Posts Tagged ‘Virgin 1’

Cradle Snatcher & Proud

August 28, 2008

Seeing this show in the listings, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stomach it. I mean … Sue Perkins was doing the voice-over. Still, I’m nothing if not dedicated to my craft.

This is the latest offering in Virgin 1’s ‘… And Proud’ season and is obviously an attempt to cash in on the success of Channel Four’s recent run of highly-succesfull freakshow documentaries. My Husband is a 1987 Transit Van, and so on.

The title is self-explanatory. We met various couples, all with a wide age-difference between them, and found out what they thought and what society thought of their relationship. It’s encouraging to see that women these days have now achieved full equality-of-embarassment – there were just as many randy old women with their glasses steamed-up over young boys’ pecs as there were middle-aged men drooling over schoolgirls.

Ken is 44 and a children’s entertainer. His girlfriend, shy, timid Hannah is 17. They first met when she was best-friends with his daughter Nina and came to stay with them while she was moving schools. According to Ken, Hannah made the first move. Whether that move was made when she rolled a six and landed on Ken’s Park Lane hotel during a particularly important game of Monopoly was never mentioned. But once word got round that they were dating, his career as a children’s entertainer started to suffer and Ken and Hannah eventually had to move out of the area. I suppose it’s inevitable. Noone likes to think that their children’s entertainer is offering ‘extras’ and I dread to think what sort of material he was making his balloon animals out of.

In the past 40 years there has apparently been around a 20% increase in older women dating younger men. So, it was interesting to meet 62-year-old blonde MILF Wendy. Before bringing up your breakfast, you really should see her. Wendy is still a very attractive and sophisticated women who could easily pass for a highly-eligible 45-year-old. In fact, she was getting so much attention from young men that she wrote a book about it called, ‘The Toyboy Diaries’. From what we saw of Wendy’s lifestyle, the combination of notoriety and good looks means that she’s knee-deep in glistening pecs and baby oil every night of the week.

A gaggle of drunk, cackling 40-something women who set up the toyboywarehouse.com dating website told us ad nauseum how great it was to shag young men. Inevitably, the idea of 40 and 50-something men getting together and setting up a website of the same sort for young girls, without having molotov cocktails hurled through their windows, was never mentioned.

Chris was on holiday at Butlins with his parents aged just 18 when he fell for 50-year-old karaoke queen, Norma. Despite the enormous age difference, the two of them began a passionate affair immediately. Chris proposed to Norma three weeks later and they’ve been together for 12 years. Regardless of the age difference, they seemed like a fairly well-matched and happy couple. And Chris doesn’t really think of his wife as old. As he told us, ‘Norma doesn’t need oiling.’ All the best Chris. But no more details please, if you don’t mind.

This is all fair enough, I suppose. It’s hard enough to find someone to spend your life with without ruling someone out on the basis that they’re the wrong age. And so long as it’s all legal, I don’t see anything to worry about with any of this. But some of the stories were …well, best viewed on an empty stomach.

From MILFs we move to GILFs. Awkward chubby spectoid Simon (34) met game old bird Edna (73) a few years ago and they are now happily shacked up together. They first met when Simon was playing his organ in the local cinema [readers are invited to fill-in their own jokes here] and immediately fell in love.

Simon was still living with his parents at this point and they initially kept their relationship secret – but would speak for five to six hours on the phone every night, each conversation ending with Simon playing Edna ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ on his organ. They both live in Weston-Super-Mare and the first time Simon kissed Edna was under the pier. Thankfully for all concerned this is merely a statement of fact and not a euphemism.

As a further tribute to his undying love, Simon is now installing an antique pipe organ the size of a swimming pool into an enormous pit in their back garden. On the bright side, what with Simon’s obsession with old organs and Edna’s irrepressible joi de vivre, if they do ever breed, the child will be assured of a long career playing the lead in touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera – probably from a very young age and without the need for make-up.

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American Inventor

February 27, 2008

American Inventor 

Q: I say, I say, I say… what happens when you cross Dragon’s Den with American Idol and transfer it across the pond, produced in an executive manner by that Simon Cowell fellow and the Peter Jones we know and loathe?
A: You’re left with a pile of stinking shit.

It seems that to make money in American television these days, you only need to take a UK reality show that’s not yet been adapted, stick ‘America’ or ‘USA’ in the title, remove any element that made the show half-watchable in the first place and then stick it up on the box. Our American cousins will get their square eyes slavering over it in huge numbers.

I tuned in to American Inventor hoping it’d be Dragon’s Den transplanted across the Atlantic, but maintaining the basic premise. It was a foolish mistake and I’m sorry.

I was even poised to make notes throughout, the way I used to when I followed the Apprentice, making sure I got everything in. This time my scrawl finishes after a few sentences with the words ‘this is utter, utter shit’.

So where did they go wrong? Let’s bullet-point it, as if we were making a presentation to the Televisual Taste Adjudication Board.

  • Completely unconvincing edits and cutaways, clearly filmed later or before, introduced with no effort whatsoever to cover themselves up.
  • Needless celebrity panellists who had nothing to do with anything and who couldn’t offer expertise even if they had any.
  • Show offs and actors made up the ‘contestants’ rather than bona fide inventors.
  • Streams of transparently manipulative incidental music accompanied ‘whoa! he’s kooky’ contestants, fat contestants, sob story contestants etc…
  • A needless, sentimental montage involving a firefighter dominated the final quarter, inducing a bucket-load of vomit and a laughable denouement.
  • Titles, presentation style and production all complete carbon copies of the X Factor. The two styles (invention pitches / auditions) mix like orange juice and milk.

The panellists are right out of the economy drawer. Apart from Jonesy (who kowtows to the lowest common denominator at every opportunity and is only included to play the ‘cold Brit’ character), we have George Foreman, some woman who invented slimming pants and a bespectacled weirdo without portfolio.

Foreman’s clearly taken a few batterings in his time and, as a result, says yes to everything. The woman’s as thick as two tiny planks and the other bloke sits there contributing nothing.

This time, rather than the investors putting up their own money, they’ve gone and ruined it by offering a fifty grand prize to every idea that gets three ‘yes’es from the panellists. Apart from the cosmetic failures, this is where we really see the problems seep in.

In the UK version, the entrepreneurs put themselves on the line and stump up their own money, putting their reputations on the line. Here, the studio puts up the money, so it degenerates into a charity effort.

The best example of this is the aforementioned firefighter. Affable but terminally thick, he invented a ‘Guardian Angel’. The theory is that it sits atop your Christmas Tree and, should the tree burst into flames, the angel turns into a sprinkler system. For the tree. The stupidity was further compounded when this tit in a uniform pulled out his blueprint – a felt-tip monstrosity a brain-damaged goose could’ve come up with.

Ludicrous? I thought so. But all the judges gave it a ‘yes’, including Peter Jones, who in the UK version would have told the geezer to get himself fucked. But no – he’s in America where firefighters are treated as Gods, rather than the hare-brained, admirably backward part-timers they actually are.

I would go into the other inventions on display but they weren’t even breath-takingly stupid – just boringly and obviously crap and unfunny. An hour of my life gone. A whole hour.

The reason we (or maybe it’s only ‘I’) watch Dragons’ Den is to see the smart but awkward entrepreneurs make tits of themselves or praise and reward someone who’s put a lot of effort into a genius idea. There’s none of that here.

In fact, there’s nothing here apart from a badly repackaged turd of a television programme that should never, ever have been emitted from the anus of television. Avoid at all costs.