Posts Tagged ‘LivingTV’

The Hoff: When Scott Came To Stay

April 7, 2009

After passing by the gawping gaze of popular culture, certain products, people and artefacts are all but forgotten a couple of years down the line.

Tab Clear – anyone remember that?

Others endure and simply never go away, like the indestructible, muscular, maternal cyborg that is Madonna. Or Marmite. But then there are those that are reborn, years later either in a slightly different, updated guise, like when La Roux appeared from some musical time-travel laboratory sporting that bloke from The Flock of Seagulls’ haircut.

And finally there are those who are resurrected purely for irony’s sake. David Hasselhoff’s a strong and recent example of how the internet can regenerate a career through the power of net-based in-jokes, a backlog of toe-curlingly embarassing publicity shots, memories of idiosyncratic German superstardom, a silly name and heaps and heaps of misplaced nostalgia.

Characters who can succumb to this kind of webular renaissance – ask Rick Astley if you don’t believe me – have usually had a period in which they were taken seriously, followed by a slow or sudden decline. After the glory years of Knightrider, Hoff produced the kitsch tit-fest that was Baywatch and somewhere during its second series and despite its success, Mitch Buchanan’s sagging pecs turned the viewers off. The Hoff sank into the background while co-star Pamela thrust her bazonkas into the limelight. The love affair with Dave was over and The Hoff became an embarrassment – and a stark reminder of 80s and early 90s weirdness with it.

Then, cunningly latching onto the internet frenzy that erupted when pictures like this, this and this started being emailed back and forth in offices nationwide, Scott Mills got the whiff of a movement and set about capitalising on it. He encouraged the listeners to his Radio 1 show to buy Hasselhoff’s new release – Get Into My Car – a novelty single by any other name. And off the back of Mills’ ironic support, the single hit number three and put The Hoff back into the public domain – compounded by a stint on America’s Got Talent and some Youtube cheeseburgering.

So now we arrive post-regeneration and after a ton of bad press, at LivingTV’s The Hoff: When Scott Mills Came To Stay. Shot in the style of one of JLT’s Bring Back… shows, this time we were told that Mills has always been a massive fan of Dave’s, and that this has been an unwavering support that his lasted his lifetime. The suspicion is that this is something of a porky. Perhaps he loved Knightrider as a child, but I bet he jumped ship like the rest of us during Baywatch.

So the opening fifteen minutes are somewhat redundant but what follows is actually – and I say this despite myself – bloody entertaining. Even though there’re far too many Mills-to-camera moments in which Scott unnecessarily shares his feelings regarding being around his idol, Hasselhoff himself has veered so far into Los Angeles self parody that the neutral can simply sit back and wonder at quite how unhinged the great man is.

He calls his office his Hoffice. A cup of coffee becomes a cup of Hoffee. He has a TV room half filled with VHS cassettes featuring archive footage of… well, guess who?

He has a room for all his German and Austrian gold discs. He’s trying to have his daughters record a single under the name The Hoff Drops. He has Hoff gag T shirts all around the house. The Hoff-based theme in his own abode never seems to end.

It’s totally unclear as to whether he’s into the joke and complicitly understands the affectionate mockery or whether he’s a deluded egomaniac blinkered by past success. You have to assume it’s a wired, confused mixture of the two.

Throughout, he’s unrelentingly hyper and, the minute Mills arrives, takes him off jet-skiing as if to prove some misguided point. Inevitably as he’s in his late 50s, Hoff falls off during the man-on-man watersports action and shakes himself up a bit. But there’s no time for tears as Jeremy Jackson – Hobie from Baywatch, commands The Hoff to fly to Vegas for a party.

The evening is a complete mess of Hoff running from one party scene to the next, not stopping for breath and denying Mills any one-on-one time. The entire sequence is composed of one trying to catch up with the other until, eventually, Mills loses him. When Hoff asks why Mills ditched him the next day he asks if his guest ‘found a girl’, making it abundantly clear that he doesn’t even know Mills’ sexual preference – so as a getting-to-know-you piece, we’re floundering at the 45 minute mark.

As the time runs down, we have the closest thing to a personal conversation we’re going to get as some acupuncture needles pierce the two of them during a heart to heart. But then it slowly becomes apparent that this is going to be a series.

An hour in the dizzying company of this enigmatic mess is one thing – but an entire series revolving around The Hoff and his life in Bel Air?

Surely that’s too much to ask of anyone?

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Just a Thought – Jade on LivingTV

February 24, 2009

jade-goody-jack-tweed1

My interest in reality television runs its course when a series ends. The resulting deals – guest spots on the Tuesday Night Project, tabloid coverage, Heat covers, OK covers, Hello covers,  Now covers, Next covers – they’re all for morons, right?

