Quite Like: The Inbetweeners

April 21, 2009 by

The Inbetweeners E4

Nick T recommended this little gem – hidden away in E4’s dark and sweaty corner – and was largely ignored. But yesterday, lagging behind the times like the blinkered and dismissive old sod I am, I found the first series on Catch Up and tore through the first two back-to-back. And he’s right. Each episode of The Inbetweeners is a brief sojourn in bad taste with the odd moment of expertly-judged excess.

I think the reason it gets away with the relentless boner, wank, tit, shagging and shitting jokes is that it’s set in a school six-form where the predominant source of humour tend to be the sights, sounds and smells of bodily functions. What the writers get just right is the repetition inherent in the average 16 year old’s speech patterns. Especially the way one teenager will go beyond the realms of logic and through the wall of inanity and out the other side in their pursuit of comfirming their quarry is a bummer. Or a ‘bum-der’, which I learnt yesterday is a mixture of a ‘bummer’ and a ‘bender’.

At thirty years old I find The Inbetweeners funny, so logic dictates that the twelve year old me would most likely worship it, catching every episode on VHS for posterity, maybe even editing out the ad breaks to make the viewing process flow.

But 12 year olds don’t do those things these days. They probably sideload epishots onto their e-Phones and share them with friends in their emmy-sens messengers services, before going out and filming themselves happy-slapping emo-goths. The ‘orrible little shits.

Just a Thought: Desperate Housewives

April 20, 2009 by

I’d never seen this before, though I recognised some of the actors. Kyle McLaughlin from that Twin Peaks, a lady from the TV series Superman and another one from pictures of her bottom in The Sun, which caused me to look at her face after a while.

My first impression is that it’s complete and utter shit. Everything’s so garish and bright and super-real, like the first twinklings of a hastily consumed microdot at the exact moment you discover all your friends have left you alone in a strange pub. The actors themselves are all clean and symmetrical like children’s painted wooden blocks and the acting follows suit.

Of course, apart from being shit, the look of the show is entirely deliberate. It’s meant to be cod-surreal, a bit ‘weird,’ but the acting is so knowing it completely lacks any subtlety. What wit that may have existed in the first place is condensed unto an unblinking blob of soulless drudgery.

I’m very sure that the makers of this tripe knew they’d cooked a turkey; this is born out in the tooth-grinding score which seeks to emphasis the whole ‘ooh, isn’t this weird’ aspect by employing a pizzicato plinking, plonking string section to imbue every scene with a supposed quirkiness. It’s unbelievably awful. It’s so loud that, even if you wanted to hear the script, your ears have to strain round the pumps of some bored session muso earning his living on his cacky cello.

In one scene the tempo of the score sped up every time the shot featured a male, only to drop to its heartbeat pace when the female mugged into the middle distance. This drone is there all the time; it’s gradually fed into the beginning of scenes and ends them with a self-satisfying ‘plong!’ But it’s also oddly hypnotic and I’m convinced that the incidental music is the key to the programme’s ongoing success.

At first it’s mildly irritating, then it becomes intolerable and all of sudden, your tea is cold and you’ve dribbled all over your pants. The only reason I saw 15 minutes was because I was channel hopping and happened on it. You see, I saw the last 15 minutes; I made it to the end – it was the music that made me do it.

I still don’t understand.

My Life As An Animal: Pigs

April 20, 2009 by

My Life As An Animal BBC Three

My Life As An Animal is a show in which two seemingly intelligent people, untainted by mental illness, agree with BBC Three Producers that they will live with pigs for a week. They do this either because they’re so desperate to be on television that they’ll happily smear themselves in wet, gluggy manure to get there or (less likely) they’ve been badly advised on what the content of the show will be.

