Rolling UK Comedy Thread - "Ricky Don't Lose Larry David's Number

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It's like a little piece of Cookd and Bombd on dear old ILx.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

anyway... Gervais gets painfully OTM takedown from The Indy.

Ricky Gervais: Step into my office

He created one of the great sitcoms. He is a very funny man. And he's concerned about his 'legacy'. Which is exactly why Nicholas Barber would like to have a quiet word with Ricky Gervais

Published: 14 January 2007

Ricky Gervais opens his new live show wearing a plastic crown and a regal red robe, with his name in lights behind him and a six-foot model of an Emmy award to his left. "Not too much, is it?" he asks with mock-concern, but the answer is, no, it's not too much. If anything, it's not enough. Once he's slipped off the fancy dress, the reigning King of Comedy strolls around the stage for an hour and a bit in his trademark jeans and black T-shirt. He couldn't be more relaxed if he was at home in his pyjamas (which he is, he says, by 6.30 most nights).

He's such a natural comic that he gets laughs every time he unleashes his falsetto sarcasm or his saliva-soaked giggle. He skilfully deconstructs his stories as he's telling them, and he slips nimbly back and forth across the boundaries of taste, so we're never quite certain how offended to be.

But compared to any other stand-up show in a venue the size of Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, it's a lackadaisical performance. Between swigs from a beer can, Gervais recounts a few chat-show anecdotes, does some student bar stuff about how nonsense songs don't make sense, has a smirk at those dunces who abused a paediatrician because they thought he was a paedophile, and dishes up regular portions of ironic homophobia.

At least, I assume it's ironic. When he makes an Aids joke, and then mutters, "I won't do that one in Brighton," I'm not 100-per-cent sure why it's less objectionable than it would have been if Jim Davidson had made the same remark. Overall, it's an amiable show, but there's not much in the way of depth or quotable punchlines, and there's no theme beyond the tour's title, Fame: doing charity gigs, signing autographs, being misrepresented in the tabloids, hugging Chris Tarrant. You'd assume that someone who didn't start writing The Office until his late thirties would have a stock of pre-fame memories to transmute into comedy. There was his stint in an Eighties pop duo, and then as a university entertainments officer, to name the two best-known jobs he had before he made headway at XFM and on Channel 4's 11 O'Clock Show. But instead of mining these veins of material, Gervais seems obsessed by his own celebrity. He's like one of those rock bands who get to their third album and can't dredge up anything to write songs about except groupies, hotel rooms and the disappointments of being a multi-millionaire.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Since The Office brought Gervais sudden fame and fortune, he's been the proverbial kid in a candy store, living out the fantasies of every film and comedy geek. He made a guest appearance on Alias because he was a fan of the show. He wrote an episode of The Simpsons, and turned up in it in cartoon form. He became friends with Jonathan Ross, as every rising UK comedian is contractually obliged to do. When Channel 4 offered him his own interview strand, he jumped at the chance to badger his heroes, Larry David, Christopher Guest and Larry Shandling. His first film roles seem to be motivated by hero-worship, too. Having shone as a pompous boss in The Office, he can now be seen cameoing as a pompous boss in both Night at the Museum and For Your Consideration. Neither film is very good, but they did allow him to hang out with Ben Stiller and Christopher Guest, just as his role in the forthcoming Stardust let him share a studio with Robert De Niro.

"It's like winning a competition," he said in one recent interview. "It's like, would you like to play with Spinal Tap for a day? Yes. Would you like to play with The Godfather for a day? Yes." Gervais is not the first British comedian to jump on a plane to Hollywood, of course, and there's nothing wrong with mutual appreciation sessions with your idols. Indeed, there's something sweet about such a major star letting his inner fanboy come out to play. As his collection of Golden Globes and Emmys attests, the American entertainment industry loves the man from Reading, so you can hardly blame him for loving it back. Who wouldn't want to be Peter Lawford in a comedy Rat Pack?

On the other hand, it's getting harder to ignore the weird disjunction between the way Gervais talks about his career and the way it actually is.

Ever since The Office began broadcasting in July 2001, its star and co-creator has been repeating in interviews that he's primarily a writer and director, and that he gets "no joy from seeing my fat face on the screen". Initially, he said he didn't want to do too much TV as himself because he wanted viewers to enjoy the illusion that David Brent and his colleagues were real people; that was why he cast unknown actors.