Right.

So what the hell is going on with the coverage of Jade at the moment? The bizarre, sentimental freakiness of the last few days is enough to turn the stomach – both at the soft-focus, Max Clifford exploitation festival it’s becoming and also at the outright hypocrisy that’s dribbling out of the television and from the mouths of idiot journalists.

It’s not just the tabloid press. The higher-minded (but just as manipulative) broadsheets and nightly talking heads are also enjoying a spurt of repulsive self-analysis, disguised as altruism and goodwill. I’ve seen features on Newsnight and in The Observer and The Times – and no doubt I’ve missed many others.

Jade Goody occupies a very weird position in public knowledge. She’s the epitomy of the untalented celebrity, celebrated for nothing. Her normality is what made her famous and with fame as her ultimate aim, once she reached that peak there was nothing left for her to do but milk it. She was born without a silver spoon and with no talent to speak of, so all she could do was sell herself. And bizarrely, people handed over their cash.

The worst thing about this current state of affairs is the presence of circling vultures, literally waiting for the death of their prey before they can cash in their chips. So – I’ll share a few of my questions before my head implodes at this phenomenon.

  • Who is actually watching LivingTV’s ‘Jade’ – her new reality show in which the casual, morbid voyeur can watch a familiar face degenerating and dying?
  • Isn’t this a shameful enterprise, devoid of actual, meaningful content and consisting of nothing other than celebrity death?
  • It’s tasteful enough when it’s onscreen, but isn’t the screen soiled with sensationalism and grotesquery when the show’s switched off?
  • Who is that buys ‘Hello’ magazine so they can gawk at shots of Jack and Jade sharing their last, personal moment in front of millions?
  • How much does Max Clifford make in all this?

Jade and her family are being exploited to the tune of a few a thousand quid, earning it in a grim race against time so they can chuck soiled notes in a gaping grave. It’s as simple as that.

‘Ah’ – they counter… ‘but who is exploiting who?!’

As they say this they make that ‘aren’t I clever?’ face and raise an eyebrow as though they’ve made the most brilliant and insightful second hand comment in history. And, to be fair, it’s a difficult question to answer – the money she’ll receive will be monumental… but where’s the soul? The dignity? The meaning?

Can somebody let me know?

Paul McKenna – I Can Make You Thin

January 8, 2009

I was always pretty much indifferent when it came to hypnosis, until a friend started training to become a clinical hypnotherapist. When he told me about the training he was undergoing I enjoyed using words like ‘piffle’ and ‘mumbo jumbo’ as he recounted the details. He took it with good grace, and we agreed to disagree.

Then recently, I read Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind in which, in his signature style, he discusses the subject very frankly and gives an insight into the techniques involved. I tried a couple of the rudimentary examples he gives and found that, on a basic level, they work. As he recommended, I continued – purely out of curiosity – to read up on the subject, trying at all costs to avoid the more commercial end of the market. There are, after all, clearly hypnotists out there who are as interested in lining their pockets as they are concerned for helping people out.

Then I decided to give up smoking and got my hands on an eight minute mp3 of Paul McKenna which guaranteed it could help to cancel cravings. Essentially, in this little transmission, it simply forced you to create an association between the craving and something you personally find horrendous. I chose turds with all hairs sticking out. Seriously.

It worked, for a week. I’d never given up for more than 24 hours before this little revelation – and the only reason I got back on the smokes again was because a life-changing event happened the following week, making me lose focus. Impressed, I got hold of more of McKenna’s stuff (hiding it from everyone, as it’s all got a self-help stigma following it about like a nasty smell), but with all of his other programmes, possibly because I don’t need them, I found them overlong and cheese-ridden.

McKenna’s main problem is that his techniques are all grounded in proven clinical methodology, but these alone aren’t commercially viable. To get around that, he dresses one or two simple directives in so much marketing blabber (an easy bedfellow of the suggestive language of hypnosis), that it begins to feel like he’s not only trying to change a habit – he’s also trying to make you sign up to McKenna LTD.

I was surprised that Living TV wasn’t showing his ‘I Can Make You Thin’ on a subscription basis. Again, tuning in out of  curiosity,  you find more of the same.  If you want to lose weight (I don’t, particularly), this programme will probably help and save you the expense and hassle of Atkins style crash diets.

That said, it’ll cost you in other departments. In the one episode I’ve seen, one technique – the negative association craving-buster I mentioned before – was demonstrated over the course of an hour. This took around 10 minutes. The rest of the hour was concerned with testimonials, case studies and non-stop, advertising blather.

McKenna sells techniques that work very well, but his real strength is in selling himself. The show is like some weird, apolitical rally. It’s like you’ve walked into a bizarre, born again Christian sermon, in which only 5% of the content is actually discernible – the rest being a confusing spectrum of superficially pleasing waffle-bollocks.

