Archive for April, 2008

EastEnders

April 29, 2008

GusSean

What on earth have the writers of EastEnders got against Gus and his elderly dog, Wellard? Over the last few weeks they have decided to hand him over to monstrous psychopath, Sean – a cartoon character that belongs in a low-grade horror movie. Why?

Gus, who regular viewers of ‘Enders know as a happy-go-lucky, poetic road sweeper has been prodded, poked, imprisoned, and now tortured by Sean. His dog, Wellard, has been threatened with a stick, yanked around the square in a way you just shouldn’t treat old dogs, and locked in a cupboard without food or water for what seemed like the best part of the day. This has bewildered me.

Have the writers been taking their cues from Hostel or the Saw movies? Who thought this horrible, uncomfortable, and downright nasty storyline was right for an early-evening family soap opera? “Things have got stale in the square,” someone says, “let’s torture Gus.”

In the twenty-odd years I’ve been watching this show, there have been plenty of dreadful and unpleasant storylines: Stella’s bullying of Ben that left you feeling dirty after watching it, the disasterous Ferera family of Asian stereotypes, Kevin being gut-punched by the engine block of a Ford Focus, Pat naked in bed with Frank, but Gus’s trip down the rabbithole of Sean’s one dimensional psychosis takes the biscuit.

This storyline is vile. It interrupts the flow of the show. It lands in peril two minor characters that you felt assured weren’t there to be put in peril. And certainly not by brutal shitbags like Sean – the most badly handled character the show has ever produced.

I don’t want to see Gus being tied up, beaten, bullied, and imprisoned. I feel cheated by the EastEnders writers. I was so angry with the treatment of Wellard, I wrote the BBC a letter. That’s right – a letter. Good, if ultimately useless characters like Gus aren’t there to be shown the instruments by bad and completely useless characters like Sean. They’re there to attend stag nights, fill out the numbers in the Vic, and drink the health of more important characters when they either marry, or die.

What next? Phil battering Keith and Ghenghis to death with a pool cue?

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cheestrings

April 29, 2008

The cocky little fucker walking about the school with his hand filled with ‘cheestring’. The angry teacher wishing to know more about this child’s cheesy comestible…

’What’s that?’ the angry teacher fumes, pointing at the yellow bendy lump of gittery in the infants callous hand. Both he and the boy look down ‘pon the item in question.

‘Well…’ says the boy, an expression of assured knowingness, before we’re hit with a baffling five scene montage. Sped up footage of green, green grass growing out of the soil under an azure blue sky. A cow’s gob munching on said grass, milk spunking into a bucket. A factory with huge cubes of cheese passing on a conveyor, then suddenly a packet of cheestrings materialises.

Sorry? What was the bit between the cow’s milk and these massive lumps of symmetrical cheese and now this miniscule bundle of cheesy hair? Some devilry has taken place – alchemy – and the first three aspects of the montage are supposed to justify the last? I beg to differ.

Like the witch employing subterfuge in order to carry out maleficia, nature has been exchanged for a packet of… well. What? What the fuck is it? It would seem that it is made from ‘100% cheese’ but something had been done to it make its texture akin to muscle sinew. Something unholy, something evil…

The advertisers are trying to present cheese as healthy and natural. Whilst delicious cheese is a processed and unhealthy foodstuff, it’s a lump of fucking fat. In this form it has been reprocessed into something you could stick a wick in and set fire to.

After being blasted in the face with this ludicrous short we return to the cheeky young cunt in front of the scowling teacher.

‘Cheese’ the little bastard says, like he’s just got one over on the ‘The Man’, like he’s stuck it to ‘The Man’ by eating some fucking cheese and he saunters off looking all smug and suchlike.

Since when has any act of teenage rebellion involved cheese? Waving a knife about, trespassing and killing a dog are all bona fide run-of-the-mill acts of rebellious expression in the young. I accept that. But eating fucked-up cheese in the corridor at break time?

I have every sympathy for the teacher. Way before he’d a chance to get a word in I’d have run up soundlessly to the little tyke, landed a flying kick to his neck and, when down, pounded the living shit out of him before saying ‘what’s that? what’s that?’ ad infinatum, referring to the bit of yellow protruding out of his broken fingers. The advert would end with a cow being slaughtered by naked Viet Cong and topped off with a single shot of a man’s hat.

Let’s face it; it has more of bearing on reality than the fuck presented by these, erm, fucks.