The format can be broken down like this:

  • Two Members of the Public meet Terry Nutkins
  • He tells them what pigs do.
  • They watch pigs snuffling about all day and doing very little.
  • MotPs are thrown into the pig pen where they live for a week.
  • They make friends or enemies with pigs, snuffle a lot and eat pig-feed.
  • They watch pigs get killed in the now-compulsory abattoir shot.
  • The end.

So – a sublime journey. How deeply will the human psyche be probed? What valuable information will we gleaned as we make adults scamper about on all fours, sleeping in straw and making grunting noises?

The contestants, Richard and Lyndsey, began by being ordered into clothes from a wheelbarrow that had been smeared with pig urine and poo. ‘It smells!’ they cry, stating the profoundly obvious. And they continue to state the obvious throughout the show.

– ‘This is literally a pigsty’
– ‘They smell’
– ‘They keep banging into me’
– ‘Urgh, it smells round here’
– ‘Oooh, it really stinks’

Richard – the first contestant – appeared to enjoy the process. He learned that ear-sucking on a waxy lughole is the very tenderest of intimate expressions among piggies, and he set to work nibbling ears like a pro. Soon enough he was kipping among them like he was one of their own, having grown worryingly close within a matter of hours.

Lyndsey, a Radio Five Live DJ, had a harder time living as a pig for a week. There were tears and tantrums during the early part of her stay when she realisd she’d be sleeping among them. She wanted her own sty, she complained – not realising that would obliterate the whole point of this stupid outing. Later, when a piggy nipped her on the lower leg she roared like a baby and demanded she get to go home. But then, persuaded by the crew, she got back into it and spent the rest of the day running around haystacks. The soppy cow.

Aside from that, ‘having totally immersed themselves in their pig-lives’, they watched pigs do sex and then snuff it in a slaughterhouse. They swapped places so that Lyndsey could see she’d actually got the better end of the deal as she sampled the non-organic pen. But still it was impossible to work out what we’re meant to have learned. Something about farming techniques? Something about human nature?

Whatever it was, it completely escaped me. The suspicion is this is another outing in which the title and concept are all, and that the actual content of the show doesn’t actually matter.

Did it not occur to anyone that the idea is completely and morbidly pointless? ‘It’s a new low!’ they seem to be shouting over in BBC Three-land. ‘Let’s celebrate it! Here – smear yourself in some shit!’

Watching the show, when the contestants complained – particularly Lyndsey who took to punching her stymates on the snout – you wanted to grab them by their lapels and dash their heads against the nearest trough, screaming at them that, as they’ve decided to live like pigs, they should stop complaining (in human) about how much they hate it. And what’s more, if they were going to do this bullshit experiment properly, they should be stark bollock naked. And the only human contact should come from the farmer. And if it was unwelcome contact they wouldn’t be able to complain beyond a terrifying, shrill squeal.

But then you realise that hidden camera footage of an obese farmer boning a mute, naked media type in a cold field wouldn’t make great television – but then, neither does this shit.

The Apprentice Lookalike Fun – Week 4

April 17, 2009 by

the apprentice 2009 paula

This week’s loser, ‘fashion conscious’ Paula Jones – ‘an academic with a love for interior design’ – is the absolute doppelganger of ‘fiery British actress’ Alex Kingston – ’ Elizabeth Corday on NBC medical drama ER.’

And for those of you who don’t agree with me (everyone), I’ve done a mock-up of what Paula Jones might look like playing three of Alex Kingston’s major roles.

paula the apprentice 2009

(From left to right:  sexy Nurse Elizabeth Corday, sexy wench Moll Flanders and sexy warrioress Boudicca.)

I guess you could say we’ve seen both the ‘Fortunes and Misfortunes’ of young Paula over the weeks.

NewsGush: Bookies on Boyle

April 17, 2009 by

Now, I don’t watch ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent because it’s a pile of shit. It’s also got a judging panel made up of three arseholes and is fronted by Ant & Dec. Frankly, if I tried to watch that rot, my telly wouldn’t survive the thrashing I’d inevitably mete out to it from a mixture of frustration, despair, ruinous fury and good, old-fashioned common sense.

