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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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

BURN.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:29 (fourteen years ago) link

couldn't agree more with the article.

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:34 (fourteen years ago) link

yeah pretty definitive article.

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

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

"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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:20 (fourteen years ago) link

"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 (fourteen years ago) link

OTM

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:22 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

Or Artrocker Comedy Racism Man

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:38 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (fourteen years ago) link

sometimes writers employ rhetorical devices.

xpost

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

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

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

'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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

david quantick wrote a book about chris rock?

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

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

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:18 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

we already did!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (fourteen years ago) link

like, 5 minutes after the end credits!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm talking about THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE AND HINDSIGHT

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

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 (fourteen years ago) link

It's like when I used to watch the Simpsons and they'd reference a US celeb I'd never heard of, but I didn't mind because I could generally guess what that person was meant to signify in the context of the joke.

Just like an average day on ILX in other words. Daniel_Rf OTM btw.

Are Animated Dads Getting Hotter? (Tom D.), Friday, 4 June 2021 12:53 (three months ago) link

If we're mentioning Darkplace we should probably also call up Doctor Terrible's House of Horrible for horror films 10-20 years older.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 4 June 2021 14:47 (three months ago) link

darkplace got usa play on adult swim, never clicked for me.

Draymond is "Mr Dumpy" (forksclovetofu), Friday, 4 June 2021 19:10 (three months ago) link

Thanks for the Doctor Terrible shout aldo, catnip for fans of 60's Brit horror. The titles alone!

I watched the Witchfinder General parody and it's interesting how despite being a loving reconstruction of 70's visions of Ruritania it also feels totally like a 90's Xena/Hercules type set. Also weird to hear Coogan's witch locator use these inflections that we now associate so deeply with Partridge.

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 5 June 2021 09:43 (three months ago) link

I've never been sure how it'd play to someone familiar with the original films - especially since some of them lift actual dialogue and have the original cast in them - but for those of us that way inclined they're tremendous. I particularly love the one based on Vault of Horror, and also the Karnstein trilogy version.

Watch out for the cameo by Pete Walker regular Sheila Keith in the first of those, her final performance.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Saturday, 5 June 2021 09:55 (three months ago) link

One of my other massively unpopular things that play 100% into my wheelhouse is Cruise of the Gods.

It's the ur-version of the Coogan/Brydon model later used in Tristram Shandy and The Trip, with them as ex-teen stars of a post-apocalypse ITV-style kids show set in the New Romantic era. It's set on a fan cruise and looks hard at fandom, writing TV sci-fi and cult celebrity.

In further Pete Walker connections, it also stars his one-time lead actor Jack Jones.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Saturday, 5 June 2021 10:10 (three months ago) link

Warning for the above, contains both David Walliams and James Corden but just push past it.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Saturday, 5 June 2021 10:10 (three months ago) link

I've never been sure how it'd play to someone familiar with the original films

Close to unwatchable I'd guess, assuming you meant unfamiliar and judging by the ep I saw - a lot of it is mockery of Hammer's horniness, which I think w/o the context of what they're parodying would just scan as terrible 70's sex jokes.

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 5 June 2021 10:16 (three months ago) link

Haha yes, I meant unfamiliar.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Saturday, 5 June 2021 10:19 (three months ago) link

One of my other massively unpopular things that play 100% into my wheelhouse is Cruise of the Gods.

It's the ur-version of the Coogan/Brydon model later used in Tristram Shandy and The Trip, with them as ex-teen stars of a post-apocalypse ITV-style kids show set in the New Romantic era. It's set on a fan cruise and looks hard at fandom, writing TV sci-fi and cult celebrity.