Next week, The Renault Clio, an external sign of inner paedophilia.

Nostalgia / laziness

April 29, 2008

Sven

While I wait for someone other than me to write an article, here’s a link to where it all began, before we were even Mothers.

Curled Wup was a football blog about the World Cup of 2006, written by some people who like football, some people who barely know football exists and some people who hate the game.

Some of it’s actually not weathered too badly with the passing of time.

Grey’s Anatomy

April 28, 2008

Grey's Anatomy

My flatmate loves Greys Anatomy. It’s a deep, animal love that means she can’t stop watching it, even though it makes her cry a lot. Any episode that doesn’t make her cry at least once is considered a failure. Men don’t watch many programs that make them cry. I think the closest we get is that scene in Flash Gordon where Brian Blessed finally realises that Flash is fighting for good, and they become chums. Or any film where two chaps have to shoot each other to stop them from falling into to enemy hands. That’s proper drama.

Anyway if you haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy (and if you have testicles then that’s fairly likely), it’s about some doctors. They started off as apprentices or disciples or whatever baby Doctors are called before they qualify and develop halitosis. Now they are grown up and Greys Anatomy is about their lives. Their self-absorbed, feckless lives.

These Doctors should be having a great time snorting medical-grade cocaine off each other’s naughty bits while chuckling that they are going to be sickeningly rich for the rest of their lives, but they don’t. The program is about them all being rubbish at relationships and constantly hopping in and out of each other’s beds faster than you can say ‘unpleasant rash, probably sexually transmitted’.

Every time the characters are faced with a choice that might make them just a little bit happy they do the opposite. If two people get on for a bit, one of them is bound to die, slowly. Any chance for contentment is purely temporary as the cause of it will be crushed under the iron fist of misery. While this is initially charming – other people suffering is always good for a giggle – ultimately it’s deeply annoying. I say this because I’ve accidentally watched quite a few episodes (okay four seasons of it) because my flatmate seems to feed of it like an electronic teat of suffering and despair.

All of the characters in it need a good kick in the face and to be told that their life really isn’t that bloody hard. Instead they just waltz about flicking their impossibly coiffeured hair and spout trite truisms at each other in the lift. The lift is very important in the show; it’s apparently where Doctors go to spawn.

I hate the characters. Hate. They seem to take joy in being victims. It is program for people who like being sad. 

Here is a summary of the characters. Warning contain spoilers.
Grey
Sort of Germanic looking one who fancies ‘McDreamy’ but has so many issues she will never be happy. She has very annoying hair. I think she has shagged everyone else in the show but I’m not sure.

The Blonde One
Had an affair with the one with the wonky eye and the one who looks like a boy. She loved a man for a bit and he proposed and then he DIED. Ha – that’ll learn her.

Wonky Eye Man
He shagged the blonde one and then told his mates or something. I don’t really care. Apparently he has a dark past. One of his eyes is a bit wonky

The Child
Boy-man who looks about three years old. Accidentally married another doctor-lady with nice hair but then he shagged the blonde one. He didn’t get on with his dad, then they got on, so his dad died.

The Robot
She went out with a surgeon for a bit and they were happy so he got shot and it fucked up his arm. Then he went away, so she got sad. She doesn’t appear to be in the breeding program anymore

McDreamy
Faux Irish spaz who everyone fancies because he has oily hair. Sexual history can best be described as ‘miscellaneous’.

McTasty (possibly the wrong name)
Ex best friend of McDreamy who has a beard. He does plastic surgery on people and slept with McDreamy’s wife and anyone else who he can.

There are some other ones too. They shag each other and have a sad time.

Oh – and there was a bit with a dog. Guess what? It died.

One Minute Review: Come Dine With Me (again)

April 25, 2008

Come Dine With Me

I’ve covered Come Dine With Me before, as regular readers will know. And if you’re not a regular reader, can I ask why the blazes you’re not one? A regular reader, I mean. Become one this instant.

Yes, I’ve covered Come Dine With Me before, you’ve probably seen it umpteen times, so we’re all aware of how it works. The exciting news is that they’ve transferred the daytime version to a 9pm primetime slot on Channel 4. Clearly success has gone to their heads. And now it’s post watershed, there’s swearing. They’ve also condensed the format into one 50 minute episode featuring four dinner parties rather than five over the course of a hundred minutes. It’s not an easy transition and feels a little rushed, but at least we’ve lost all those irritating little ‘catch up’ segues and montages of stuff we’ve already seen before (or, even worse, stuff we’re about to see).

