Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Telly for the hard-of-thinking

Broken box. Bleak.
Programme makers today admitted that the way they put telly together has changed since there is now so much of it spewing forth into our living rooms from ever-sophisticated clever bastard audiovisual equipment.

"We used to make programmes that had a beginning, a middle and an end," wept one television producer, as he lamented the death of his craft.  "We educated, informed, entertained.  We made, if I may venture, bloody good telly."

The admission from channels such as the BBC and Channel 4 that their programming has altered to meet audience demand to be "literally ecstatic" for every minute their eyes point goggle-box-wards comes amid protestations from ITV that "they're copying us, we invented 'dumbed-down', for heavens sake.  What next?  If they start making the kind of programmes we cobble together after our heavy sessions in the pub, we'll either have to up our game or... Oh, no, hang on, we can just put Ant and Dec and that Cowell bell-end on more often.  Sorted.  Mine's a J├Ągerbomb."

Whereas older-style television programmes expected you to watch from the beginning to the end, paying attention right the way through the middle and remembering what had happened earlier on in the programme until the final credits rolled, the new format goes something like this:

  • Coming up!  <Cue montage of bits yet to come from the programme>
  • But first... <Bit of programme that you may never see again - pay attention>
  • Here's what we've just told you! <Were you paying attention? Didn't matter, here it is again>
  • Coming up next/After the break (depending on corporate status of telly channel - even BBC programmes get adverts on them on UKTV) <Here's what you're about to see. No need to pay attention, you'll see it again in a minute>
  • Just now/Before the break (ditto status of telly channel) <Here's what we told you already.>
  • Coming up! <Here's what you're about to see. No need to pay attention. You'll see it again in a minute.>
  • Here's the bit of the programme you may only see once or twice more.  Oh, go and make a cup of tea or cut your toenails, or write a novel, or anything else.
In fact, as the enormously-titled '80s television programme ironically beseeched a nation of bored school-age children, Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?

Well?  Why don't we?  We get what we deserve, televisually, after all...and what have we done to deserve TOWIE or Made In Chelsea, please?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Masterchef - cooking doesn't get tougher than this. Really?

Kitchen tools.

Angry boiled potato, Gregg Wallace, and his pole-arsed co-host, John Torode, today spoke of their excitement regarding the impending Masterchef final.

Thin lips a-flapping in their customary braying, the pair spewed forth a veritable feast of linguistic treats to describe their state of near frenzy about the prospect of three members of the public cooking them dinner.

"Cooking doesn't GET tougher than this," trumpeted Gregg, neatly overlooking the incident with the gimp suit in the prison kitchen from his shady past.

"They are going to have to cook for their Masterchef lives," intoned Torode, perhaps gleefully envisioning some sort of execution forfeit between courses.

So, the finalists.  Wide-eyed Shelina has been on a journey.  Andrew breaks down rather a lot, because cooking is tricky.  And Tom has facial hair.

With that in mind, the final should be exactly what a Masterchef final always is - full of laden forkfuls being slurped unattractively into the mouths of two barking gimmers, shiny kitchens with unfeasible numbers of implements, steam hissing from every pot and pan, as if miniature dragons lurk inside (and, given that this is Masterchef, they probably do, waiting to be part of some elaborate dish involving hay, soil and the sputum of a small vole).

Tune in to BBC One at 9pm tonight to find out who wins the final.  Alternatively, tune in just so you can finish yourself off to the dulcet tones of India Fisher as she Marilyn Monroes her way through the voiceover.  Either way, you'll end up with a microwave dinner on your lap, mindlessly forking overcooked processed fat 'n' carbs into your slack-jawed gob as you watch five-star food being dished up for dickheads.

Happy viewing.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Deal Or No Deal - it is just random box opening

Boxes. Little boxes. Don't know what they're made from.
Noel Edmonds today admitted that the hocus and, indeed, pocus that happens in the self-styled "dream factory" (aka Bristol telly studio where Deal Or No Deal is filmed) is, in fact, bullshit.

"I don't know how we've maintained the thin veneer of credibility for so long," he said, his well-preserved features as motionless as his bouffant hair.  "It is staggering.  For almost 45 years, we've held the nation in a sort of hypnotised thrall as they watch a random assortment of earnest-yet-irksome fools ripping Velcro seals off cardboard boxes.  It's incredible that we've had such a good innings, really."

Mr Banker, the guffawing sadist at the end of the phone, who makes offers of cold hard moolah to the members of the public fortunate enough to land places in either the east or west wing of the dream factory, said, "Oh, fuck.  He's only gorn and blown it, the twat," when he heard what Edmonds had confessed.  He went on to say, "Ah, well, that's me back to the Exchequer.  I only hope they don't notice that I've been siphoning off cash for the last 45 years.  Oh.  Whoops."