He even boasted, somewhat ungallantly, that he'd turned down roles in Pirates of The Caribbean and the other films which went on to feature his Office co-stars. "Secretly I think I'd be quite good on QI," he told one interviewer, misinterpreting the word "secretly". "But you have to discipline yourself and you have to ration yourself. I can get sick of someone I like within the space of a weekend if I see them on two quiz shows and then in the Sunday paper." It's a strange statement from someone who once fought Anthea Turner's husband in a televised boxing match.

The Ricky Gervais who talks to journalists is a publicity-shy artist with exacting principles. "That quest for excellence, and also the legacy - I think about that," he said in The Radio Times. "I don't know if that's because I came to it older, but we really want to to have a great batting average. We don't want to let our guard down. You do it because you want to be proud of it." To Esquire, he pronounced: "When you're creating art, you've got to be a complete fascist." To GQ, he described himself and his co-writer and co-director, Stephen Merchant, as "comedy fundamentalists". He's often said that he doesn't rate many British comedians after Stan Laurel. "American comedy is better. It aims higher," he told Esquire. This Ricky Gervais is an ascetic, slightly intimidating perfectionist. And yet the other Ricky Gervais, the one who's all over the media, is someone who knows he won't be in the limelight forever, and who wants to revel in the exposure, the side projects and the glamorous friendships while he can.

It's impossible to exaggerate just how successful he's been. The Office has been broadcast in 80 countries, and remade in several, including the hit American edition with Steve Carell in the lead role. Sales of the British Office DVDs were record-breaking - four million is the current figure - and, as the tongue-in-cheek introduction to his live show reminds us, he's won an Emmy, two Golden Globes and six Baftas.

But this astonishing Midas Touch doesn't stop a large proportion of his work falling short of the benchmark he's set himself. His current stand-up tour, the fastest selling in history, sees him sitting right in the middle of his comfort zone. Podcasts of The Ricky Gervais Show are another record-breaking hit, but as funny as they can be, they consist largely of his XFM producer, Karl Pilkington, reeling off outlandish theories, while Gervais and Merchant berate him for not being as well educated as they are. And if his trio of children's picture books, Flanimals, hadn't had Gervais's name on it, the publisher would have sent it back with a polite note saying that it wasn't what they were looking for.

And then there's Extras. At the risk of inviting hate mail, I'd argue that Gervais and Merchant's second sitcom is, objectively, a patchy programme. Yes, it had its laughs. The fizzy water incident is destined to join Del Boy falling through the bar in all future bank holiday retrospectives of The 100 Best British Sitcom Moments. But it always felt less like a fully-formed show than an exercise in muscle-flexing by two writer-directors who had realised how powerful they were. They wanted superstars, they wanted location shooting, they wanted no canned laughter and almost no supporting cast; they had a list of minorities for the characters to upset and they wanted to tick them off methodically, week by week. Everything they wanted, they got.

The mysterious aspect of Extras was that it drew almost entirely from Gervais's own experiences in television, and yet it couldn't shake off a whiff of fakeness. It missed the satirical targets which were right in front of its creators' noses. Take its famous guest stars, for instance. On the programme which had the biggest influence on Extras, The Larry Sanders Show, the celebrity guests challenged us to spot where they ended and their scabrous self-parodies began, something Gervais himself does brilliantly on talk shows and on stage. But in Extras the celebs were all caricatured so ridiculously that there was never any danger that they might have been revealing their dark private selves. Did anyone watching it ever suspect that Daniel Radcliffe goes around propositioning actresses twice his age, or that Orlando Bloom pathologically hates Johnny Depp, or that Ben Stiller has exactly the same speech patterns as David Brent? Probably not. The actors could congratulate themselves on being good sports without the slightest risk.

Beyond that, there was the implausibility of Gervais's character, Andy Millman, being hoiked to stardom from work as a "background artist" even though - unlike Gervais - he had no TV-comedy experience. There was also the bewildering animus against the BBC, which was forcing Andy to wear a bad wig and specs in his sitcom-within-a-sitcom; when did that last happen in the real world? But what was more damaging was the series' grating inconsistencies. Sometimes Andy would be as crass and tactless as David Brent ever was, whereas at other times Andy would be the judicious one, and the solecisms would be parcelled out to his friend Maggie or his agent, played by Merchant.

