Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (30/5/06)

Imogen gets plainer by the day, doesn't she? That's what happens if you rely on your looks. I predict she will practically become invisible before her inevitable eviction.
Aisleyne, though, is a wonderful addition to BB7. Not just for her bravery in calling Sezer a bully on her first night. Not just for her exposure of the cracks in Mikey and Grace's convenient arrangement. But, additionally, because today on the live streaming she took issue with Sezer for saying she was from the "ghetto" (he was too cowardly to admit that he had actually called her a "ghetto ho"). How dare Sezer a) make that assumption, b) publish his notion to people either too Welsh or posh to know that she isn't, and c) use the word "ghetto" in the first place? He, apparently, claims to be from the "ghetto". The ghetto? Just because you're dad is a horrible drug-dealing crim it doesn't make you from the ghetto. He means he's from Hackney. There is no such thing as a ghetto in this country. It's simply an attempt by Sezer to glamourise and Americanise what was just a shoddy moral upbringing, the fruits of which can quite clearly be seen in his behavour on Big Brother. Sezer is infuriatingly twatty, and the sooner the bullying little runt is evicted the better. Unlike most BB viewers, I actually want to see Grace stay so that she can get a dose of her own medicine as the numbers of Plastics dwindle and the rest of the house turn on her. But every week Sezer remains will be interpreted by him as confirmation of his popularity. That smile of invincibility must be wiped from his face. Anyway, Aisleyne's from Regents Park. Idiot.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday Night's TV (29/5/06)

New housemates, eh? Not particularly interesting in their own right, but interesting to see their instant effect on the group. Outcast Nikki was immediately reabsorbed into Team Smug, becoming the lesser of two evils after another promos girl Aisleyne entered the house. There's also a tranny who says 'oh my god' a lot, a phrase more than a little exhausted by Ms Houghton. My ears pricked up when Sezer spoke to Aisleyne about the dramas that have already happened, and claimed that the group had "got rid of" the ones they didn't like. "Ah, bullies?" said Aisleyne, to Sezer's non-comprehension. "You're a bunch of bullies then?" she repeated. Sezer answered in the negative. Has she been watching the programme or what? If nay, she's incredibly astute. If yay, then good, it doesn't look like she likes Grace/Mikey/Imogen/Sleazer contingent, raising the likelihood of the four of them being crushed like Maxwell and Saskia before them. Imogen and Grace were hilarious last night, clinging onto their boys like limpets. I can see why Grace, in particular, is worried. Not that Aisleyne is especially beautiful, but surely Mikey's going to get sick of that fat mouth and the constant stream of rubbish that comes out of it soon enough....

Monday, May 29, 2006

This weekend's TV (26-28/5/06)

I can't let it go yet. Grace and Imogen are still getting to me. And particularly Grace - Imogen can be partly forgiven for the fact that she is essentially a void. Is this what women in the 1970s fought for when they took to the streets to demand equality? So that these 1980s babies could slide through life, riding on the crest of their prettiness? Getting into bed with men they have absolutely no chemistry with because they can't THINK OF ANYTHING ELSE TO DO, and because using your brain might actually HURT? I'm really narked off with these two, and last night we saw the fruits of their self-constructions when the boys had a chat about what the girls would be like in bed. Ok, so this conversation would have happened anyway, but would it have taken such a dark turn when it came to Grace (Sezer: "you could pull some wrong positions on that girl") if she hadn't been playing Mikey and George off against each other, flouncing her fanny around while exercising and dancing, and just generally letting people speak to her in whichever way they want as long as they're the opposite gender (i.e. when Mikey called her a "little bitch arse" because she asked him to sleep in another bed, merely invoking her girly giggle. He didn't sound like he was making a joke to me)? Those are the rewards for trying to make people fancy you rather than hoping that they might just like you as a person. And then there's Se-"rapey rapey rapey"-zer. He doesn't like to wait for girls to consent, he likes to have things "his way" apparently. Imogen having not slept with him has elicited his "respect". Because all women are either madonnas or whores to this complete charmer - they will have sex with him, or withold it temporarily. Either way he'll get it in the end. Imogen's the madonna and Grace is the whore and, although neither of them have in fact had sexual intercourse, their behaviour around men they hardly know has enabled their labelling by them. Oh girls. Dearie dearie me. Time to go back and see what happened in the last century. See what giant leaps forward were made by women, adjudge whether second-wave feminists aims were achieved and, if not, do our bit to ensure that freedom of choice is available to all women regardless of class, creed or colour. Or maybe we should just let things stay as they are. After all we've nearly got equality and what's so wrong with motherhood/the bias in Law/sexual intimidation/page 3 girls/the low rate of successful prosecutions for rape/arranged marriage/the repeal of the abortion laws in many American states in the twenty-first century/Nuts and Loaded/sex trafficking/the fact that most women are in part-time and poorly paid work/enforced female circumcision/domestic abuse and torture/Dannii Minogue anyway?? Nah, you're right, we've gone far enough. Let's all go out on the pull.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (25/5/06)