But some people do watch it, and the majority of them are going mental about Susan Boyle in the clip above. She’s turning into an ‘internet sensation’ with her Youtube clip being watched at a frightening rate. Bookies have shortened her odds on winning the thing, and Guardian journalists are getting in a tizzy about her initially being judged on her appearance.

So – apparently people who look like normal folk can sing!

Who’d have thought?

What a patronising and worryingly profitable shit-bonanza Cowell’s running.

The Friday Question: Speak Up!

April 17, 2009 by

Image by BP Perry

Public speaking. Everyone’s got their own way of getting through it.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll bark very loudly at your audience until they walk out in disgust, unprepared to listen to any more ill-mannered gibberish delivered by a human foghorn with hideous teeth, a bald head and an appalling attitude to the opposite sex.

If, on the other hand, you’re anything like WWM’s very own virtual reality punchbag Dave, a heavily-photoshopped image of Princess Leia will no doubt pop into your head halfway through your speech, making you pull down your trousers and start jizzing at your horrified guests, thus causing them to run away screaming.

Like I say, we all have our own ways of dealing with these things.

But what about those times when shouting loudly or soaking your audience in Star Wars-induced jism just don’t cut the public-speaking mustard? What about those times when you’ve found y’self stumbling and fumbling and, ultimately, failing to deliver that vital speech?

Did you fuck it up at a bought-and-paid-for after dinner event? Or fall flat on your arse in front of your work colleagues? Or did you stand before the whole school and deliver a speech of such magnificent ineptitude that it earned you the derision of every man, woman and child from that day until you skulked, a broken and bitter creature, out of the school gates for the very last time?

You didn’t end up doing a shit on the stage, did you?

To celebrate BBC2’s new series The Speaker, we at WWM want to hear YOUR public speaking horror stories.

We want to know what you did, where you did it, and what happened as a result of your dribbling inability to talk out loud for a few minutes.

Are you prepared to put yourself to shame and prove you can’t deliver the goods as well as an egg-headed child on a TV speech-delivering show?

We bet you are.

Our first speaker of the day is …

The Apprentice: Who Will Win? Week 4

April 16, 2009 by
Hint: It's definitely not this one
Hint: It’s definitely not this one

To prevent the unthinkable scenario in which I have to keep rereading your comments to see which contestant you individually flip-flopped onto the preceding week, we’re going with last announced favourite. So let’s look at where we stand.

Phillip
Napoleon and fourstar are joined by Exelsior and Mel in their championing of make-up wearing, hair-straightening, brief-wearing metrosexual Phillip. They’ll no doubt be fretting somewhat over his aggressive manner and his way with a make up bag.

Noorul
Ugeine and Nick of the T are both backing the teacher and will have been dispirited by his bumbling silence in week 4 – in a management performance that was possibly too subtle for any of us to understand.

Debra
Lord Milky and myopiniononstuff (aka Dave) are still in the running with the Essex giantess with the enormous mouth. An anonymous week for Debra who escaped the finger by being edited out of the mix. ‘Debra’s a cow’ Clarry added, some time ago.

Kate
Sue De Nymh’s choice is still in the running – but wiley Sue has thrown me a curveball by cunningly voting twice for two different members of the cast. I have to allow it through as I didn’t notice when it happened. Will it matter come the final judgement? We’ll have to wait and see.

Yasmina
Your host Swines is still in the running despite a disastrous performance from Yasmina on the show and outside of it, where women seem to be rallying one another into explaining that Yasmina’s ‘not all that’. Which they have every right to do. ELM joins me in my championing of the headstrong betrayer.

Kimberly
Ruudboy joins the mix and follows Kimberly, the roughest, toughest and creamiest puffin to ever cross the Atlantic. Will she ever live that quote down?