A development of the show in its new incarnation is the fact that the contestants they’ve picked are as thick as cat-muck. Where before we had genuine members of the public, all with their charms and flaws, genuinely trying to express the inner-foodie within their soul, now we’re served up four blithering idiots. In every instance, they blither and are idiotic. And they swear a lot. And they insult one another. And they get as drunk as they possibly can.

So far, in two episodes we’ve had:

Show 1

  • A fat, alcoholic wannabe Tory councillor with a David Cameron fixation who had no idea about even the most simple cooking process.
  • A gay, alcoholic student with a barbie doll collection who got drunk and flung booze about.
  • An abrasive geordie fishwife with wild, staring eyes and a burnt paella who was an alcoholic.
  • A mousey woman who favoured giggling over speaking. She was an alcoholic.

Show 2

  • A fat, cheery alcoholic who ducked out of the room midway through a starter to hawk up several gallons of puke before returning for the main.
  • A long-haired neurotic with worrying latent violence issues and the propensity for alcoholism.
  • An insane, oversexed old crone with a crap line in Alan Sugar related japes who came on to every male she encountered before passing out due to alcoholism.
  • A horrible, pretentious red-haired moose who couldn’t stop talking about herself when pissed. Probably because she was an alcoholic.

It’s fucking great. Essential viewing for pissed people – especially alcoholics.

The Apprentice 2008: Ep. 5

April 24, 2008

Boardroom Blitz

‘This is outrageous!’ screams Alan as the opening montage strikes up. You half expect ‘this is contagious!’ to follow as it sounds so similar to Jeremy from Peep Show’s electro smash. We’re reminded it’s week 5 and suddenly you realise just how much of your life has whizzed past since Nicholas ‘De Lacy’ Brown was booted out. Over a month. Frightening.

We’re at that stage where it becomes harder to hate the contestants. The ones who made ridiculous claims about how competent they are have already blown apart the illusion by acting like nitwits and we’re left with a bunch of misguided, sympathetic goons and a couple of people you vaguely like but would never want to meet. Apart from Jennifer, who had barely said a word up to this point.

Claire is first to rise in the Apprentice house, making a cup of tea whilst dressed as a furry tent, chatting with Jenny about how best to stab the others – in their sleep, while their back is turned or in the shower?

Oh shit! It’s the doorbell!

And there he is, all wrinkles, pinstripe and sneers – Alan Sugar arrives for the spaz doorstep challenge. He asks them all to get changed and some kind of bongo mania kicks in as they run around getting changed. Some arrive fully dressed, some arrive in their jim-jams and Raef arrives dressed as a 1920’s cad, with smoking jacket and vigorously parted hair. Lucinda appears to be wearing a sporran.

Though only half awake they’re told they’re going to be making ice cream, then selling it to buyers. As promised last week, Claire is designated Team Leader and she manages Kevin the gerbil, Alex the weasel, Sara the shrew, Michael the hamster and Jenny the gutter-rat.

On the other team, Lucinda is asked to lead mortal enemy Helene, Raef the enigmatic twerp, Lee the sweetest Nazi in Essex, lovely Lindi and the best Salesperson in Europe – Jennifer. And in this episode, we actually got to discover where that claim came from. Hold tight, let’s dive in.

Claire starts her first meeting with a softly, softly approach. She can overpower people, she says. She realises that, so please pull her up on it. The thought of being overpowered by Claire is too scary to contemplate. Imagine, if you will, Claire dressed only in her fluffy white dressing gown, pinning you down on a stained lino floor as the kettle whistles in the background…

*shudder*

Some ideas for flavourings are brain-stormed, which (in layman’s terms) means ‘kicked about’. Vodka and coke ice cream is Claire’s first idea, to give you an idea of how brilliantly things start. Eventually they settle for Berrymania, Chocolate orange and Cider and elderflower, which all sound alright. As Alex, Kevin and Sara get busy making the stuff, Claire, Jenny and George Michael Costanza Sophocles set about finding 50 oranges as the ingredients demand. Oh – and they manage a couple of sales calls as well – which is handy as that’s their bloody job, the idiots.

Over on Lucinda’s team, everything ticks over like well-oiled clockwork. They talk about the ice creams they might make and it’s even worse than before. Ginseng. Carrot. Gooseberry fool. How about, chips in Lee McLee McQueen, a cuppa tea flavour?! I can think of nothing more revolting. Silly boy. They settle on – and this left my jaw on the floor – toffee apple (fair enough), cosmopolitan (eh?) and avocado with chilli (retch, wince, vomit).