It's about time I had a go at those young women in the Big Brother house. What the devil is up with them? Why, rather than banding together, have the females instead paired off with the most charmless men on the face of the earth? It's a really sad indigtment of our post-feminist generation that this lot - namely Grace and Imogen, and to a lesser degree, Nikki - find it difficult to conceive of any form of social interaction which doesn't involve a sexual dimension. They're being really foolish too. Eight days of Sezar sexually pestering you is, I imagine, irritating enough, but THREE MONTHS?? She is going to despise him by the end of the show, as you probably would any stranger you sleep with but don't know from Adam. You might meet someone in a bar, see them a few times, and after a month think 'actually you're a dick' and get out of it quicksmart. Imogen, when she inevitably realises this truism about Sezar, won't have the luxury of not returning his calls. And she's got no-one to blame but herself. And GRACE! GRACE? - ironic name considering she has explicitly laid herself out like a fruitcake for Mikey(who is, incidentally, the stupidest man in the British Isles). For god's sake, girls, hold something back why don't you? Not because I believe it's more 'decorous' and 'ladylike' but because you're 20 years old and EVERYONE'S WATCHING YOU. You're going to regret it when you look back, now just STOP IT!
The fact that these two rely on their sexuality to form superficial relationships with the opposite sex speaks volumes about their priorities, their outlooks, their moral frameworks, their ambitions. What they don't understand is that the GBP don't like it when sexual relationships don't ring true. Look at Maxwell and Saskia and their increased sexual activity when they were both put up for eviction last year. And, on the other hand, look at Preston/Chantelle, Helen/Paul, even Michelle/Stu - it can do wonders for your standing in the game if people genuinely believe there's some 'magic' between you. The audience likes nothing more than to watch people fall in love in front of their very eyes. But they also get real angry if they feel like they're being duped or if one or other person appears to be faking it. That's what adult entertainment is for - it shouldn't be part of this sort of programme. Until Imogen cracks that beauty-queen smile she has plastered all over her mug (a smile which becomes particularly rigid when she has to tolerate Sezar's wandering hands every night), and Grace stops bedding Imogen's sloppy second rejects, the future in the house of this pair looks very shaky indeed.

p.s. Lea stuck an electric whisk inside her. Nice.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (24/5/06)

