January 8th, 2008
|10:35 pm - 2008: the new 1996|
Which would be no bad thing.
1) Good news: Meg arrives home on Thursday morning!
Bad news: unless I get much better very soon, I shall be greeting her with a stinking cold. My nose is running, I am very sneezy and my mind cannot relax enough to let me go to sleep. Accordingly, I shall type at you instead until sleep overtakes me.
2) Not so much to do with 1996, but lambertman points to ABC reviving "The Mole" this summer in the US. Can this (and the apparently disappointing at-short-notice revival of American Gladiators) be attributed to the WGA writers' guilds' strike? Will this help the All American Football League, of which possibly more some other day, get a TV deal?
3) Here in the UK, Challenge have started repeating Shooting Stars, a parody panel game hosted by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. The style of the show is probably an affectionate pastiche of the likes of Star Turn and other gentle celebrity shows of the late 1970s, except with a sense of humour that might be described as surreal, but only in the context of the old one-liner "Here's a latest football score: Real Madrid Two, Surreal Madrid Fish". In truth it's very throw-things-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks but has its charm. The first episode they repeated last night was the one with the clip of Paul Shane performing his club singing act ("Ba-by ba-by!") and in truth that episode of the show probably obviates the others. Nevertheless, there were plenty of other not-spoilers-because-they-have-to-be-seen sight-gag highlights (creepy Uncle Frank Bough: "Nice, nice!"; Robbie Williams splendidly impersonates the horns off Cheggers Plays Pop in his finest ever moment; Bob rakes Vic's back with an eight-foot cheese grater, to name some that the Wikipedia article does not spoil) and there's still enough good-natured silliness to raise a few smiles, though probably only about a third as many as they did when I was a third less old. Shame that the shows are edited down from their original BBC length to fit a commercial-laden Challenge half-hour, but there are still enough quickie giggles that the show still stands up in court. (Challenge are front-loading all the funniest shows at the start of their run.)
Odd to think that Shooting Stars probably represented Vic and Bob's finest moment, or at least their biggest commercial success. Five years later (at least, five years later than 1996, whose second series is the one being broadcast currently) the show's script associate Charles Higson would be at the comedy fore with The Fast Show - which, I predict, will stand the test of time qua sketch shows almost as well as Monty Python's Flying Circus - and ten years later, baby impersonator Matt Lucas would be one half of the most fashionable thing in UK comedy. Give it another five years, will Ullllrikakakakakaka make another comeback?
4) Pleasantly surprised to hear that college contemporary Mat Page - and how weird that feels to type without a "Colin" in the middle - beat eleven other contenders to win Durham FM's Dream Academy competition and thus win a year's contract with the station. Durham FM stretches this far south-east when atmospheric conditions are helpful, but hopefully it should come in rather more clearly at work. Sadly the clips of Mat's shows have been taken off the Dream Academy site, but he did a very affectionate parody of Play Your Cards Right (Card Sharks) where the selection of music was a labour of love. (He had the modern version of the theme tune, the Catchphrase ring-in for a correct selection of higher or lower and the lost-the-million-question sting from WWTBAM? for game over.) I voted for the north-east's own Mark Curry lookalike both at home and at work and will be listening in to his show (also available online at the Durham FM web site, though the show has not yet appeared on the schedule) confident that he will have bags more ideas and originality than your typical local radio DJ. I also listen with great interest to see (well, hear) whether there are further radio games ahead. See, I have a feeling Mat rather likes the game show host role; in theory, but not in practice, I am desperately tempted to ring in to be a contestant and then repeatedly say "lid" until one or the other of us corpses, then break a packet of biscuits animatedly with a hammer. Yes, it's an in-joke, but parts of 1996 were the good times, man.
ETA: 5) Tony Soprano informs us that "'Remember when?' is the lowest form of conversation", so I guess this post must be pretty low on the food chain. I have gone back and LJ-cut the more obscure parts, remembering that possibly only eight of you might have known Mat Page. (Though more of you should.)
6) I'm surprised not to have heard any scepticism about Jeremy Clarkson's claims with regards to his views to identity theft and bank account security. As a columnist with a, frankly, super soaraway fun-sational newspaper, he is frequently - putting it politely - less-than-literal in the views he expresses. Surely I cannot be the only one to suggest some degree of stunt here, just so that he could make his point.
Current Mood: sick
Awesome icon. :-D
To be honest, the host is less important than the amount of trickery; the reason why British Mole was so sublime was the quantity of little covert clues and tricks embedded within the program for people to find out, to the point that they took an entire show to reveal. The Australian version may have been even better still in this regard, plus (as I recall) at least one of their series had an extremely pretty young lady contestant. (Well, pretty up to the point where she smoked.) I was disappointed that the US version had much less of the same subtlety.