tinsel but I saw quite a few episodes when I lived with a lady who did and I thought it was an all round great production. But yep, I have also read comments from people affirming it’s about time it concluded but I suppose they must still have viewers or they would have pulled the plug already?

  3. The Real Oma

    December 22, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    And oh im only just now watching the Wedding Party 1 while its entertaining, it doesn’t quite meet all the hype that surrounded it. Sola Shobowale is a drama queen but my favourites are Ireti Doyle and Eyinna, I never actually realised how attractive dude is – it’s my first time watching him! And oh Zainab is a beauty ?

  4. Funmilola

    December 22, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve never really understood tinsel….i like TV too.

  5. Blesyn

    December 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    How can one be really productive if most of what you do is watch tv? I don’t get it.

  6. Tosin Abiodun

    December 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I’ve probably watched at least 95% of Tinsel’s over 2000 episodes. I’m an addicted soap watcher like you. There are soaps i’ve been watching for about 8 years, running everyday. To my mind, Tinsel was formulated after Generations but somewhere along the line, it became dry and drab. The characters weren’t dynamic enough and the set was too wooden and flat. I’m still following my south african soaps with excitement and bated breath but not the same for Tinsel i’m afraid.

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