I preferred it when he was making people cluck like chickens on ITV.

Britain’s Next Top Model – Finale

July 9, 2008

Little Twat

I’ve spoken before about half-watching this series. Then Quincy spoke about the franchise. So let’s make this the final piece in the triptych, inspired by the most fatuous entertainment available. The finale to Britain’s Next Top Model was televised on Monday. This time the hour long format was extended by 25 minutes. I bet you can’t believe you missed it.

We were down to three – the unholy trinity. Firstly we had bitchy, spoilt twat Alex. Then we had big-wapped, dusky, self-righteous berk, Stefanie. Finally, we had classically beautiful, burger-flipping redhead-dunderhead, Catherine. And, from these three, a winner had to be decided upon. Looking at them, even now, it’s apparent that none of them have ‘Top Model’ written all over them. Pretty, yes. Models, maybe. Top models, no way.

Stefanie was ejected after half an hour leaving ‘best mates’ Alex and Charlotte. Eage-eyed readers with elephantine memories will remember I referred to Alex as a ‘little twat’ back at the kick-off. When the decision was made, the judges went for this little twat, deciding that Catherine wasn’t up to it, despite the fact she was far prettier, much more likable and didn’t have a face and body more bland than the most unmoving Nuts pictorial. Quite how they came to the decision, I couldn’t tell you.

The code the judges speak in is an indecipherable babble of second hand fashionista speak. They talk about degrees of fierceness – soooo fierce, totally non-fierce, really working the fierceness.

There’s another one – the ‘working it’ phrase. Is she working it in that photo, for you? Do you think she can work it in editorial? Can she work it runway-style? Is she purely working the commercial side? These are the things they say to one another, leaving people like me – the type who run to the nearest Oxfam when high fashion is mentioned – cowering and dribbling with confusion.

‘Working it’ implies that they actually do work, but for the past god-knows-how-many weeks we’ve been subjected to endless footage of them standing in fashion shoots, being photgraphed whilst doing precisely nothing other than pulling faces. This is what models do. They pull faces whilst standing about. It’s so far from rocket science that to state that it’s not that is to state the obvious so forcefully that your jaw will come loose, leaving a yawning, confused chasm where your face used to be.

I also have a problem with ‘fierce’. What’s so ‘fierce’ about standing about and pouting in a well lit room? It implies some intensity of feeling, ‘fierce’. There is no feeling where these girls are concerned. They stand limply in front of a lens while some bisexual poser or self-important old woman orders that their picture gets taken.

The expression on their faces is generally one of boredom or faux-sensuality. No deeper meaning should be read into it than they are trying their hardest to look sexy so that you’ll buy a watch, or a perfume or some other material shit. What they are doing is of no importance, and the whole racket is a fucking farce.

Snowdon is a horrible host. She’s clearly watched Tyra Banks at work and either she’s directed to copy her every move or she does it of her own accord. Tyra Banks is annoying enough – that’s another post entirely – but Snowdon copying Banks’s trite catchphrases and thick-as-pigshit enthusiasm? It’s more than any sane man can bear. ‘I was just like…soooo not thinking she was working it that day, but this time she’s, like, TOTALLY soooo fierce. But for me she’s not next top model material’. What the fuck does any of that mean? Alan Sugar she is not. Her use of the word ‘deliberate’ never fails to raise my ire. ‘That was a great deliberation’. ‘Ok guys, it’s time to deliberate’. Said so many times, the word loses all meaning and just becomes a segment in a torrid television programme. It’s direct abuse of the language and I won’t stand for it.

With zombie-freak Huggy and that twat in the hat, wrong decisions were made at literally every stage of the process. These are a collection of contemptible twats offering the phoniest prize imaginable. They will never be ‘top models’, this lot. They never could have been. Not only are they being offered a fake prize, they’re also deluding themselves that the prize is worth winning. Didn’t they see previous series? I can name Kate Moss, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you the name of any previous winners of this show. Which suggests they’re not exactly ‘top’. More lower-bottom.

The worst thing is that Alex won. As I mentioned, she was a complete and utter arsehole – not only boring to look at, but also nasty, manipulative, bullying, vain, stuck up, vacuous and thick. The fact that she won shows the whole thing up for exactly what it is. It’s worse than Big Brother as it’s not a popularity contest – they’re perfectly allowed to fight with one another. It’s worse than the Apprentice because their mettle is never tested – the worst they have to do is hold a snake for five minutes or be suspended from the ceiling… big deal.

It’s worse than most reality shows as it only deals in surface, vanity and the fleeting quality of outer attractiveness. It’s the most shallow piece of shit on TV and – even worse – pretty compulsive.