Monday, 19 March 2012

THE CHASE - aka Bradley Walsh laughs at the word fanny for five series and one 'celebrity' special.

ITV's The Chase is a seemingly innocuous quiz show where clever people sit astride a scoreboard and look down, both literally and figuratively, on a team of hapless proles while casting merciless judgements on anything from the contestants' style to their stupidity. Sort of like Eggheads if Daphne was allowed to sit atop a ladder whilst being an Anne Robinson-esque bitch.

It's not like you can't already see the burning hatred behind her eyes. 

The aim of the game is to build up money by answering a quick fire round of questions before facing the Chaser who then chases contestants down a ladder of more questions - sadly figuratively, not literally this time. At the end, whoever makes it through to the last round then takes on the Chaser as a team and shares the money at the end if the Chaser is beaten, which almost never happens because the general public are obviously morons. 

Pearl, you idiot.

The Chase seems to have all the components of the nation's favourite quiz shows - The Weakest Link's cringe-inducing put downs, Deal or no Deal's gambling with large sums of money, Golden Balls' opportunity to screw over your team mates and Eggheads' team of smug know-it-alls that you love to hate: 

Just in case you don't hate this man already, I put it to you that he chose his own surname 'De Mooi' because it means 'the beautiful'. 

The Chasers comprise of Shaun Wallace:

A barrister with the imaginative nickname 'The Barrister', who should probably be putting his time to better use. 

Mark Labbett: 

Who looks like that bully off Power Rangers.

...and Miss Trunchbull: 

The whole shambolic affair is presided over by the jubilantly juvenile Bradley Walsh whom you will recognise from The Wheel of Fortune and Coronation Street. So, whom you will not recognise. 

Walsh presents the show with the devil-may-care attitude of someone who secretly suspects that no one is watching, and manages to perfectly pull off the persona of a drunk teenager in a sex education class. 

Par exemple, here is Bradley laughing at the name Fanny Chmelar:

...the word 'sausages':


...and 'fanny' again:

Although sometimes it's hard to tell whether he's laughing or crying in soul-crushing despair. 

Tune in next week for a celebrity special featuring modern luminaries such as that one off Coronation Street, Barry from Eastenders, some presenters who presumably missed out on the hosting position and Anne Widdecombe, for some reason. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

ONE TREE HILL - The least likely place for all these famous people to live.

One Tree Hill started out as what seemed to be a fairly normal drama about a group of 16 – 17 year old high school kids played by a group of actors with an average age of 21.

The first few seasons have all the usual fun and games – teen murderin’, teen drinkin’, teen lovin’, teen marryin’, teen pregnancyin’ and so on. There’s Lucas: a dark and brooding protaganist whose only qualification for being dark and brooding is a vague penchant for Shakespeare, Nathan: a jock played by an actor I am unsurprised to find out was cast solely for his skill at basketball, Hayley: the geek whose obvious beauty is invisible to everyone because, you know, she studies and stuff, Brooke: the popular girl who… is popular and her best friend Peyton: the immaculate blonde cheerleader who is also an emo goth expert on punk rock (two completely compatible character traits in a diegesis where stereotypes are king).

So far, so regular teenage drama. Things don’t really take a turn for the sublime until season five when the writers get bored, skip four years ahead, and all of a sudden everyone’s famous. Lucas is a famous writer, Peyton runs a famous record label, Hayley is a famous singer, Nathan is a famous basketball player, and Brooke is a famous fashion designer.

Yet they all still live in this tiny town in North Carolina. Some of the characters enjoy a dalliance with more boring places like L.A. or New York but they always return because, damn it, there’s nowhere more fun to hang out than your old high school and your ex-boyfriend’s mum’s cafĂ©.

Life gets worse when you realise the producers are actively trying to blur the line between fiction and reality. The actress who plays Hayley is a touring singer in real life. Real bands like Fallout Boy and The Noisettes play at the fictional Tric club. Peyton’s webcam is on an actual website where she will be immortalised looking her computer in consternation for eternity.

And from there we slowly descend into madness. Take, for example, the season where number one villain and big daddy Dan Scott has an - apparently contagious - heart defect that calls for a long 'heart transplant waiting list' storyline and for Dan to show his good side by not killing a priest in a coma.

In one episode, Dan finally receives the call to come in to the hospital because lo! A heart has arrived. In the waiting room he encounters a man seeking medical help for a dog that he has inadvertently got stoned. We cut between scenes of man-bearing-organ-box-running-into-hospital and Dan-meets-stoned-dog-in-the-waiting-room.

Having watched One Tree Hill for some time before then, I remarked to my housemate, ‘That stoned dog is going to eat that heart.’ She burst out laughing and said, ‘Good one!’

Imagine her surprise then, when: 

So, yes, that happened.

Tune in next week for kidnap, torture, more kidnap, a fake fat guy and a child whose father has repressed the memory of him, somehow leaving the child to live forever in a room in the medical centre he was left at six years previously. Apparently murdering, cheating, and being inexplicably famous is okay in OTH but social workers are out of the question.