Didn't watch much TV today, but what I saw had a very high ratio of silliness to minutes, which is always handy.
1) The USA may be enjoying an effective Champions' League of Survivor, but we have Back To Reality where sundry "you know, her off..." veterans of similar shows are given a Big Brother-like experience with all the action you'd get in a full-length show compressed into three weeks. While there are the perennial concerns that "reality show" is really shorthand for "a show in which people will be subjected to misery, and we will broadcast the misery because misery is sometimes reality", this has been largely very entertaining indeed. Particularly entertaining was introducing a party of fourteen sugared-up birthday kids, armed with boxing gloves, to the mansion, who pounded away ineffectually and amusingly at the resident immature-but-likeable (hello!) singer. Knockabout fun with no malice whatsoever.
2) Very funny advert. The scene is an overhead view of a Formula One motor racing pit lane. A car pulls into the designated box and the pit crew change the tyres. While this is going on, the driver gets out of the car, runs to a designated box and spins around in it several times, before running back to the car, getting back in and driving off again. Result, a crash sound effect plus the commentary "it's all gone pear-shaped". Tagline: read the Guardian on Monday to see how they're going to make Formula One more entertaining this year.
I'm sure I saw exactly the same advert exactly once last year. (I thought I mentioned it here too, but Google doesn't confirm this.) If the Guardian are going to do a very similar supplement just before the start of every Formula One season, that's fair enough, if only to have an excuse to play this extremely entertaining advert exactly one weekend per year.
3) A new BBC comedy show called "Fur TV". It is patently obvious how this show was sold to the BBC: "like Sesame Street except with rude gags". Two interleaved scenarios see Kermit-height puppets interact with human actors. One scenario is very clearly intended to be Bert and Ernie, except Ernie here is a Californian new-ager and Bert a stodgy British writer. Yes, they share the same bed; another gag suggests the slashy (only-just-sub)text is canonical.
The other scenario is a three-parter; a cool puppet ("Lapeno" - not far from those not-very-popular new characters from Muppets Tonight) attempts to teach a geeky puppet ("Mervin" - a cross between Grover and Flat Eric, but with a massively protruding lower lip) the ways of women. The geeky puppet inevitably gets into trouble, and the cool puppet's bruiser friend (think Sully from Monsters Inc. with the head - more specifically, the jawline - of Zig's friend Zag) bails them out of trouble. Geeky puppet then throws himself out of a window only to be revived, for no adequately explained reason, in bondage with a dominatrix about to pick him apart stitch by stitch.
The writing is lousy and unsubtle, but the look of the puppets, plus the way they move, is a clear and affectionate tribute to favourite TV furry puppets of the past. Not sure this one will keep my attention into episode four, but likely to provide at least two or three episodes of cheeky, silly fun. "Fur TV", Saturday nights, BBC 2.
4) We read that Channel Four and five are considering a merger. If the two were to merge - and, twentysomething Brits, you know where this is going - would the resulting group be (da da ding-da-ding BONG!) Chanel 9?
Let's clear out some of the other URLs that I have long meant to write about some day:
- Recommending Ferry Halim's Orisinal games is like saying "hey, heard of those crazy little eggs Weebl and Bob?" and this is even a second-hand rec from deepfun but A Summer Walk is the second best ever walking-jumping-and-bursting-bubbles-to-j
angly-music game and the best for over fifteen years. 6240 to beat.
- Exploding! Toilet!
- Spammers! Current Bayesian filtering spam rules can be defeated if you include enough "good" words in your spam mails. While finding the good words needs to be done on a recipient-by-recipient basis, if I wanted to target LJ users with my spam, I'd start plucking things from their interests lists. 'Tis but a matter of time.
- About 60% of the way down: "bright sparks aren’t so hot under the collar"... " those of average intelligence are likelier to be more active in the sex department". No further comment is needed, so I'll just say "Exploding! Toilet!" again.
- The BBC have a slightly old punctuation quiz. I got four wrong, gasp: 1, 2, 8 and 4, noting that 4 can be either right or wrong depending on which part of the world you come from. Slightly shoddy.
- Sad to hear that Alzheimer's Disease has a firm grip on Ronald Reagan. Will people start comparing him to Howard Wilson?
- Also sad to hear Sir Alex Ferguson needed heart treatment. I have a lot of time for all of Sir Alex Ferguson, Gerard Houllier, Graeme Souness, Barry Fry, Joe Kinnear and Tony Blair, who have all had similar symptoms. (Except Graeme Souness, who is a perennial underachiever.)
- However, it's not all bad news: militant groups declaring ceasefires has always got to be good news, even if you support the cause in question.
- I think the UN being used as a non-partisan mediator (item two) is good news for the world as well.
- Middlesbrough Football Club are in the Carling Cup final tomorrow, so a local bookmaker has given away free £1 "correct-score-and-first-scorer double" bet vouchers in the local paper. (Which costs £0.30, giving the purchase a positive EV right there, let alone the free newspaper and the jobs section.) I wouldn't bet on this using my own money, but I've gone for 1-1 after 90 minutes with Bolton's Kevin Nolan scoring first. Nolan is Bolton's top scorer and in form, but because he's "only" a midfielder, you can get decent odds against him. Obviously not likely, but there's a free £41 in it for me if it happens.