The general public's opinion was expressed, as ever, in the form of a lottery system.  This week, the enormous chubby finger swooped out of the sky and "It's You"d onto one Tim Cadaver, of Droitwich.  He said, "I've long suspected that Deal Or No Deal was just random box opening.  I said as much to my wife, 36 years ago, but she beat the shit out of me for suggesting it, so I went and lived in the shed and pretended Noel Edmonds didn't exist any more.  If you'll excuse me, I was halfway through crafting a cuckoo clock out of belly-button fluff and phlegm, so I'll crack on, cheers."

Carol Edmonds (no relation), who once appeared on the show, said, "As an 'Only Here Once' or 'OHO', I knew I wasn't going to deal, no matter what the gruff-voiced charmer on the end of the phone offered me.  My nerve broke when I actually spoke to him, though, and I crumbled at the end of the third round, when I'd lost four of my power five and had no fall-back position above £10,000.  I knew I'd never get to five-box, even though I had a complicated system that involved my dog's birthday, the house numbers of everywhere I'd ever lived and the hymns I had at my wedding, so I dealt at £2.74.  With hindsight, I should've gone on, as I had £100 in my box, so to speak, so I'd have been quids in."

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Daytime telly is a Big Society conspiracy to make you get a job

Vase, Mug, Vase.
Hello, and welcome to <some random castle nobody's ever heard of, Google is your friend here>, I'm Tim "My glasses are stupid" Wottacock and today we're going bargain hunting!

Coming up... <tedious montage of hefty couples trawling boot sales at first light, in the drizzle, clad in fetching blue and red nylon polo shirts and looking astonished that they had the fortune to get on the show>

So, let's meet our teams! <there's that sarcastic exclamation mark again>

For the Reds, we've got Cyril, a taxidermist with halitosis, and his mother-in-law, Beryl, who has long rued the day she gave her blessing for her daughter to marry this useless tool.

For the Blues, we have Annabellisa, who thinks she is a LOT prettier than she actually is, and has a very tight perm she thinks is "cute" and her best friend, Gertrude, who actually hates her.

And each team has the benefit of our "experts" <implied quotation marks, rather than actual, but they're there, oh, GOD, they're there> - we've got David Barstool and Tom Lunatic! And they're going to patronise and generally berate our couples for being thick and ill-informed, and then look astonished at auction later, when the things the couples buy get a profit and their own choices nosedive horrendously.

And, of course, there's the bit where they look around the mystery Anfgwlgh Castle, ancestral home of the Dweeb family, and Wottacock makes knowledgeable remarks about the hideous antiques ensconced in some panelled room or other, clearly fed to him by researchers, because the only thing he is knowledgeable about is his moustache.

Anyway, it's better than being at work, isn't it?  Isn't it?

Facebook use linked to being really hilarious. And existing.

People who regularly use Facebook to communicate with people they half remember from school days, university, that shit job they had temping somewhere in the arse end of Northolt and some people they're related to, but only ever see at weddings and funerals, are considerably funnier than those who have actual lives which don't rely on a social media interface, research has discovered.  Particularly comedic were those who generally accessed Facebook from their smartphones, the smug bastards.

"It seems humans evolved opposable thumbs not for tool use, as previously thought, but for the "swipe and share" function on the Facebook app," said Dr Reginald Hollis for the Foundation of Obvious Science.

"This is great news for me," said Randy Harvey, a Vodafone employee from "near Oxshott and Banstead".  "For some time, I've harboured a sneaking suspicion that incessantly sharing what I'm doing in any given minute along with mildly humorous photos on my Facebook feed made me a tragic individual and I thought people were laughing up their sleeves at what a pathetic twat I am, but this research is proof that I'm not and they aren't.  I am a comedy god."

However, critics of the research who don't use Facebook (apparently these people still exist.  They tend to favour real ale, bushy facial hair and wearing socks with sandals) say that they, too, are funny, actually.  There was that time, you know, when...the thing, with that bloke who, oh, you remember.  It was funny.

Dr Reginald Hollis responded to the criticism, saying, "It's no use expecting people to rely on face-to-face social interaction.  Unless there's a constant stream of updates on your Facebook to prove that people think you're an all-round jolly good egg, you may as well not bother going out. Or, indeed, staying in.

"In fact, you can't demonstrate in any meaningful way that you exist at all unless you can produce screenshots of your Facebook timeline, littered with status updates that reference your geographic location and activity therein, interspersed with photos of captioned cats and drunk people, with copious "likes" from the many vacuous pricks on your friend list."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, waded into the debate, saying, "God wouldn't have put the "Facebook share" button on so many websites if He didn't want people to bang on about what they were reading and laughing at all the time.  There is mounting evidence that this is, in fact, why we are here. For real."

When asked for comment, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said, "Uh, yeah, sure...whatever," and returned to playing Zuma Blitz and updating his Twitter feed.