I don’t think I’m alone in the opinion that some television programmes exist simply to insult the human race as an intelligent species by masquerading as a form of entertainment or information giving service. Programmes which offer a gentle mix of visually and/or mentality offensive characters, IQ-lowering content and stereotypically predictable satire enough to make even Rob Schneider (a man who’ll accept any role offered to him) recoil in hesitant disgust. However, even with the acknowledgement of the universe against it, every so often a show comes along which either glorifies everything you ever disagreed with, or makes less sense than Klunk from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, or if you were caught watching it, the person who caught you would be perfectly within their rights to fire you out of a cannon into the sun and inherit your spouse upon your uncomfortably fiery, supernova-based passing. If I ever needed a definition for the term ‘guilty pleasure’, here are mine.
My Family originally started off as a decent little English sitcom. It was the stories of a traditional British family, each member spouting their own individual real world social issues while reacting to other family member’s circumstances in comedic and often patronizing ways. A truly joyful little show with a lot of laughs…that is until the cast members started dropping like flies.
When Kris Marshall decided that he could live off the back of My Family Season 1-4 box sets and ‘Love, Actually’ DVD sales, he decided to leave the show, ‘forcing’ his character (Eldest son Nick, who had less brain cells than the average America’s Next Top Model viewer) to “tour the world” (or something stupid like that) leaving the viewer only able to assume that Nick ended up working behind a bar in southern Australia. He worked there approximately a fortnight before dying in a bar fight, a brawl of which the first 20 minutes or so he believed was the native’s ritual for starting a barbeque.
Then the even-dumber-than-Dermot-O’Leary-is-talented, Abi. Abi left the show behind the doors of a nunnery, despite any foregoing interest in spirituality of any description nor the protests of hopeless onlookers. Her departure was sad since her ongoing relationship with desperate sap Roger was the one saving comedic grace of the show for a while. However, when My Family’s answer to the Vicar of Dibley’s Alice Tinker left the final nail in the coffin had been struck.
Nevertheless, I still feel some sort of loyalty to the show. When Series 10 premiered on British television, I was fully aware of the declined quality of the show all the while inwardly chuckling to Ben Harper’s misplaced, misjudged and probably misogynistic gestures. And something in me says no matter how many times they introduce and abandon random Welsh men, I’ll stick with the show. No matter how many times Roger wanders into shot as if he’s just stumbled onto the stage of a Broadway musical wearing nothing but a pair of underpants saying ‘Access Denied’ across the buttocks, I’ll stay with the show. No matter how many times Michael turns gay out of nowhere just to drum up storylines from an ever decreasing cast of Neanderthals…I’ll carry on with My Family.
Take Me Out
Like an undercover cop working her way through the ranks of an underground sex ring under the guise of Sophia La More, the plucky young prostitute, Take Me Out is a good deed clothed in dignity demolishing decisions, all to get to a place which probably wasn’t worth the journey. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger affront to the dating scene since I’m A Celebrity… brought together the ditzy airhead with an overly tanned body and an over developed torso to Katie Price.
First, like some sort of reverse Jesus Christ meets Screech from Saved By the Bell, a man arrives from the sky trying to impress a panel of 30 women with a couple videos and a ridiculously pointless party trick. All throughout, the women’s interest in the men is represented by an individual white light that can be turned red by the press of a button (because if there’s something that we all love, it’s the idea that women are simple minded people that respond to good looks and pretty lights). Once the dancing monkeys (or men) do their tricks, the women that haven’t been turned off by videos of friends explaining their bordering sociopathic cravings for Marmite are then rejected themselves but two (and by this, I mean, the man approaches each women in a patronizingly hopeful fashion, only to snub them to their face to all but two of them). Finally, after 1 more question, our alpha male makes his choice of which woman to drag back to cave, or up the love exit in the back…and I wish that last bit was at least a euphemism.
Ofcourse, all this is presided by Paddy McGuiness, a man described by Chris Tarrent as the poor man’s Cilla Black. The proud Bolton-born comedian moves events along with a mixture of agonising puns, awkward couplings and a level of ‘northern charm’ laid down so thick the little ‘N’ on the top of my compass looks like a Picasso portrait of Cheryl Cole.
But, again, despite being a show based almost entirely on judgment and rejection with a ‘happy ending’ tacked on the end, I love it. It goes against everything that any normal human being should agree with, but over the course of “watching it ironically” (as I told myself I was doing throughout season 2) you grow with the girls on the show and wish they all find their right man. All the while crying as the implausibly weird and unbelievably awkward start possible romances while you have nothing close to a relationship. Ironically, of course.
When George Orwell wrote 1984 (in 1949, just saying), if you told him that in just over half a century, when people heard the phrase “Big Brother” they’d immediately be reminded of pointless arguments, phone-in votes and Brian Belo, I’m pretty damn sure the man would have you deported for fear of a contagious outbreak of stupid-dickhead-itus.