Ben
Probably already regretting his pick, Scantregard opted for Ben – and who can argue with his choice of the quarrelsome little shit? Not me, I don’t get involved in these things.

Out!

Paula
So – it turns out Sue De Nymh‘s tricky double-hander proved pointless, as her second choice went last night! Bad luck, Sue!
Cheats never prosper.

Maj
Last week beardy Maj went, leaving Vones and Badger Madge out in the cold. Come back in you crazy guys, and take another pick!

Not yet picked

This leaves us with:

  • Howard
  • James
  • Mona

unpicked and languishing without any backing.

Newcomers, feel free to back one. The rest of you are going to have to stick to your guns until your choice gets fired. And I’ll be able to work out if you’re trying to confuse me as I’ve now got a list of who’s picked who, including Who, following Sue‘s dirty tricks. That’s right – A LIST.

Stop being so bloody juvenile!

Very clever, Breeks. Disallowed Sugar, Nick or Margaret because they’re stupid choices she’s now backing The BBC. Piqued also chipped in with his backing for Alan Sugar – another brilliant master of satire.

More confusingly, Ugeine is opting for Scrappy Doo to win The Apprentice.

Too many cartoons can ruin a nubile mind.

The Apprentice 2009 – Episode 4

April 16, 2009 by

the apprentice 2009 noorul choudhury phillip taylor

I can’t help but worry about the environmental impact of the opening scene, week upon week. A handful of housemates all getting ready, hair tonging, power showering and hair-drying – it must make quite an impact on the national grid. And that’s in addition to gas-guzzling transportation requiring two or three cars for a completely needless trip to Kew Gardens on the outskirts of London Town. Don’t they care that they’re destroying God’s green Earth, damn it? Couldn’t they just have set up a few shrubs on the industrial estate they ended up at?

Those rotten Apprentice bastards.

But after some male make up application (wake up! This is 2009!), Kew Gardens was the destination of choice and Sugar announced that the teams would be dabbling in the world of cosmetics. Noorul was directly given the Team Leader position as he’d been ‘hiding’, charged with responsibility over Lovely Lorraine, Kimberly Cream Puff, Phreak Out Phillip, Horrorshow Howard, Jumping James and Mona ‘Sex Face’ Lewis. On the opposing side, Paula led the remainder and, from the outset, seemed like a model professional.

With the brief of inventing a beauty product which they would then have to sell directly to punters, Paula’s approach to management was at a worryingly high standard, as though we had an actual leader in the room. Her choice of a seaweed product went down alright and resulted in a rock pool jolly for some of the crew. While James was fiddling with some crabs, they realised they only needed a handful of the stuff and so their complimentary boiler suits and waders were somewhat over the top.

It was in the mix where their troubles started. Paula had delegated costing to evil princess Yasmina and that poisonous little plop, little Ben Clarke, who appears to willingly make himself appear more horrifically deplorable as the weeks pass. Ben admirably refused to do any of the work assigned to him and announced that he was slinking into the shadows for the rest of the episode – a firing offence in any other episode. This left two pairs of eyes on costings, both of which royally botched the job in hand. Would this have happened with the assistance of a third party? Ask Ben, if you can find him in the murky gloom, trying to appear industrious.

And oh! How Yasmina and Paula botched the ingredient mash-up. Where cedarwood oil costs less than £30 per kilo, they blindly opted for £1,400 per kilo sandalwood oil – which is akin to wandering into Frank’s Second Hand Cars on the lookout for a second hand VW Golf and driving off in a Lamborghini. Furthermore, it’s akin to driving off in that Lamborghini, rounding a corner and pretending to one another that the VW is a really nice drive for the low cost and only visibly showing any regret when Nick asks you to wind down the window of your own denial and gestures at the oncoming doom in the distance.

‘Anyway – I’ll leave it with you’ he said when he broke the news, having pointed out their ruin in no uncertain terms, swiftly leaving them holding the baby as he had every right to do. A delicious moment.