WTF, how have I not heard of this?!

kinder, Saturday, 5 June 2021 10:58 (three months ago) link

So I started watching it on YouTube thinking it was a sitcom but it's a movie. A weirdly paced kind of downbeat one, bit reminiscent of Mindhorn. You're spending most of the first half waiting for Coogan to show up. Also Russell Brand pops up for 20 seconds.

kinder, Saturday, 5 June 2021 21:53 (three months ago) link

Yeah, it was during this that Brand had his drugs and strippers meltdown that put him in rehab, so his part got rewritten on the fly.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Saturday, 5 June 2021 21:58 (three months ago) link

enjoyed Cruise Of The Gods at the time, can imagine it playing like a horror film now that the most immature and entitled type of childrens'-SF-fan portrayed in it has been elevated to the core of mainstream culture, both pop and political

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Saturday, 5 June 2021 23:55 (three months ago) link

I remember liking it at the time

The 💨 that shook the barlow (wins), Saturday, 5 June 2021 23:57 (three months ago) link

Best 3 tv shows not mentioned so far: This Country, Grandma’s House and (ok it’s Irish) The Young Offenders

a hoy hoy, Sunday, 6 June 2021 06:37 (three months ago) link

One of my other massively unpopular things that play 100% into my wheelhouse is Cruise of the Gods.

It's the ur-version of the Coogan/Brydon model later used in Tristram Shandy and The Trip, with them as ex-teen stars of a post-apocalypse ITV-style kids show set in the New Romantic era. It's set on a fan cruise and looks hard at fandom, writing TV sci-fi and cult celebrity.

It's probs my favourite Coogan outside of Partridge, the Video Diaries and The Trip.

burnt hombre (stevie), Sunday, 6 June 2021 07:43 (three months ago) link

okay, grabbed all four of those.

watching the start of the euros yesterday made me instinctively say 'a pound in the Nessun Dorma box'. odd how throw away lines from 1996 stick in your mind

koogs, Saturday, 12 June 2021 09:05 (three months ago) link

oh, italia 90, obviously

koogs, Saturday, 12 June 2021 09:07 (three months ago) link

apparently there's a season two of Starstruck on the way, i'm down if the plotting gets ironed out
https://www.thecut.com/2021/06/starstrucks-nikesh-patel-would-maybe-date-you.html

two weeks pass...

Act 4… pic.twitter.com/5CgVF7p15F

— Matt Berry (@porksmith) July 6, 2021

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 12:52 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

new As Yet Untitled on dave last night. feels like it's been over 2 years since the last one. featured both the irish robot wars presenters

koogs, Wednesday, 28 July 2021 12:36 (one month ago) link

(also slightly weird in the it was filmed in the roundhouse in london, an old, enormous railway building. covid regs, i guess)

koogs, Wednesday, 28 July 2021 12:37 (one month ago) link

episode 3 of This Way Up made me think they should bring back Mind Your Language.

koogs, Thursday, 29 July 2021 17:14 (one month ago) link

(splash screen at the end of that was interesting too, HM treasury and DCMS bigging up themselves and their media restart scheme, complete with union flag...)

koogs, Thursday, 29 July 2021 17:24 (one month ago) link

new Ghosts tonight

koogs, Monday, 9 August 2021 12:54 (one month ago) link

Thanks for the reminder! Thought it was next week.

kinder, Monday, 9 August 2021 13:28 (one month ago) link

Ghosts maintaining its quality. Slightly upset that I recently recommended it to a friend, who reported back to me describing it as 'bilge'.

chap, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 11:13 (one month ago) link

I watched the first 5 minutes of an episode on the plane and it was like kryptonite to me despite liking a lot of the actors

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 11:58 (one month ago) link

I watched the first episode (series one) lst night and 'gentle fun' would be the kindest thing i could say about it, maybe it gets better...