Lucinda, Lee and Kevin make the product. Lee seems particularly in his element, whooping with delight as he makes the product. He’s found his niche. It’ll be hard to drag him from the factory floor. He was MADE to work in a hairnet and white-coat. Go Lee!

In the meantime, Raef, Jennifer and the number two for the task, young, naive Lindi go crazy on the phones, selling like crazy and growing more and more confident. I completely missed their ultimate error, which was to offer exclusivity to every single buyer without actually considering that might mean something and was logically impossible. It was ‘best salesperson in Europe’ Jennifer who set the ball rolling on this, clearly forgetting every trick she’d ever learned in a mad moment which weirdly sustained itself throughout the day. Lindi did notice, but did nothing about it and so, sadly she received the boardroom blitz when Lucinda lost the task – which was a shock, to say the least.

Happily though, Jennifer got a good hiding too – which may hopefully have brought her down a peg or two. She is the lady cyborg to Alex’s T2000. They’d need a jump start if they ever fell into bed, those two. Spark plugs and sockets… it doesn’t bear pondering.

So somehow Claire (one of the most questionable of the lot) won the task. Cleverly edited so that twist followed twist upon twisted twist, I didn’t expect the outcome (again). When they learned they’d done it, Alex showed his ‘smile-face’ – a collection of facial movements involving combined grimaces, morbid grinning and rictus smirking which was completely inhuman.

They won despite trying to test their product on a confused yoga class, a couple of pissed men, in a pub and finally a collection of pensioners. Alex got a massive deal which was then hijacked by the other team but ultimately a deal with the Hoxton Bar & Grill got them the cash they needed.

Without any other choice, after exposing Helene as a two-faced twat in front of Alan and the others, Lucinda dragged Lindi and Jennifer back with her and Lindi, as the one responsible for sales, got sacked – which is a shame as she’s better for TV than monotone monster Jennifer.

Some lovely destruction of the language this week. My favourite was Claire saying that, pre-boardroom she could feel the ‘guillotine literally inches away from her neck’ which was interesting as there was no guillotine in the shot. Perhaps she is a hallucinating mad-woman.

If only they’d punish them every time for making these rudimentary grammar errors. Maybe if Jenny had really been made to breastfeed two other contestants and Claire had actually been forced to have her block knocked off by a hanging French blade, the others might stop abusing our finest idioms.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4

Popbitch – 10.4.08

April 23, 2008

Popbitch

Popbitch, like the marvellous B3ta, has been going for ages now. Is it years?

It started off as an acerbic antidote to Hello! magazine – a fresh delivery of spurious and occasionally unfathomable celebrity rumour, every new one as scurrilous as the last. But then Heat magazine started trying to do something similar but in a tamed down fashion, Holy Moly defected and put out something similar (but not quite as good) and then, across the pond, Perez Hilton started blogging. Celebrity-fever went into hyperdrive, after a time, and Jordan sold books despite clearly being an illiterate moron. It had all turned into a fresh kind of madness.

Popbitch is now a kind of brand – selling a small amount of advertising space per newsletter. I don’t visit the website so I couldn’t tell you what’s going down over there, but as a regular reader of the newsletter I can tell you it’s still relevant, if a little spiteful and a tiny wee bit out of time these days.

One thing I always enjoyed was the crap joke that came at the end – always woeful, often sick. Bad, sick, wrong-minded jokes have made a bit of a comeback these days. B3ta published a whole book of them. They’re the kind of jokes you feel bad for telling your pals at the pub, but secretly enjoy the wince you force them to cringe into as the punchline spills out of your gob. These ‘gags’ concern – among other things – disability, paedophilia, gender and race. They are not for the easily offended, but B3ta goes out of its way to distance itself from the content of the joke. Instead, the subject matter is actually irrelevant and the structure of the joke and how far the content is pushed into the realm just beyond bad taste becomes key.

Popbitch, either through laziness, idiocy or complacency seem to have forgotten that the disclaimer, the shroud of irony is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, to paraphrase Alexei Sayle, it all gets a ‘bit Nuremburg’. And so, on Thursday the week before last at the end of the newsletter, the following joke was mailed out:

Old Jokes Home:
A Pakistani husband and wife come out of the divorce court.
The woman starts crying.
Her ex puts his arm around her and says “Don’t worry, we’re still cousins!”