I must stop these knee-jerk reactions to the housemates. Last night Nikki showed herself for the bitchy schoolgirl she really is as things got anthropological in the BB house. It was a real shocker watching the housemates turning on Shahbaz. As Pete said, the Glaswegian may have shot himself in the foot by refusing to admit that he was at fault in any way for the situation, but the playground style bullying was very uncomfortable to watch indeed, especially Nikki's, "Hide his clothes, Sezer, that will hurt him more". But I know the Big Brother audience and they don't like bullies. One by one, the contestants who mistreated Shahbaz are going to get picked off, leaving only one possible winner. But Pete's dominance in the game is going to get a little boring too if he becomes the sole person nice enough to win the show. The producers should make sure that whoever goes into the house isn't one of the circus of freaks already in there, but is someone who can compete with Pete in the normalcy stakes. It's better to have someone win outright, rather than by default.
News just in that Dawn has walked too, and I can't say I'm shedding tears over her departure. Apparently she only went in there to raise awareness for her campaign (what campaign?), and thinks that the show has become a "pantomime" (hasn't she seen Big Brother before?). This is certainly one of the strangest beginnings to the show I've ever seen. Maybe contestants nowadays are just too aware, like Vanessa last year presumably managing to get in by being wacky and zany in her screening, and then being as entertaining as a lump of silt when she actually entered the house. Gone is the myth of the 'social experiment'; these days contestants go in there with a set idea of how they want to be seen, and when it doesn't fall out that way, they walk, or get evicted in the first few weeks. This year's Vanessa, Bonnie, must surely be out on Friday for being devoid of a personality (although she made a good point in the Diary Room yesterday - how do you expect me to be myself when you won't give me the clothes that I feel 'myself' in?). I'm pleased she's going to get evicted, but for her own sake, and not least to halt her developing friendship with Lea. The poor thing'll be in hardcore by Christmas if she doesn't leave soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

****Shahbang!***** (Now you see him, now you don't)

Well I never. Having polarised opinion since his entry into the house, either Shahbaz or the producers have finally decided it's in his best interests to leave . I suppose we'll find out who made the decision tonight. It was becoming increasingly difficult to watch Shahbaz being ostracised from the group, and, despite his proclamations otherwise, it was clear that this was getting to him. While Nikki was able to behave in whichever way she pleased, Shahbaz had become the pinata and the other housemates were determined to knock the stuffing out of him. They should all be ashamed (apart from Pete). And I suppose I should be ashamed too because I found this distressed man great entertainment. But still - after Craig was allowed to molest Anthony last year, and Jonny's virtual assault on Kate Lawler in the last week of BB3 - worse insights into the diseased minds of BB contestants have occurred, and it hasn't been deemed necessary to intervene before. I thought that Shabby had simply spent too much time on his own, but then I found an article written before he went into the house stating that he WORKS as an architect's assistant. The whole thing sounds a little dodgy to me.....

So the "dynamics of the house"- as they say - are going to change. Good. I'm sick of the pallypally crap going on. Sezer and Imogen make me want to vomit. They obviously didn't clock what happened between Saskia and Maxwell last year, and - unless Imogen starts snogging both the himbos, or Sezer grows a brain - thay are both goners. George, meanwhile, will never recover from the 'top spec bitch' comment, and nor should we let him. Now we know the sorts of things Prince Harry and his chums say about women. My eye's on Lisa because I think she's going to become the new Shahbaz. Her bipolar veerings between E'd-up effusiveness ("Y'alright mate? Yeah! Sound! Mint!!") and violent anger ("I'm gonna fucking have you!") will unsettle the others soon enough. And, of course, the other one's on Nikki, England's most repellent little princess. There's no way she's 24 - she's just come out of Italia Conti surely. She's horrid. She's fun. She's so vulgar. I think I might grow to love her.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday Night's TV (22/5/06)

Does anyone else find Pete in a wig strangely attractive? He makes a better woman than Lea.

Monday, May 22, 2006

This weekend's TV (20-21/5/06)