In their introduction to the Extras script book, the writers say that they wanted a change from Brent. They wanted "Andy to be more like us: more normal, more self-aware, educated and liberal-minded, with a half-decent sense of humour". And so he was - some of the time. But he was also a man who saw a Bosnian refugee's photograph of his murdered wife, and then chided him for his choice of developer. "Oh, you missed a trick," he said. "Truprint give you a free film when you get something developed. So you're a mug." And witness the way Andy was shocked when Keith Chegwin grunted that the BBC was run by "Jews and queers" - and I'd love to know when anyone in showbusiness last said that - but was also horrified when a schoolmate he hadn't seen in 20 years thought he might be gay himself. (More only-just-ironic homophobia there.) "Andy's not a jerk at all," said Gervais in the Onion AV Club last week, but when it suited the joke, Andy mutated into David Brent multiplied by Basil Fawlty.

Whereas The Office took such pains to fool us, for half an hour at a time, that we were flies on the wall of a genuine paper merchants', Extras required viewers to give it the same leeway that they would a pantomime. In a single episode of the second series, Andy was at the BBC, filming a sitcom, and yet the same sitcom was already on air, getting a critical pasting, and Andy was also auditioning for a play, rehearsing it and performing it. Assuming that he wasn't supposed to be a Time Lord, Gervais and Merchant had given up caring whether their programme had any internal logic or not.

At the risk of inviting yet more hate mail, I'd suggest, too, that even in the second series of The Office, there were signs that its writers already believed the hype. Gareth was more obnoxious; Brent was more self-deluding; the humour was broader and cruder. When Brent frothed at a birthday party about how he'd have sex with the Corrs, the raucous, drunken festivities slammed to a halt and everyone stared in disgust.

Fair enough, that's the kind of thing which happens in sitcoms all the time, but the previous series hadn't felt like a sitcom; it had felt like an unwittingly hilarious documentary. The second series could have been written by someone who had watched the first one, but hadn't quite understood it.

That's not to say that anyone who masterminded those first terrific six episodes of The Office shouldn't be proud of himself. Nor is this an attempt to start a backlash or chop down a tall poppy. After all, everything Gervais does is worth a look, because he's funny even when - as on the current stand-up tour - he's not trying very hard. And when someone has accrued so many millions, so many plaudits and so many famous admirers he might feel justified in letting standards slip.

But let's get his output into perspective. Perhaps we should ease off on the King of Comedy accolades until Gervais's batting average, as he calls it, is a little closer to Galton and Simpson's or Clement and Le Frenais's. And that's not likely to happen unless he eases off on the cameos, the podcasts and the children's books. Maybe now that he's done a stand-up show called Fame, he can get back to the sort of work which made him famous.

The first leg of Ricky Gervais's stand-up tour has sold out. Tickets for the second leg, beginning on 6 March, go on sale on Tuesday at www.ticketzone.co.uk

http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article2152792.ece

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

Who wouldn't want to be Peter Lawford in a comedy Rat Pack?

BURN.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

couldn't agree more with the article.

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah pretty definitive article.

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

I got most of my Extras series 2 opinions (other people's that is) from the thread on here, and as such it's quite easy to forget that a pretty big proportion of the outside world thought it was really good and not at all disappointing or obsequious. Good piece, thirded

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:59 (ten years ago) Permalink

not that big a proportion surely though. i bet it got nowhere near the viewing figures of say my family or something.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:11 (ten years ago) Permalink

"it's quite easy to forget that a pretty big proportion of the outside world thought it was really good and not at all disappointing"

is this true?

Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:14 (ten years ago) Permalink

Among the people that actually watched it, I meant, but yeah you could definitely argue that the audience-to-coverage ratio is pretty skewed

xpost

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

on a cookd/bombd tip, glad to see i'm, not alone in thinking Sam Wollaston is a truly hopeless telly reviewer.

Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

Alison Graham and Sal Woollaston liked it. They're two hip, with it, swinging cats.
xxp

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

Cookd and Bombd fact: I once saw a noted C+B poster try to chat up a Little Britain fan, whilst he so clearly was trying to hold back his real views on Lucas and Walliams for the sake of poppage.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

It got mostly good reviews did it not? And most people I spoke to thought it was pretty good, maybe not quite up w/ the first series

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

Alison Graham: Copy and Paste Your Top 1000 Reasons Why She Is So Bad and Hated

Michael Philip Philip Philip Philip Annoyman (Ferg), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

But why though? Is Gervais just some master of the percentage game, he knows that 20% ironic homophobia, 15% recycled Seinfeld gags, 32% broad catchphrase comedy, etc etc is the key to the nation's heart?

xp

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'm calling it: Alison Graham is the worst fucking journalist on the planet today.

I would say that though, because I hate women.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

who's your least favourite man hack? (you can't vote for yourself)

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Sam Wollaston
Wednesday January 3, 2007
The Guardian


Here's a scene. You're looking along your collection of CDs, or shuffling through your playlist, trying to find that new Lady Sovereign album or whatever. But you stumble across something else, something from 10 years ago - the Fugees, say."

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:21 (ten years ago) Permalink

OTM

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:22 (ten years ago) Permalink

Sam Wollaston would then go on to mention how his "friend" really likes that Fugees album.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:22 (ten years ago) Permalink

who's your least favourite man hack? (you can't vote for yourself)

That senile dribbling cunt with his own column in the Guardian weekend magazine.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

Or Artrocker Comedy Racism Man

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

that article i posted up thread is i think what john harris perecives his "controversial" articles to read like.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

SW will never spend any real money or time on "that new (some say only) Lady Sovereign album" or, indeed, "whatever."

That senile dribbling cunt with his own column in the Guardian weekend magazine.

Cue stock that's no way to talk about Zoe Williams gag.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

Alison Graham doesn't have a Wikipedia entry. And Dom Passantino does.

Michael Philip Philip Philip Philip Annoyman (Ferg), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

Where are the standards of today, I ask you.

I don't have a Wikipedia entry either.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:35 (ten years ago) Permalink

Thursday, 20:00
Radio Ha Ha

Radio 4 turns over the airwaves to solid gold laughter, as Steve Punt joins up with a host of stars, backstage movers and industry shakers from the comedy industry with a two-hour special.

Variety shows and radio were the traditional routes to comedy fame and fortune, but what about today? Super agents, DVD sales, straight-to-TV stars; where does radio fit in? Steve and a panel of guests pick apart the laughter seam of the modern comedy industry, as well as generating a few jokes along the way.

Includes News Summary at 9.00pm.

Euai Kapaui (tracerhand), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

In any given episode of "Extras", it could be 15% "brilliant", 25% "passable" and 60% "rubbish/obvious"...

like swimming in a cool sea and passing through a warm current, etc...

Where are the standards of today, I ask you.
I don't have a Wikipedia entry either.

-- Marcello Carlin (marcellocarli...)

Oh, have I got one?

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

you are diligently referenced on both j harris' and a petridis' though marcello.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

Search
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You searched for mark grout [Index]

No page with that title exists.

Whew.

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

before that little derail folks was talkin' about the public / critical reaction to extras s2. the critical raves so often feel like wishful thinking. wanting, needing to have that generation defining masterpiece happening on your watch. i have yet to meet anyone who regards extras as anything other than ok or entertaining.

also on the bad can someone please put Have I Got News For You out of its misery.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

At the risk of inviting hate mail, I'd argue that Gervais and Merchant's second sitcom is, objectively, a patchy programme.

At the risk of, on this reviewer's logic, inviting lynch-mobs to my door, I'd argue that Extras was shite.

You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (Haberdager), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:02 (ten years ago) Permalink

Radio Ha Ha is great. I was fooled by it the first time.

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (ten years ago) Permalink

sometimes writers employ rhetorical devices.

xpost

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (ten years ago) Permalink

wait, i'm thinking of that other thing on radio 4. carry on. xpost

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (ten years ago) Permalink

xpost: Yes, but I still think the sentence panders unnecessarily towards Extras when it can really go for the kill instead.

You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (Haberdager), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:12 (ten years ago) Permalink

'This week: Worzel says all reggae is vile.' thread actually linked to from John Harris wikipedia!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:12 (ten years ago) Permalink

A handful of contributors to the I Love Music boards have strongly attacked what they as a thread of covert racism in some of his work

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:13 (ten years ago) Permalink

david quantick wrote a book about chris rock?

