Wednesday , February 21 2024
It's time for us to step back into the Dragons' Den.

Is Dragons’ Den a Jack of all Trades?

I know that I tend to go all out with good or bad, but last night's Dragons' Den was certainly somewhere in the middle.  They still had the whole problem with over-announcing going on, but the animosity between the dragons was ratcheted up and that definitely helped things along.

I commented on it a couple of weeks ago, and it remained true last night, but the announcer that the show is kind of hyperactive.  He insists and saying what is going to happen just before it does and then saying what just happened right after it occurred.  On last night's episode he actually did both at one point.  "Dragon number three is about to bow out."  Dragon number three bows out.  "Dragon number three just bowed out." 

Really?  Is that necessary?  Is my attention span so short that I need the same thing said three times over the course of 45 seconds?  If the show actually required that much filler, if there was actually nothing interesting going on I could accept the repetitiveness.  It would actually make sense – they needed a way to increase the runtime of the show and couldn't do it with content.  That's not a show I'd necessarily enjoy watching, but it happens. 

My problem is that Dragons' Den doesn't need that sort of thing.  It's a better show than that.  Last night the dragons started arguing with one another.  One of them, Simon Woodroffe took it upon himself to argue with each and every other dragon.  He felt as though some of the investors ought to be encouraged rather than simply be slammed by the dragons.  He actually ended up forcing Rachel Elnaugh, another dragon, out of a deal.  He claimed that he did it because he wanted to work one-on-one with the entrepreneur, but his doing it followed so closely on the heels of his fight that one had to be suspicious of his actions.

His actual argument, encouraging investors nicely versus slamming them, brings up interesting idea.  Slamming entrepreneurs in an unkind fashion can make for really good television.  Encouraging and educating can also make for really good television, but a very different sort of television.  Very different, at least I tend to think of them as very different.  One is more high-minded and one is more interested in fireworks.  While they both can be good television, the goal of each show, it seems to me different.

Is the goal teaching others out there about running a business?  Is the goal to teach the entrepreneurs coming to the dragons about running a business?  Is the goal solely to entertain the masses? 

Dragons' Den seems to be trying to do all three of these things and more.  Maybe that's why I find it so interesting, maybe that's why I like it so much.  Of course, that might also be why they feel like they need their voiceover announcer to be overly talkative.  We might be hearing from him so much so that we can stay on the multiple tracks the show is running down.  If that's the case it's nice of Dragons' Den to do that for us, but I think wholly unnecessary. 

And, let's face it, they only have an hour (minus commercials) to do all those things, which makes it increasingly likely that they'll do none of them.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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