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 15:37 (one month ago) link

Gentle fun not to be sniffed at imo... It's good comfort telly with some good jokes and a great ensemble. The quality stays about the same probably, but I quickly became very fond of it.

chap, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 16:14 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Back to Life starts a second series on Tuesday. which i barely remember anything about other than i enjoyed it at the time.

koogs, Saturday, 28 August 2021 09:53 (three weeks ago) link

That's good news.

chap, Saturday, 28 August 2021 11:35 (three weeks ago) link

i like the lead actress but it felt sorta also-ran to me

I don't think I made it past the second episode. It was too depressing.

trishyb, Saturday, 28 August 2021 16:14 (three weeks ago) link

it's hard to search for but there are a few (other) positive mentions here. and i was surprised to see it back tbh.

(I'm also holding out for a second series of don't forget the driver. call me a hopeless optimist...)

in other news, mash report on Thursday too. strange situation with that but, again, i enjoyed it.

koogs, Saturday, 28 August 2021 17:00 (three weeks ago) link

"Back to Life is a British dark comedy-drama co-written...

OK, I'm outta here.

"Bobby Gillespie" (ft. Heroin) (Tom D.), Saturday, 28 August 2021 18:19 (three weeks ago) link

(I'm also holding out for a second series of don't forget the driver. call me a hopeless optimist...)

this.

Finished 'Pls Like' S2 today (it's quick and easy, and i like Liam).
had no idea there was a S3.

mark e, Saturday, 28 August 2021 18:42 (three weeks ago) link

First series of Back to Life was great. I mean, person X returns to hometown after years away is a complete cliché but Daisy Haggard is a gem and seem to recall there were a couple of real gut punches amongst all the laughs.

groovypanda, Sunday, 29 August 2021 18:27 (three weeks ago) link

Back To Life S2 is pretty masterful to be fair, twee soundtrack aside.

chap, Sunday, 5 September 2021 21:59 (two weeks ago) link

man walks into crime scene, blood everywhere, tense music. you're meant to think he's the detective who's caught this murder but then he plonks down a caddy full of cleaning equipment because he's actually a crime scene cleaner. surprise!

only that's not a surprise to anyone because it's called The Cleaner and the announcer has just announced it.

(9:30pm on bbc1 on a friday so i'm not holding up too much hope for it. greg davies and helena bonham carter)

oh, and Mash Report is back on Dave and is an hour long, which is probably a mistake.

koogs, Friday, 10 September 2021 21:46 (one week ago) link

yeah the new mash is noticeably lower budget and has weird unfunny placeholder bits where they just show headlines on screen

edited to reflect developments which occurred (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 10 September 2021 21:49 (one week ago) link

I normally enjoy Davies' work, but Ep 1 of the Cleaner was rotten.

chap, Monday, 13 September 2021 08:27 (one week ago) link

i liked all the curry night chat, but after he got locked into that toilet it was all downhill.

koogs, Monday, 13 September 2021 09:07 (one week ago) link

Yes, it was promising up until any characters after the first two turned up. Not sure what the point of Paul Chowdhry in schoolboy getup was at all.

The Scotts isn't bad.

Long enough attention span for a Stephen Bissette blu-ray extra (aldo), Monday, 13 September 2021 11:34 (one week ago) link

i agree that the Cleaner was a total miss with a remarkable cast.
Will try the Scotts. Can you say more about why I should though?

It's like Two Doors Down filmed as TOWIE instead of a sitcom, by the guys behind Burnistoun.

Long enough attention span for a Stephen Bissette blu-ray extra (aldo), Monday, 13 September 2021 20:26 (one week ago) link

lol, i don't understand a word of what you just said

Two Doors Down is a BBC sitcom set on a Scottish housing estate featuring three neighbours. It's quite gentle paced with plotlines including moving a bed and buying a hot tub.

TOWIE or The Only Way Is Essex was probably the first serious British scripted reality show and is like a very low rent Kardashians. Inexplicably, people from it have become celebrities in their own right

Burnistoun was a BBC Scotland sketch comedy, somewhere between Chewin' The Fat and Limmy.

Long enough attention span for a Stephen Bissette blu-ray extra (aldo), Monday, 13 September 2021 22:38 (one week ago) link

Okay gotcha now


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