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY QUIZZICALLY PURSED LIPS?

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

to get off the hate and link to Quantick... TV Burp is back on Saturday! woo! Harry on this year's CBB should be a joy.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

for reference or summat from the green wing thread:

To put things into context: Harry Hill aside, all British TV Comedy right now is total shit.

-- Ruairi Wirewool (horseproduction...), January 15th, 2007. (Ruairi Wirewool) (later)


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what were the chances of that happening?
-- mark grout (mark.grou...), January 15th, 2007. (mark grout) (later)


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If you can put CT and Green Wing on a par, you truly show a lack of discernment IMO.
Frankly, now that GW has been and gone, I'm inclined to agree with Ruairi, minus the bit about Harry Hill.

-- You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (papiermachealamphibia...), January 15th, 2007. (Haberdager) (later)


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If you can put CT and Green Wing on a par, you truly show a lack of discernment IMO.
no it's just a 'higher' (or rather 'stricter') level of discernment.

-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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'the thick of it' will be back, later in the year, and so will 'peep show'.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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but in a another more accurate sense...
-- mark s (mar...), January 15th, 2007. (mark s) (later)


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but then i do like Harry Hill so it's apples and roundabouts.
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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rubbish
-- RJG (RJ...), January 15th, 2007. (RJG) (later)


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so you keep saying
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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RJG's TV Burp
-- Dom Passantino (juror...), January 15th, 2007. (Dom Passantino) (later)


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Hmm. I was only talking about currently-running comedy shows. If Peep Show returns for a fourth bite at the cherry (and TTOI for a second), I will only be too delighted. Of course, the one I'm really looking out for is Nathan Barley II.
-- You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (papiermachealamphibia...), January 15th, 2007. (Haberdager) (later)


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i think it would be a big ask for there to be a 'great' uk comedy series to be running all 52 weeks of the year. i have low standards perhaps; but i don't ask for a 'great' film each month either.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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of course i too want 'nathan barley' back.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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They could drop scissors on a dog's head this time.
-- Dom Passantino (juror...), January 15th, 2007. (Dom Passantino) (later)


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uh, rose-tinted view there i reckon - but at least it was generating interesting discussion.
one episode of Screen Wipe a month would be good. ditto TV Burp.

-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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ha ha Dom OTM
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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Unread Messages
as with 'green wing', take away the hype and the expectation it'll live up to 'the day today' and 'nathan barley' was 23 minutes well-spent. i lolled anyway.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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i didn't laugh more than i did laugh etc.
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

We're, what, 18 months away from NB now? Can we work out why it was so bad and so hated yet?

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:02 (ten years ago) Permalink

we already did!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

like, 5 minutes after the end credits!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'm talking about THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE AND HINDSIGHT

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

Charlie Brooker's Monday G2 column is weird because you can see the video game journalist in him threatening to break through at any moment. qf the Geoff Capes gag in today's etc.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:04 (ten years ago) Permalink

Louis you seem to be assuming that the guy from the Indie actually thinks Extras is shite, which isn't what he's saying. Something can be patchy and still have plenty of redeeming features overall

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:06 (ten years ago) Permalink

It wasn't bad. It was funny, well-drawn and turn-itself-inside-out clever, not to mention superbly casted and acted. It needs re-watching cos it skips from one idea to the next so quick, but yeh, it's awesome.

And Screen Wipe rocks.

Johnney B English (stigoftdump), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:07 (ten years ago) Permalink

Brooker should start doing his columns in cartoon strip form, like those ads for some gaming shop or other that were always in Gamesmaster magazine

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:08 (ten years ago) Permalink

I believe that's a US comedian.

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 16 September 2017 10:12 (two months ago) Permalink

whoops

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 16 September 2017 13:55 (two months ago) Permalink

after all that i did, of course, miss the first of the new task masters... (wednesdays on dave). luckily it's repeated tonight.

koogs, Sunday, 17 September 2017 14:29 (two months ago) Permalink

(M Watson also currently starving himself to near death on celebrity the island with bear grylls)

koogs, Sunday, 17 September 2017 14:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Just seen what Sean Lock looks like now! He's turning into Walter White.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 23 September 2017 14:37 (one month ago) Permalink

That's weird, he's looked exactly the same for about 20 years.

chap, Sunday, 24 September 2017 12:50 (one month ago) Permalink

another series of last leg? wasn't it only 2 minutes ago that the last series finished?

i watched 'pact' yesterday, starring her from him and her. was probably the most depressing thing i've seen in a while.