It's a fair cop guv. I was obviously horribly wrong about Sezer last time round. The man is clearly a short, greasy sexpest who looks like Limahl. I would have proudly announced the new name I christened him with on Saturday, if Grace hadn't beaten me to it on the live streaming last night and gone, "Ugh Sezer, you're so sleazy. You're Sleazer". He's a spiv, a chancer. He's Mickey Pearce from Only Fools and Horses. But that's as much as needs to be said for now, there'll be plenty more opportunities to slate him in in the future, I'm sure. What interests me for the moment is SHAHBAZ. OMFG! I have been waiting for a housemate like this all my life. He's like Craig but self-aware. He's Craig, and Science, and Kinga all rolled into one! I say Kinga because I was treated to a full-frontal from Shazbah last night and am now familiar with his genitals too. Apparently he whacked it out twice yesterday, and even threatened to get himself hard, go into the diary room and show Big Brother his "potential". The man is clearly a psychopath with frontal lobe impairment. I can't wait for him to come on the screen. He's going to make this show this year - I know he's not popular but DO NOT VOTE HIM OUT. All weekend the other housemates have been trying to work out what his problem is - when asked he simply says, "I came onto Big Brother to DIE". He causes conflict, he's completely self-centred, he's going to be behind this year's 'Fight Night' - he's BB gold! He hates Lisa too, and it's going to be fantastic to see what mud he flings at the bellicose little runt. Quite simply, hooray for Shabang!
In terms of a winner, I reckon Pete's the best bet at this early stage. Not only are his profane interjections uncannily accurate ( "Wankers!"..."Bunch of cunts!"), but he seems genuinely likeable. Not sure about his burgeoning alliance with Lisa though - she's the Narinder to his Brian Dowling. He needs to stay away from the desperate, talentless, attention-seeker and he'll get on just fine.
The only other housemate I want to mention at this stage is Mikey, who gave it all the "I'm the big I am" in his opening VT but has literally not opened his mouth since he went into the house. He'll be Imogen and Grace's bitch by the end of the week, mark my words, leaving Sleazer with Bonnie and Nikki - both of whom are so much more in his league. And someone one tell Sleazer to put his top on. The man's making me feel nauseous.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (18/5/06) - BIG BROTHER 7

Half-baked opinions on people I don't even know anyone? Yes? Good. Here we go then. In alphabetical order.....
Bonnie - Or Bonna. Or Bono. Potential bully in the same vein as Lesla "Biggest tits in Huddersfield, bar me mam and me nan" BB6. Very harsh aurally.
Dawn - "Gandhi. He's a nice person. Mother Theresa. Bob Geldof, I suppose. Everyone else. Bastards" - RIGHT ON! - "Everyone I have ever loved, has fallen in love with someone else, and left me" - WOO-HOO! DAWN TO WIN!!!
George - is very posh. I have a feeling that he's got a long life in the house. He better watch out for Richard though, I fear for his bottom.
Glyn - Wales' answer to David Hasselhoff. 50 years ago Glyn would have been taken care of within his community, and perhaps have had special reponsibility for the tickets during the Saturday night meat raffle.
Grace - "Daddy bought me a £340 grand pied a terre in Notting Hill". Oh fuck off.
Imogen - So pretty. So stylish. So perfect. And she's got a cool name. I might have to kill her.
Lisa - Loud, crude, rough Manc who probably gets camel toes.
Leah - As a friend said, if Big Brother's panto, then Leah's the horse.
Nikki - Why dress yourself up as as sex toy, and then sit around saying the same sort of inane things as you would in your jim-jams? She'll look back in ten years time and say, "I really didn't love myself very much".
Mikey - Mikey hates ugly people. Mikey hates feminists. I hate Mikey.
Pete - Right. Pete. Think the jury's going to have to remain out on him for the moment. I'm completely in two minds about including someone who's going to make people laugh both inside and outside the house simply because he has a medical condition. On the other hand, maybe his being in BB will encourage tolerance for Tourette's in the wider world, in the same way as Nadia made transsexualism more acceptable. I reckon the public are going to really warm to Pete and keep him in for ages, but that he'll drive everyone in the house insane and be nominated frequently.
Richard - the self-proclaimed sex terrorist appears to combine the best bits of Craig BB6 and Alex BB3 being neither psychotic nor so far back in the closet that he may as well be called Aslan. I hold out some hope. But mainly because Dawn seemed to be bonding with him.
Sezer - I should dislike Sezer, but I know that if he came up to me and noticed how pretty my skirt was and that my toenails were painted - as he did Imogen last night - I'd be quite impressed. He's obviously a womaniser, fancies the pants off Imogen, and, if he doesn't pull her, certainly will some other girl in the house.
Shahbaz - Initially promising, but has a whiff of the Kemal about him. Hopefully he won't be that self-consciously queeny, but the omens don't look good. He's already getting on my nerves.

