(SHORT ‘N CURLIES) — #4
My next comicbook masterpiece, for which I shall be paid ten hundred thousand groats, will have the political mission of healing any remaining scars of the Cold War in the spirit of Interplanetary Unification, Amero-Soviet integration, and Ganging Up On The Fucking Germans. It will use the tried-and-tested subgenre of Anthropomorphised Cute Animals, and will wipe the willy of awesomeness all over Pride Of Baghdad.
The Pitch: KRYPTO THE WONDER DOG joins forces with the Kremlin’s Cosmically-superpowered spacemongrel LAIKA, to take on the ghastly threat of National Socialist Zombie Attack-hound and former führer’s pet BLONDI.
Then we’re back in 2010 for season 2, when the Power Pooches face the existentially-uncertain Quantum Terror of SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT: which may be alive or may be dead, but can Kick Ass Either Way.
This astonishing series will be titled THE DIPLOMUTTS, and what’s really sad about it is that — if I was being serious — someone would already be lining-up to buy the Option.
Two separate bonanzas of MassMarket Kultcha have invaded the cathode rays of Casa Spursphere this week, and in keeping with the “way behind the times” character of this blog they’ve both already been twittered, reviewed, discussed and conversationally murdered to death elsewhere. Ha! My finger’s not so much On The Pulse as tickling the perineal ridge of the body long after bloodflow has ceased. Nonetheless, I have Things To Say and will not be silenced by the mere fact of being hilariously Out Of Touch.
First up is that seasonal blight of the UK’s Televisions: Big Brother. You and I — being sophisticated (or at least chirpily curmudgeonly) in our viewing habits — Loathe this sort of thing, yes? We detest it. We use words like “abhorrent”, “socially stagnant” and “that housemate with the tits needs to die like a pus-ejecting four-legged cockroach discovered at the bottom of your yoghurt”. It’s concept-viewing at its most formulaically distilled, yet it’s still pulling-in audiences in defiance of all ghastliness because — sing with me — Simple Never Dies.
RECIPE: cram a menagerie of variously beautiful, eccentric, kooky and downright Heatdeath-catalysingly awful people into a post-brutalist concentration camp, ply them with alcohol, foment clanism and dispute, force them to undertake humiliating tasks like traumatised dolphins in a spunk-clouded tank, and film the result. WIN.
These humans (if human they be) collectively embody every HATING I have ever squirted out. I would rather pluck my own anal-beard using piranha-jaws as tweezers than spend any real time in their company, and yet…
…idly flicking between channels, catching a glimpse of the squabbling numpties in dayglo settings, spotting the subtitles applied over every snatch of mumbled sleaze…
…sometimes I’ll linger for a full minute before flicking onwards. Somehow, thanks to these staccato dips into horror, I know all the housemates’ names. Somehow I’ve been conned into investing my attention — just a little, but more than I’d choose — into a festering disaster of culturally moribund evil.
Here is why:
It’s not the people who matter. We — by which I mean “I” — don’t linger over their show because we like them, or because we’re interested in what they have to say. We don’t give a dripping donkeycock for Who Snogs Who or Who Shat In The Jacuzzi or How Many Times The Floppy-Haired Retard Has Done the Washing Up. No: The real appeal of this shit lies in hoodwinking us into imagining ourselves in the same situation. We catch ourselves muttering our own responses to some of the fuckwitticisms these gitwits say as if we were there. The secret yearning for there to be someone among all these dreary arsenuggets who genuinely represents “My Views” takes such a dangerous grip that every now and then even the most ardent of BB HATERS catches themselves wishing they had the opportunity to be there themselves: if only to give all the other paramecium-brained fuckos What For.
It’s sort of like an ingenious version of a gladiatorial event, in which a bunch of simpering proto-Christians are so fucking inept at dodging lions that members of the audience are queuing-up to show them how it’s done.
Humans — or maybe it’s just me — really are that dappy.