W1A is spot on about the meeting room names (floella benjamin, citizen khan) and the fold up bicycles.

koogs, Friday, 29 September 2017 20:09 (one month ago) Permalink

I should really get with W1A at some point. It sort of seems like the kind of show that brings knowing nods rather than the lolz though. I didn't watch 2012 either.

Ben Elton was on the One Show tonight. I turned off after about two minutes. I suspect he was being a massive self-important bell-end though.

ailsa, Friday, 29 September 2017 20:48 (one month ago) Permalink

i watched 'pact' yesterday, starring her from him and her. was probably the most depressing thing i've seen in a while.

gave up after 10 mins. not one laugh.

new season of the detectorists can not come soon enough.

mark e, Friday, 29 September 2017 21:16 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh, indeed. Was very late to Detectorists too, but I love it so much.

ailsa, Friday, 29 September 2017 21:53 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Sara Pascoe was on Richard Herring's show and I was laughing a lot at her saying she met Brian Blessed, but he might have been just an old Christmas tree constantly interrupting her.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 18:59 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Upstart Crow got progressively worse through S2 and featured an Elizabeth version of yer ACTUAL double seat routine near the end.

Thomas Gabriel Fischer does not endorse (aldo), Tuesday, 24 October 2017 19:08 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I might watch Upstart Crow if they got Miranda Richardson to reprise her QE1.

chap, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 08:43 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Detectorists is back on the 8th of November

Number None, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 23:21 (three weeks ago) Permalink

looking forward to Motherland. I'm a bit in love with Diane Morgan.

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Sunday, 29 October 2017 13:07 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Detectorists is back on the 8th of November

S3:Ep1 : Excellent.
loved the village hall scene, and the flashback was wonderfully done.

mark e, Thursday, 9 November 2017 12:50 (one week ago) Permalink

the 'bit of scaffolding' was classic detectorists, i think.

(they were on Front Row on tuesday night talking about the new series and apparently mackenzie has his detector on all the time whilst filming, toby doesn't)

elsewhere, Man Down continues to provide at least a LOL every episode. last week with the 'where's bob gone', 'he's got a part in the new Star Wars' bit and last night's Odessa Steps nod.

koogs, Thursday, 9 November 2017 12:58 (one week ago) Permalink

the 'bit of scaffolding' was classic detectorists, i think.

absolutely.

Man Down is very hit and miss for me, but when it hits, it really hits.

i have enjoyed 'Gameface' as well on ch4 recently, last episode tonight.

mark e, Thursday, 9 November 2017 13:03 (one week ago) Permalink

Man Down is a bit broad, yes. some good farcy bits, but i miss the drama lessons.

yes, and both greg and roisin were good guests on Last Leg last week.

matt lucas was on the radio a LOT recently talking about how he wouldn't do Little Britain again because times have changed and a lot of the things they did even that recently would be impossible now. all of which i was thinking about whilst watching League Of Gentlemen S01E01 repeat on bbc4 last night...

koogs, Thursday, 9 November 2017 14:01 (one week ago) Permalink

Oh I didn't kow Man Down was back, always good fun.

chap, Thursday, 9 November 2017 14:53 (one week ago) Permalink

all of which i was thinking about whilst watching League Of Gentlemen S01E01 repeat on bbc4 last night...

Sadly Pemberton and Shearsmith have no such hindsight; listened to them on Adam Buxton's podcast and they were pretty missing-the-point defensive about this stuff.

Also revisited the first three episodes of Inside No.9 recently and they do a trans woman reveal which seems to be played entirely for shock value.

Would all be less complicated if I didn't like their stuff but I think that while there's some pretty bad elements in there a lot of what could be seen as Problematic is more complex/defensible than you'd think...which makes it doubly sad to learn they don't really think about that stuff at all.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 9 November 2017 16:31 (one week ago) Permalink

I was told by someone who listened to that podcast that they were very considerate of those things and had always discussed it when writing.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 9 November 2017 16:36 (one week ago) Permalink

lucas was on the radio a LOT recently talking about how he wouldn't do Little Britain again because times have changed and a lot of the things they did even that recently would be impossible now.