Over on Noorul’s team, the main man was stumbling. His face turned inside out, his lower lip becoming his brow which he then scowled at anything that spoke to him. If anyone dared to try to come up with even the barest outline of a plan, he employed a weakening grimace to throw them into despair. An interesting tactic.

His grumpy puppy face caused the rest of his team to jump up and start doing stuff, in tune with one another, so who are we I to criticise his technique? I had a French teacher who allowed us to talk over one another while he drew pictures of frogs on trains on the blackboard and everyone in that class passed… so sometimes even the strangest methods succeed. Even the ones that involve silent treatment and gurning with malice at those among your number.

While the other team rock-pooled at the seaside, Noorul’s kids went bee-hiving for the audience at home. With Lorraine stumbling about like a drunken bumblebee, they gathered a harvest for their product – what turned out to be a soap bowl containing pure honey, inexpertly wrapped in cellophane so that it inadequately held the sticky nectar within. It looked bloody awful.

The key interaction in Noorul’s team was between young Phillip and Kimberly, both of whom are opposed to one another in every conceivable way –  British versus American, soft versus harsh, calm versus energy… Instead of bickering in front of a terrified graphic designer, they should have gone through to a meeting room and had a quick, punishing sexy time to rid themselves of the sexual tension that was clearly running through their rampant veins. They’d come together because opposites attract. That ain’t bitching, just a natural fact.

Speaking of Phil, our man from the north is simultaneously finding his feet and collapsing. One minute he’ll make an inspired decision which contributes to a win, the next he’ll be rasping disagreement in an unprofessionally abrasive manner down a handset, ripping a few eardrums a new A-hole in the process. Last night, at one moment I could’ve sworn he was going to swing at the Cream Puff. He’s essentially a bright but unloved schoolboy in pinstripe – and quite funny to watch.

The selling process involved a ladyman who clearly wanted to be on TV, the GERMAN FOOD wagon from a previous series and the usual singling out of a hopeless seller. This time it was Noorul, who opted to go for the opposite of Lorraine’s insane word-gabble confusion and spoke in the most roundabout way to potential customers about the design and packaging of the soap, resulting in blank faces all round.

Ultimately and as suspected, it was the sandal / cedar confusion that made the result turn out the way it did. Making a loss of just under £70 quid, Paula chose toxic little Ben and the unusually silent Yasmina to join her for a knackering, as well she might’ve. At the top of the show, she’d assigned them the job of costing ingredients so it was seemingly a question of who would go – the fool who made the actual error or the unshaven moron who refused to do as he was told?

For television purposes, Paula simply doesn’t provoke the same skin-crawling reaction as Ben’s pompous superciliousness and probably wouldn’t have had as many male admirers as the elfin Yasmina. Her firing appeared to have been very much a Production agreement, as Ben – as far as I’m concerned – would have been shown the door at any normal business, by any untelevised management team. His approach in the boardroom is to check out what bassline Sugar’s pumping out on his Fender Jaguar and fill in the spaces with a few snarling riffs of his own. The only problem being, Sugar wants to solo. Ben clearly winds the boss man up, so the only reason he’s still there is that hollow reasoning we’re forced to assume every time a runtish little berk slimes his way out of a firing.

He ‘makes good telly’.

Personally, I can think of potential scenarios that’d make better telly than belligerent Ben repeatedly screaming ‘WILL YOU LET ME FINISH?’ – most of them involving more scenes of a honey-dripping Mona in the shower, perhaps joined by Yasmina – but crucially, it’s important that they don’t let the flushing of a turd come too soon. It needs to be allowed to settle, cloud the waters and cause a stink first.

They want Ben to peak in locking and loading his own self-destruction, then have The Sugarman pull the trigger – but only when the time is right. By my reckoning, that’ll be in about three episodes time.

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Preview
Episode 1

Episode 2
Episode 3
Last series
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