Too soon to make predictions for who will be the first out, but going on past form it will probably be a woman, and probably someone from the older age group - my initial stab in the dark will be Leah, but that's tbc. It's great that there are four people over thirty in the house this time round. Maybe Endemol have finally realised after Maskia/Saxwell and Makosi's antics last year that we don't actually care to see desperate wannabes heavy petting for the furtherance of their own 'careers'. It's going to be a good'un this year. There's going to be grown-up one-liners. I can feel it in my jacuzzi water.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday night's TV (17/5/2006)

Better attempt a proper crit before spending the next three months devoting the workings of my intellect to Big Brother 7. Last night saw the BBC produce something good for a change. The Line of Beauty, based on Alan Hollinghurst's Booker Prize-winning novel, was well adapted, well cast, well produced and well realised. The first part caught the hope, expectation and self-doubt of Nick Guest, a young researcher straight out of Cambridge and out of his social depth in the Notting Hill household of his university friend, Toby Fedder. Entering the upper-class, Thatcherite, insidiously racist world of Gerald Fedder jars with Nick's simultaneous sexual awakening and discovery of his predilection for working-class, black men, stimulated by the figure of Leo Charles. This is my only criticism of the drama, and one which can be laid at the feet of Hollinghurst himself, who, for whatever reason, isn't good at nailing the vernacular of the women, lower-class men and ethnic minorities he usually sexualises in his novels. Something about Leo's phraseology doesn't ring true, despite Don Gilet's excellent portrayal of the character. But this production has admirably picked up on something from the book, Nick's tenuous position within the outwardly hospitable Fedder family. "There's worm in the frame", Nick says of an antique he finds in Leo's friend's shop, unaware that he is the worm, and about to open a can of them over the concluding two parts. The novel's good, and the adaptation is exceptional. Andrew Davies has pulled out all the unsettling gems of dialogue, structured the narrative so it's evenly measured and not laden with exposition, and brilliantly captured the sense of foreboding underlying the ostensibly cordial relationship between Guest and the Fedders. The Line of Beauty works well as a drama; the agency of the performers freeing them from the limitations of the text, and the ability to mark the meaningful looks exchanged between characters saving a whole lot of unnecessary conversation - the direction, too, was superb. Critics have said that the adaptation fails to convey the richness and detail of the novel, but this is complete rubbish. Not only is it impossible to transfer everything from a literary text during its dramatisation, but it would also be incredibly boring if you did. I thought it was rich enough, and, based on the opener last night, have faith that the distinctiveness of the 80s cultural milieu in which this story takes place will become clearer over the next couple of weeks. Plus The Line of Beauty is rammed full of graphic gay sex. Quality!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Last week's 'Great British Menu'

Just to follow up on my scathing attack on The Great British Menu recently, last week the female Michelin-starred superchef Angela Hartnett was beaten by the relative unknown Bryn Williams, crushing the theory I put forward. However the exception does rather prove the rule.....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (9/5/06)