It was repugnant at the time, let's be clear

shackling the masses with plastic-wrapped snack picks (sic), Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:22 (one week ago) Permalink

RAG, it's all about tone so ymmv but their response to concerns about Papa Lazarou was "race never even came into our mind", and (here's where the tone comes in) for me it felt like they thought that this was enough to put an end to the discussion.

Then when they were asked about Barbara they basically went "refer to the last question".

For Papa Lazarou I totally get that what they were going for was a kinda folk horror carnival feel and that blackface was part of that, would've been nice if they addressed things outside of just their intentions but it's an arguable point.

For Barbara it seems totally preposterous.

They did say at the end of that particular topic that yes, of course they discussed these matters, but to me there was nothing indicating that they had thought things through much.

They were otherwise very charming and funny, btw.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 9 November 2017 18:20 (one week ago) Permalink

I hadn't considered the blackface aspect until recently, I never thought it was supposed to be that. Was it supposed to resemble blackface?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 9 November 2017 18:58 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah I just thought it was meant to be creepy.

chap, Thursday, 9 November 2017 19:03 (one week ago) Permalink

I think it was supposed to resemble blackface, but Papa Lazarou is not a minstrel character. He's an unhinged conman using what he thinks are vague "exotic" tropes as part of his act. Like he himself is offensive, but I don't think the concept of the character is

iyknwim

Number None, Thursday, 9 November 2017 22:17 (one week ago) Permalink

It scanned as blackface to me at the time (meaning a direct reference to the cultural history of blackface, not that I thought the character was supposed to be black); again, I had assumed that this was to hit home Lazarou's character as belonging to a sort of half-forgotten England of tacky showbiz shit that now registers as creepy. So yeah, commentary on blackface; I believe they confirm that in the podcast when Buxton says he thought it was supposed to be a "minstrel thing.

What annoyed me about Pemberton and Shearmsith's reaction was how they confined it to their intention and gave no thought whatsoever about how it could come across differently once it's out in the world. Like I'm not saying they shouldn't have created the character.

Especially weak for them to then wave away Barbara with a "same applies" kinda answer: it's a shame because there were good things about Barbara, she was a reasonably sympathetic character and a trans woman in an era where there were next to none on TV, though obviously this is mitigated by the fact that she was inserted into this gallery of grotesques. So a convo on what they got right and what they got wrong could've been interesting.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 9 November 2017 22:43 (one week ago) Permalink

In retrospect Hailey in Coronation street seems like a bigger deal.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 9 November 2017 22:56 (one week ago) Permalink

Motherland is bloody great. Only thing I'm not sure about is the drippy token male primary carer. Feels like a bit of a cheap laugh (though he is very good in it).

Alba, Friday, 10 November 2017 13:39 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm 2 eps in and I'm not sure how i feel about the main character either. She's sort of.. humourless and defensive and high-strung and generally awful? I started liking the "alpha mom", particularly once she got her comeuppance a couple of times. At least she appears to care about other people and have a sense of humour.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 10 November 2017 14:26 (one week ago) Permalink

Philomena Cunk is of course always wonderful

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 10 November 2017 14:26 (one week ago) Permalink

I honestly could have watched alpha-mom show off at the benefit for an entire episode, her little mannerisms of self-regard just ridiculously entertaining

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 10 November 2017 14:29 (one week ago) Permalink

I think the main character is by far the best character, her relationship with her mother is brilliant.

nate woolls, Friday, 10 November 2017 14:36 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, I quite relate to Julia, but then I am defensive and generally awful.

Alba, Friday, 10 November 2017 14:37 (one week ago) Permalink

Just caught up with the first episode of the new Man Down. Thought it was very good actually - lots of silly laughs ("Bintu Bombatu") and the writing seems sharper.

chap, Friday, 10 November 2017 14:48 (one week ago) Permalink

I was deflated by Motherland. I thought it was not very good beyond some of the performances. With things that ramp up anxiety and frustration there's a fine line where the show itself can just make you feel anxious and frustrated. The jokes just aren't good enough to counteract that. Diane Morgan is obv great as is Julia's mother and the alpha mum. Kevin feels like he's been dropped in from another, much broader, show.

