In between spectacle and political correctness: Vamos con todo – An ambivalent news/talk show
María Elena Placencia and Catalina Fuentes Rodríguez
Vamos con todo is a mixed-genre entertainment programme transmitted in Ecuador on a national television channel. The segment of the programme that we examine in this paper focuses on gossip and events surrounding local/national celebrities. Talk as entertainment is central to this segment which is structured around a series of ‘news’ stories announced by the presenters and mostly conveyed through (pre-recorded) interviews. Extracts of these interviews are ingeniously presented to create a sense of confrontation between the celebrities concerned. Each news story is then followed-up by informal ‘discussions’ among the show’s 5-6 presenters who take on the role of panellists. While Vamos con todo incorporates various genres, the running thread throughout the programme is the creation of scandal and the instigation of confrontation. What is of particular interest, however, is that no sooner the scandalous stories are presented, the programme presenters attempt to defuse the scandal and controversy that they contributed to creating. The programme thus results in what viewers familiar with the genre of confrontational talk shows in Spain, for example, may regard as an emasculated equivalent. In this paper we explore linguistic and other mechanisms through which confrontation and scandal are first created and then defused in Vamos con todo. We consider the situational, cultural and socio-political context of the programme as possibly playing a part in this disjointedness. The study draws on the literature on television discourse, talk shows and (im)politeness in the media.