And yet, here we are, 11 years with a programme that produces more useless twits than Kris Jenner which, during its run, has garnered upwards of 10 million viewers each night. But towards series 9, the novelty had long worn off as ratings dropped to average around 2 million. Sadly, although a number like 2 million sounds like enough reason to sell Davina McCall to the highest bidder in a ring of Salem Witch Trial re-enactment enthusiasts, a number like that is a blissful bounty to the disappointingly desperate channel 5. Unable to just give up, channel 5 picked up Ol’ Big Brother and gave it a much unneeded rebranding as a young sexy persons show. Of the first series of the reboot, not a single person was over 30, with most flapping around 19/20 and none featuring any physical defects or unattractiveness in any way. A choice which makes the show’s run on channel 4 effectively a televised equal opportunities program for the physically impaired.
I initially started watching Big Brother for the conversation it created among people that I was forced to be around, since the awkward silences were growing too frequent for withheld farts to cope with. With heavy personal protest I watched season 7, but by season 9 I was actively watching it, ergo making me one of the worst people on the planet. The kind of person you wish didn’t share your air, y’know? Yeah, I was one of those. And even though I understand that now…I still can’t wait to see what Billy-Bob Joel Hanson does next. Kill me now.
The Jerry Springer Show
While Trisha Goddard, Ricky Lake and even Steve Wilkos (the director of security, wtf?) tried their best to advise their patrons with their issues and help them make better life choices, Jerry Springer was there to laugh at their incredible, almost fantasy-esque misfortune. This chat show to end all chat shows is about one thing, entertainment, and it is maliciously proud of that fact.
The set up is normally an increasingly loud waster from a Texan trailer park sets up the story for the audience (he/she’s lover has been suspected of cheating with a friend or something). At this point the accused would be brought to try and explain, clear their name of all indiscretions leaving all problems solved quite nicely. Jerry then gives them $500,000 for a beautiful getaway to a location of their choice flown on the back of his personal griffin with an in built widescreen TV (that sadly only plays old Thunderbirds episodes), for some much needed rest, rekindling of romance and complimentary cocaine.
Sadly I’ve been lying since the phrase “at this point” since Jerry actually works up the person’s emotions and on the approach to the peak of anger, invites the home-wrecking third party, for a couple words. A fight ensues. During which any number of clothes can be dishevelled, resulting in a mess of haphazard camera movements and pixelated body parts. When Jerry is pleased with the amount of punches thrown, then he’ll invite the accused to explain themselves. The accused normally either sides with one party immediately (resulting in repetitive verbal abuse from the abandoned other party) or the accused tries to contain the situation by pleasing both parties (resulting in repetitive physical abuse from both parties). At some point a bell is rang and Ready Rumble Boxing resumes. A couple smart ass audience members and a pair of middle aged breasts later, Jerry Springer gives some emotive precautionary advice, useful to any normal person, but completely useless to an individual already in the trouble Springer advises to prevent.
A couple rules of the Jerry Springer Show I’ve noted are as follows:
– The audience’s role seems to be one of a stand-in God. Whatever they chant, the act must be fulfilled regardless of how many clothes you have to take off.
– The man with the buttons that make the funny sounds is always hilarious.
– Women don’t object to baring their breasts for plastic beads and will even take up impromptu public pole dancing if encouraged.
– All disputes can be sorted by simply reciting “Jerr-ree” continually with maybe the addition of dog barking noises for extra effect.
– The only person immune to these rules is Jerry Springer himself, the alpha god as it were.
Though incredibly immoral, and warranting a place a hell, enjoying the schadenfreude of the situation is one of the best feelings ever felt, albeit while crying as implausibly weird men enjoy romances while you maintain neither a relationship nor a flaccid penis.
Bear in the Big Blue House
YEAH BITCHES! Didn’t see this one coming, did you!? Everyone should love this shit. I’d brush my teeth to Bear in the Big Blue House if it wasn’t for PUSSYASS JUDGMENTAL STILL-SUCKING-ON-YO-MOMMA’S-NIPPLE COCK SUCKERS LIKE YOU. And you know why? Because he sings to the FUCKING SUN and rejoices with the FUCKING MOON! That’s the FUCK why. When was the last time you talked to the fucking sun, HUH!? What was that? Once when you woke up next to your girl and she made you do it? Well someone’s DICK-WHIPPED aren’t they? Jeez, aren’t you just a GREAT BIG GAPING VAGINA.
RIGHT! Let me lay down some REAL SHIT. That fucker, Bear, has friends. You think you got friends, BITCH? Do you got a hyperactive blue rat for a friend? What about a pair of slick-ass otter twins? NO!? But you got dancing lemur, RIGHT? I DIDN’T FUCKING THINK SO! It doesn’t even end there, DICKHOLE. My main man, Bear has a friend that goes by the name ‘Shadow’. That’s cool, right? You know why she’s called ‘Shadow’? Because she’s A FUCKING SHADOW! As in DARKNESS! As in the MOTHERFUCKING ABSENCE OF LIGHT! You know that shit you’re scared is gonna get you while you sleep? Bear is partying with that ALL. FUCKING. NIGHT. LONG! HOLY SHIT. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE ENOUGH BRAIN JUICES TO COMPREHEND HOW FUCKING UNREAL THAT LEGEND, BEAR, IS?