Screensavors: The real survivors

It was with rare delight that we discovered a TV show that spoke to our generation. Welcome to 'Hanirganim', our version of the BBC's great 'Grumpy Old Men.'

nirganim 224 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
nirganim 224 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sure, we were going to write about the debut of Hisradut, Channel 10's new Survivor-copy reality show that's been taking over the screens and TV sections of newspapers for the past few weeks. We were going to. But we had, well... a technological challenge. For those of us over age 40 or so, those moments are becoming more frequent. We don't SMS, for example, since it makes us think of the Marquis de Sade. Open a new folder on the computer? You gotta be kidding. So it was with rare delight that we discovered a TV show that spoke to our generation, the over-40 men who've had all they can take and can't take it any more. Welcome to Hanirganim, our version of the BBC's great Grumpy Old Men, which debuted here Sunday night at 21:30 on YES Docu. Like Survivor, Hanirganim is an Israeli copy of a foreign program. While Israeli attempts to duplicate such shows have been hit-or-miss, this one's spot-on, thanks to the work of editor and narrator Shai Avivi, formerly of The Cameri Quintet and an absolute genius. The choice of the grumpy old men themselves is also brilliant, ranging here from Gidi Gov to Dr. Yariv Ben-Eliezer, Ben-Gurion's grandson, media expert and campaign strategist, to satirist Yair Nitzani, along with several others. All are outstanding. The debut program, titled simply "Faster," focused on technology, and began, as each program does, with our tired, 40-plus fellow, getting out of bed in the morning and trying to simply make some sense of the crazy technological world around him. Taking on device after device, the panel of grumps took shots at them all, beginning with cell phones. "There are 250,000 functions I have no idea how to access or use," confesses Gov. "So that none of these devices feel slighted, almost all of them make me feel like an idiot," says Ben-Eliezer. Dr. David Gurevitz, also one of the grumpies, explains that our addiction to our cellphone is because we believe that "I talk, therefore I am," as we similarly postulate that "I buy, therefore I am" and "I'm in the loop, therefore I am." And exasperated grump Avi Cohen adds that "every cell phone upgrade does't require just a course - it requires an advanced class, another degree." Following our typical grumpy old man around, the program then moved on to the computer, particularly the back of it with its forest of mesmerizing wires. "How can I give a name to a folder?" asks Gov. "What is it? A dog? A kid?" Then on to stereos, where Nitzani recalled how when you were single, you put a record on a turntable, put on headphones and had a ball. That, he notes, ends when you get married. "Then it's over. First kid comes, and it's Dig, Dig, Doog on the TV all day. Then it's Pinkuky the Dog stories...." Been there, done that. On to plasma and LCD TVs. We almost fell over with laughter when one of the grumps demonstrated how unfortunate visitors to a local shwarma joint are now forced to eat with their eyes trained up to the huge new screen just installed at almost every eatery these days. And Nitzani took aim at the wave of reality shows, especially the investigative ones with undercover reports. "We see hours of TV via someone's handbag," he noted. To escape all the technology inside, our Grumpy Old Man goes outside, but there just is no respite. Gov takes on the idiots who conduct loud conversations on the street, while Ben-Eliezer notes that the whole thing started even before cell phones. "We yell 'Hi' to each other at the movies. We're just barbarians." Meanwhile, Avivi defends our right to not be available on our cell phones, suggesting that we tell the incredulous person on the other end: "No, I wasn't available - I was going to the bathroom, OK?!!" Escape can't even be found at the local coffee shop, notes Nitzani, where the sandwich clerk yells out your order, embarrassing you almost as much as the nurse at the local health clinic who yells out: "OK, syphilis guy, the doctor will see you now." Junk mail, talkbacks - they all had it coming and got theirs on this wonderful version of the also delightful British series. While you don't have to be over 40 to enjoy it, Hanirganim likely will play best with... grumpy old men like us. But we bet others will find themselves nodding in agreement as they await the next technological debacle around the corner.