Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hands off my car!

The reality TV show craze has hit Azerbaijan hard and it could be ruining the country's work ethic. For some unknown reason the Mashin Show (translated: The Car) runs for an hour every night starting at 1 a.m. but it has no shortage of viewers and audience members, leading much of the country's exhausted workforce to spend their days discussing the program at the water cooler. Host Murad Dadashov watches over 13 young people - including some celebrities - among which is the irrepressible Roya. The rules are simple. You have to keep their hands on a car all day long. They return to a hotel at night and start anew in the morning. No bathroom breaks, nothing. Every episode one person gets voted off. The winner gets to keep the Nissan Sunny, worth about $15 k. Our fave, Roya managed to to make it to the final three before simply tossing it in, she said matter of factly, "I miss home. I have a car, so I'm leaving." Roya seemed relatively sane but the producers had to bleep out a lot of her cusswords and her sudden voluntary departure was seen as unfair to those who had tried to stay on, including rising star Ilhama Guliyeva.

The final two contestants were a comedian named Joshgun from Sumgait and a TV host named Turan. We were hoping Joshgun will walk away with the keys. But alas Turan won. Happy motoring big guy!

The same producers already have produced two seasons of another reality show called Gafas, ie: The Cage in which a dozen contestants between 18 and 30 live in a house together and the winner bags 50 million manat (about $11,000 US). There was a lot of people screaming at each other, so it was not as good as Mashin. Roya hosted the first season, but she was away in Turkey for the second, so it wasn't as good. They're hoping to make a third season but it's still not sure whether it'll be back.

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