Now. Looking past the fact that the joke isn’t even vaguely amusing, ignoring the fact that it’s not breaking any ground in bad taste and looking at the fact that the joke was isolated at the end of an email – doesn’t it look a little bit odd to you?

Doesn’t it look a little less like the Ricky Gervais racism-it’s-ok-to-like, cushioned on the ironic get-out clause and a little bit like the sort of shite that came out of Bernard Manning’s wobbling mush?

Isn’t it just straightforward racism?

Shame on you, Popbitch. Maybe it’s time this sort of crap came to an end.

We are grown ups, after all.

Britain’s Next Top Model

April 22, 2008

Britain's Next Top Model

I got sucked in while the missus was watching this and, with shame and misery overwhelming me, absorbed the flipping lot. I’m dripping with self-disgust. This review is my only hope of purging slime from my contaminated braincells.

If it doesn’t work, I’ll end up watching next week, then the week after, till the whole series has somehow passed through my brain-filter and left me an expert on all the back-stabbing, plank-thick idiots who populate it.

The girls were introduced one-by-one, as is the way with this sort of thing, all declaring their beauty, their ability and their personal variation on charm. Stefanie, a latino temptress with smoky eyes, let herself down the minute that trapdoor of a mouth opened. Blah blah blah, she went on, with not word registering as in any way interesting. Aaron, despite having a boy’s name, reckons she’s got ‘the whole package’. Sophie‘s a gibbering wreck, making little sense and looking like she’s coming down from a particularly hedonistic indie disco. Catherine looks about 12. Musayeroh is the black girl who won’t win because these sorts of shows are all inherently tokenistic. Lisa reckons she’s quirky, but is actually just a dreadful bore. The rest waft past, pretty and pointless, like air-freshener or pot pourri.

The fact is, they’re all attractive and have basic intelligence, but they’re so young and not yet fully formed that it’s unfair to create a fair opinion on them. They’re little kids who’re being put through the digital TV mangle for our entertainment in the hope of winning a title which could see the producers crushed by the Trade Descriptions Act.

Britain’s Next Top Model? Do me a favour. A one-off cover shoot on Company magazine isn’t exactly knocking Moss from her pedestal is it? It’s hardly Vogue. It’s the Razzle of fashion mags. Or so the wife tells me.

They all troop straight into a big hall immediately upon arrival for task one and are forced to take some questions from a really questionable bunch of people who all look extremely odd. These people might be fashion students, but I don’t recall the coiceover actually telling us who the fuck they are. One of them is wearing a red balaclava with only one eye slot and is painted black, despite obviously being white. One of them is in drag. If they’re fashion students, they haven’t got a hope. They all have worrying facial tics. It’s alarming.

Aaron fucks up, apparently, by saying she doesn’t think she’ll win. Nice – I like a bit of modesty – attractive in a girl. A couple of others do the same, and all three are reprimanded by Lisa Snowdon for their lack of belief later on. She’s ‘insulted’ by their humility, it seems. The berk.

How did Snowdon get the job anyway? Apart from a bra advert in the 90s, has she done anything of note? I’m waiting for an answer on that one.

Later on they have to split into teams of two and take polaroids of one another’s best feature. One particular little twat (I think it was Alexandra) opts to take a shot of Aaron’s eyes. Now, Aaron does have lovely big sparkling eyes but Alexandra reveals her reasons for taking this shot. It’s to highlight the fact that, without make up, a scar is visible that covers part of her photography partner’s eyebrow. So she’s picking this one tiny flaw out and amplifying it to get rid of the competition in a demonstration of just how superficial and idiotic this shit is.

The later task is to split into pairs for topless shots. While most perfrom quite well, Sophie looks blankly ahead like she’s been beaten about the head with a kilo of smack while Stefanie and Alexandra go for a Zoo magazine-sponsored shot. High class. That’s the pic at the top of the article. Quality soft porn – but not really Tatler.

Sophie goes, leaving a trail of grey matter behind her after being voted out by a twat in a hat, the once-upon-a-time-Z-list Snowdon and the living dead. The latter is fucking terrifying. As she passes judgement she lurches around like a reanimated sloth and slurs away in an icelandic accent. If you allow something like to judge you, then you deserve to be judged.

Then it ends. Like passing an enormous, uncomfortably dry turd, it’s finally over and you’re left a tiny bit satisfied, a little bit raw and too dirty to sit still any longer.