Interestingly enough this level of extreme Investment in entertainment — an imagined immersion in what’s on-screen — has pretty-much sounded the death knell for the other Overdiscussed Slab of Pixelfun cluttering my tellybox this week: Lost.
I finally got around to watching the end of the most recent season: “finally” because at times it’s felt like climbing a mountain of razorblades wearing nothing but magnets, “most recent” because frankly I’ve repressed the memory of how many guilty hours I’ve devoted to it already. My mates keep telling me to fuck it and go watch The Wire instead, but they’re cruel and unusual people who might be trying to trick me. Giving up now would be like Armstrong and Aldrin touching-down on the moon then refusing to leave the module because it doesn’t look as cool as we hoped.
So: Lost. No spoilers are forthcoming, except to declare with a raised lip that Oh Look, Things Have All Gone A Bit Silly. See, to my dedicated team of reviewers — that’s the missus and me — it’s starting to feel like the writers have been grimly aware since 2004 that “The Grand Solution” is going to require them to stray into some deeply wanky territory — sub-Indiana Jones cobwebbed temples, awkwardly crowbarred espionage nonsense, and the sort of po-faced temporal bullshit that would have Dr Sam Beckett hanging his head in shame — and have been optimistically putting it off ’til recently in the hopes they could vom it all out so quickly that no one would notice, like a pre-dessert bulimic.
Actually, when I’m not shouting at their handiwork like a Scotsman who’s just found a MADE IN ENGLAND tag on his sporran, I’m feeling sort of sorry for the writers. They’ve been handed the unenviable task of conspiring to make a bunch of broadly interesting characters position themselves in various locations, mindsets and allegiances according to some gold-plated beatsheet forged way back at the start, and must often do so in utter disregard for how we’d all legitimately expect said characters to act. It’s turned this last spume of episodes into a sort of conflict-laced tennis match, bouncing round like a frog in a squash court, in which any actor — facing a dramatic U-Turn in their character’s actions — who dared to ask the director “what’s my motivation?” could be reliably expected to be told: Because The Script Says So.
…which brings us back to Big Brother in a roundabout sort of way, because as we’ve seen the most powerful, devious, all-conquering force in tellyland is IMMERSION — dum dum duuuum — and if you ain’t got it then you ain’t got squat. Lost is a series about a group of beautiful people and one fat bloke snagglefucked by a web of oddball mysteries on a weird Island, and for a long time our immersion was dependant on wanting to unravel those mysteries as much as the characters. We started imagining ourselves in their position — just like BB, right? — and our excitement and interest grew.
…until, that is, it occurs to us that if we were in their position you can bet by now we would’ve fucking asked one of the Enigmatic Knowing Arsetangles mooching about on said Island “what’s going on, please?” — which is something our supposedly empathetic characters seem determined not to do. Why? Well…
Because the script sa–
THIS WEEK I HAVE BEEN MOSTLY HATING:
SCENE: A small, tourist-oriented supermarket. SPUR is shopping for Souvenir Tat with his fiancée, SHESPUR. He is sweating in the heat and needs Twiglets and Gin to survive.
A small ANGELCHILD — blue of eye, sandy of hair — apparently alone, approaches holding a CUCUMBER.
SPUR glances at SHESPUR. Here is his opportunity to impress her with his child-handling brilliance. Kids, he’s thinking, fucking love me.
SPUR: Come on then! En guarde!
SPUR: En guard!
ANGELCHILD lowers his cucumber, confused. SPUR mimes holding a rapier of his own.
SPUR: Come on, mate — it’s all right. Raise your sword.
ANGELCHILD fixes him with a look of extraordinary physical, philosophical and spiritual revulsion.
ANGELCHILD: It’s not a sword. It’s a cucumber.
SPUR: Oh. Right.
ANGELCHILD starts to cry.
ANGELCHILD’s mother bustles-up to collect him, scowling at SPUR.
SPUR avoids SHESPUR’s gaze until they’re out of the supermarket, then spends ten minutes punching himself in the bollocks in strategic defiance of any future sproggage.
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