I should start by saying that Charlie Brooker is one of my idols, one of the folks who got me writing, and generally I agree with his views.

But what the hell happened?

How TV Ruined Your Life is his new series on BBC, described by the Beeb as:

“Comedy series in which Charlie Brooker uses a mix of sketches and jaw-dropping archive footage to explore the gulf between real life and television.”

And now we’re two episodes in and all we’ve seen is Brooker shouting at us that we’re doomed, but with none of the originality, wit and intellect that came through during Screenwipe and Newswipe.

If anybody else did the exact same thing, word for word, they’d normally be wearing a wedding dress and ski boots, and would alternate between shouting at traffic and attempting to shiv you.

This man also started life as a TV critic

I’ll keep watching the series, but I don’t have a great deal of hope.

Similar criticism can be levelled at Channel 4’s abysmal 10’o Clock Live, a hopeless attempt at being a comical current affairs show, which comes across as a far weaker version of Have I Got News For You combined with it’s own bastard offspring Mock the Week.

Fronted by Brooker, David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne and ubiquitous sod Jimmy Carr (Who is on TV more often than Top Gear is on Dave), the show comes across as desperately clawing at some semblance of being worthwhile, and despite the admiral beginnings, it would be altogether more humane to take it out back and give it both barrels.

Charlie Brooker isn't rabid. Yet.

So, How TV Ruined Your Life. It may have done, but it’s made Charlie Brooker’s life much better. Definitely biting the hand that feeds.

Shit...maybe he is.

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A few notes on Family Guy

October 16, 2010

Comedy is a strange thing. Everybody laughs at different things, some like slapstick comedy, others prefer wordplay and punning, and there are some people who claim that Family Guy is the funniest thing to ever grace the screens of TV worldwide. These people are mistaken. (This post is about Family Guy and its failings. If you have never seen it, I recommend watching some first, then coming back here.) Here are my notes on Family Guy, and what’s wrong with it.

  • Timing. More specifically, Seth MacFarlane needs to learn when to end a joke. One example is the endless repetitions of the principle tosser Peter Griffin falling and hurting his knee. This just keeps going, it wasn’t funny in the first instance. This leads me nicely on to…
  • In jokes. There are too many of these things. Whilst occasional in jokes can be good, and a fine way to reward fans, you can’t base your entire series on it, which later seasons have done. Newer episodes consist almost entirely of references to other episodes and reused jokes, and to a new viewer remains an impenetrable mass of shite.
  • Endless repetition. This was touched upon in the previous point. In order for something to progress, new things must be done. Showing the same thing over and over again is just annoying. Is just annoying. Is just annoying. Is just annoying. Is just annoying. Is just annoying.
  • Stealing. Family Guy is famed for being a deluge of pop culture references and parodies, which is can be a good thing, if it’s been done right, one example being the truly faultless Airplane!. Family guy embodies the idea of bad parody, to the extent where it steals jokes from the parodies themselves. I mentioned Airplane! on purpose earlier, as Family Guy has ripped this off on multiple occasions, which only endears itself to obsessive fans of the original material, and cheapens the whole realm of comedy for all and sundry.
  • Peter Griffin. Has there ever been a character as totally rubbish as Peter Griffin? A poor Homer Simpson copy, Peter Griffin frequently beats his wife, makes crude jokes a 4 year old would turn their nose up at, abuses his children, and to top it all off has a laugh so annoying that the most easygoing of people would rip out his spine and beat him to a pulp with it if he were a real person. We’re supposed to root for someone like this?

Californication

July 2, 2010

‘The thinking goes that if you watch the glittering world you’ll feel like a part of it, even though you aren’t of course, you’re just a pleb gawping at a box.’ – Charlie Brooker

There’s something about American TV which just follows the same formula constantly, usually portraying the wealthy and beautiful, with barely a glimpse of anybody vaguely normal looking.

Enter gruesome shitfest Californication, an American drama following the truly terrible life of Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny), a Bukowski-esque writer and womaniser.

Here is where we find the main problem with the show. It’s impossible to feel sympathy for Hank whenever anything bad happens to him, as the majority of his life consists of being a rich, unlovable prick who has sex with many attractive women.

It’s an increasingly common problem on English TV that American drivel is being pumped directly at us, Californication being a more recent example, and the current figurehead of aspirational TV.

Aspirational TV, the ultimate ‘Fuck you’ injected into the eyes of mainstream public. Portraying those with blessed lives is a great way of distracting us peasants from our dreary lives of work, rain, and not living in California having sex with nubile young women.

It can be easily compared to the girl-focussed arsepile ‘Sex and the City’, only the focus is on fake tits and booze, not latex dicks and shoes. Both centre around writers and their nauseating, unpleasant friends, and seem to assume that everybody will sympathise with the problems depicted, despite most of the issues addressed having all the inconvenience of having to buy Pepsi instead of Coca Cola.

Californication then: A great script ruined by the fact that everybody within the show is a dislikeable bellend.