Right. I suppose it's about time I addressed the plague which is sweeping our night-time viewing at the moment. The epidemic of Quizmania, The Mint, Cash Call, etc - a whole raft of programmes which constitute a single phenomenon; a cycnical attempt by the makers of TV to get money by targeting viewers at their most vulnerable/drunken/stoned hour. The idea is to phone in and provide an answer for some facile top 10 list such as 'Bands beginning with "the"'. While I'm sure that a whole host of people are calling in (with partners in the background shouting, "What about 'The Doors', Eileen ? I bet noone's said that!" - in fact people HAVE said 'The Doors' - about 53 times), the telly studio remains eerily devoid of interacting viewers. The primary sounds are the yelps of false bonhomie being emitted by the hospital radio DJ- presenters, and the cackles of Nadia from Big Brother as she falls off the wagon for the fourteenth time. Because whilst the poor, unsuspecting phoner-inners wait in a neverending queue for their six seconds on air and a potential £250, the producers gleefully rub their hands together knowing that each gullible, unsuccessful fool has contributed at least a fiver towards their all-inclusive this year. And when you combine the average intelligence of the viewer (one woman phoned in yesterday and said, "I'm going to go for......The Queen") with the obscurity of the actual answers (number two in this "Bands beginning with 'The'" list was THE SIMPSONS), you end up with a 'so bad it's very easy to watch for three hours at a time' form of telly. One host, Craig Stevens, is a metonym of the shambles which is The Mint. A man who resembles one of Buffy's vampire enemies, Stevens spent the majority of last night's programme sexually pestering his female co-host, making "ooh, look at her bristols" faces at his remote audience, and generally veering dangerously close to a harassment charge. Light entertainment indeed. This programme is like a digest of all society's worst vices compressed into one tawdry, depressing bitesize chunk. Still at least it keeps ex-Big Brother contestants out of prostitution, seemingly providing the sole source of PA's for the poor buggers outside of provinicial British nightclubs called 'Hollywoods' or 'Sha-Zam!'. We can only hope that such telly vanishes as quickly as it appears but the fabric of desperation which holds the whole thing together is too strong and I fear that there will never be a shortage of substandard presenters, compromised viewers, despairing ex-reality show contestants and greedy producers to ensure that this abomination stays on our screens for a long, long time.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Oh, and did I mention Big Brother starts again on May 18th?
THANK THE LORD OF TELLY! (And I don't mean Bazalgette. He's a nonce.)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sunday Night's TV (30/4/06)

Apologies for the recent haitus but I do have a life outside watching crap on TV. And I was also nearly driven into a coma yesterday by the snooker final meaning that I couldn't blog (they played until 1 in the goddam morning - even Graham Dott had to stifle his yawns towards the end). Moreover, there seems to have been a notable lull in good bad telly of late, despite my best efforts to locate it. Strictly Dance Fever is just excess flab around the tummy of reality TV. Mobster week on Channel 4 only went to prove that films about gangsters are preferable to the ill-educated, morally bankrupt, self-contradictory actuality. I missed The Apprentice precluding any analysis of Syed's departure. I had high hopes for The Great British Menu (BBC, weekdays 6.30 pm) - which I foolishly imagined might take over where Masterchef Goes Large left off - but it doesn't, and let me tell you why. On MGL, contestants would either get chucked off every programme, or at least have their food tasted by the expert judges every day, so it felt like there was some step towards elimination or redemption each time you watched it. On The Great British Menu -which pits two chefs against each other for an entire week in the hope of cooking the meal for the Queen's birthday thingy in June - the whole week is devoted to the chef's perfecting of their individual courses with the judgement taking place on the Friday. So the only people who judge ANYTHING during the course of the week are the chefs themselves - who taste one course that their competitor has produced, and invariably slag it off because that person is their temporary nemesis. POINTLESS and BORING. By Friday - if you have managed to retain the will to find out who the hell won in the end (well done you) - you'll surprisingly discover that it's always the one that runs the Michelin-starred restaurant, such as Marco Pierre White, as opposed to the smarmy TV chef, such as Ainsley Harriot. As in The Eggheads (whom no consortium of fitness instructors from Portsmouth are ever going to vanquish), the boys are pretty much sorted from the men before The Great British Menu's even started (quite literally. I haven't seen one woman so far in this series. Do female chefs even EXIST?). In addition, it's not even as if you can learn how to cook the meals in the show, because they're all incredibly complicated and made with very expensive ingredients like anus of guinea fowl. Oh, and if all that didn't put you off, it's hosted by the repugnant Jennie Bond, who has no connection to the subject matter beyond the fact that in her tiny mind she IS a royal. It's funny how BBC2 can go from getting it so right to so wrong, and so quickly.
Things are looking up this week though, with the return of Lost tomorrow. I know I was angry at the end of the last series, but Yank friends have assured me that the next series is worth it. And of course, there's always Davina if you get desperate. Oh no, they axed that, didn't they? What a shame.