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Saturday, 11 November 2017 00:33 (one week ago) Permalink

yeah exactly! there's probably a TV tropes page about this, but the main character is frequently doing far stupider things than anyone would actually do, in order to ratchet up the tension, i.e. lie about her daughter being ill. i realise this is a classic sit-com move, but in a shaky handheld one-camera show it maybe doesn't work? for me.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 11 November 2017 09:21 (one week ago) Permalink

I felt like this became a problem in later series of Peep Show, e.g. Mark describing himself as a "paedophobe" when talking about how he's uncomfortable around children, despite this not being a thing that anyone would ever say. if you're doing comedy-of-awkwardness type stuff then I think the characters being inappropriate have seem at least somewhat believable because the tension comes from the breaching of these social rules, and those rules don't mean anything if you've set the precedent that characters in the show act in a totally unbelievable way and there effectively are no rules.

soref, Saturday, 11 November 2017 09:33 (one week ago) Permalink

and I think it is "believable" rather than necessarily "realistic", like Alan Partridge is an over-the-top unrealistic character, but the things he does and says feel like they come naturally from the character rather than things that are there to manoeuvre the script towards a punchline? idk

soref, Saturday, 11 November 2017 09:40 (one week ago) Permalink

i think i found it?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiotBall

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 11 November 2017 10:14 (one week ago) Permalink

i only saw the first ep -- watched it w/sister, who is a mom (tracer she says hi!) -- and quite enjoyed it, but thought it was odd to kick off with a storyline that entirely sidelined the daughter as a presence in the drama to come? the balance between obviously awful comedy characters and perfectly normal uncomedy level-headed characters seemed curiously out of whack also (but i assume this will shift)

mark s, Saturday, 11 November 2017 12:33 (one week ago) Permalink

Iain Connell playing a policeman in this week's Man Down. Kept on expecting him to say "QUALITY POLIS".

Thomas Gabriel Fischer does not endorse (aldo), Saturday, 11 November 2017 13:20 (one week ago) Permalink

I felt like this became a problem in later series of Peep Show, e.g. Mark describing himself as a "paedophobe" when talking about how he's uncomfortable around children, despite this not being a thing that anyone would ever say.

― soref, Saturday, 11 November 2017 09:33

Really? I think a lot of people are sort of grossed out by children.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 13 November 2017 22:59 (one week ago) Permalink

oh sure, but I meant no-one would actually use the term "paedophobe", but they have him say it so they can set up a comic misunderstanding

soref, Monday, 13 November 2017 23:15 (one week ago) Permalink

another one of those in Motherland is Kevin throwing his rival's trousers out of the swimming pool's changing room window. obviously that's something you could have Roy do in the IT crowd but that's a whole other register, which is maybe the problem with this. Horgan and Linnehan don't ever seem to worked in anything like the same way.

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 00:53 (six days ago) Permalink

Stop making me doubt this show!

Alba, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 07:42 (six days ago) Permalink

You're right, of course, but it just doesn't bother me much. Favourite Linehanish touch: the cutaways to the husband's latest fun awayday.

Alba, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 07:44 (six days ago) Permalink

I agree with Jed. There's a fine line between creating tension and anxiety for the characters and creating it for the audience, and I think this show goes over that line too many times for me to really enjoy it.

The characterization is spot on in some places, though. Wickedly so. I watched the episode where her in-laws come to "help" and thought, oh God, those are my parents. Maybe they're even me when I go to "help".

trishyb, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 09:17 (six days ago) Permalink

i loved the swimming pool party episode.
when my kids were younger, there was absolutely nothing i hated more than getting an invite for a swimming pool party.
they were always a slice of parental pressure/guilt/chaos/discomfort.
the waiting in the queue hoping its a drop-off party, only to realise you are not allowed due to rules and regs was wonderful.

at the primary school that my kids went to, there was absolutely the post drop off cafe gatherings.
as a dad in the playground (one of a very small number), i once got invited to go along for coffee one morning.
i made my excuses and did a runner.
so, yeah, i get the negativity esp. kevin, but i see a LOT of very clear connections to what i used to see/endure/avoid.

mark e, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 09:58 (six days ago) Permalink


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