If someone came up to you and said ‘Yo, you should totally check out this new series that I’ve seen on Comedy Central about two girls living it up in New York’ you’d automatically draw some fairly obvious conclusions: one, that there’s going to be some sort of influence from the Grand Dames of Feminism Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, two, there must be some similarities between this and 2 Broke Girls because obviously, and three, why is this man who is clearly getting paid by Comedy Central harrassing me? But scary Comedy Central enthusiasts aside, Broad City could be one of the strongest outputs from the channel and it’s incredibly easy to see why.
Don’t know who Amy Schumer is? Don’t be surprised; she doesn’t know who you are either, but whereas she doesn’t really have any reason to know who you are, you have been ample opportunities to be aware of her semi-greatness. Actress, stand up comedian, woman, Amy Schumer is like the white noise of showbusiness. Popping up once in a while and pricking a memory about seeing her in something else before but can’t quite remember from where. If this was a British actress, the chances that she once appeared in Larkrise To Candleford as ‘Plucky Apple Wench #1’ would be quite high. As lists of things go, having 30 Rock, Louie, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Girls on ‘Things What I Have Appeared In’ is a pretty good one. Imagine having actually spoke to Tina Fey. And for her to like you instead of just pretending to be Jenna Maroney.
I’ve just sat through six hours of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s really early on Mother’s Day and to be honest I’m either too tired or buzzed to celebrate it. I’m too tired or buzzed because I’ve finally found what my heart has been missing since 30 Rock – the GREATEST comedy ever created – finished. And my new love? Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
How would you feel if someone said this sentence to you?
Dear Commissioning Editor. I want to write a one off comedy psychoanalysing some of the most important female figures in history. And I want to have some of the best women of drama and comedy to star in it.
Needless to say you’d be over the frigging moon wouldn’t you? It’s such a clever idea that we should all feel pretty stupid, like Jodie Marsh level stupid, that one of us hasn’t come up with it before now. Who do we have to thank for this? Only the saviour of Tiger Aspect and Endemol, Ben Cavey. He’s the person sort of responsible for Benidorm, Grandma’s House, as well as whatever comedy Harry Enfield is saying he’s doing this week.
Using his trademark Lasso of Awesome, he’s brought in Rebecca Front and Samantha Spiro from Grandma’s House, Sheila Reid from Benidorm and Catherine Tate from almost everything at one point, to play some of the greatest female influences from the farthest places of history. Ever wanted to see a petulant teenage Joan of Arc blame everything she does on God? Or a vaguely schizophrenic Beatrix Potter who thinks that pigs are dirty bastards? Or even a romantically misguided Eva Braun? Well now you can, and have a good old laugh at their expense when maybe we should feel a bit sorry for them.
The star of the show is undoubtedly the steely and focused psychoanalyst played by Rebecca Front. Between keeping a Judy Garland in check between impromptu performances of ‘Clang Clang Clang Went The Trolley’ and dancing to a morose Queen Victoria, or listening to all the things that Edith Piaf actually regrets (“both the hit and runs” is probably my favourite line of the year), Front keeps things from being too slapstick and unbelievable, despite the fact that we’re listening to how Eva Braun think that she’s met Mr. Right. Being the straight gal that doesn’t detract from the humour and even adds to the impeccable timing isn’t something that everyone can do, and it’s used to excellent effect.
With additional stars that includes a foul mouthed Mother Theresa, an Frida Kahlo completely unaware of her facial hair, and Sarah, the bragging wife of religious Alpha Dog Abraham, Psychobitches is something that you either have to see, or regret not seeing for the rest of your life.
Psychobitches might be on your Virgin On Demand or whatever Sky are limping to the finish line with.
When Sky announced that they were going to show a series of short plays with massive stars in them, I felt a little disheartened. Apart from a slice of Russell Tovey and Alison Steadman getting her end away with Tom Jones, nothing really stood out for me. Call me a philistine if you want, but I’m not a massive fan of plays on TV – I’m not even a fan of plays in theatre. Plays are for people who thinks Eastenders is for idiots and frequently use the word “peons” and “peasants,” and know about this whole Greece economy thing. But when I saw someone tweet that Matthew Holness (creator of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace) was involved in one of them, you could consider my interest piqued. It was more than piqued actually, if my interest was underwear, there would’ve been a little sexy dot on the crotch.
The Snipist is a brilliant way to spend 30 minutes of your life in tense silence, watching things get progressively worse for the main character, only to not only have the carpet pulled from under you, but the three piece, Lax table from Ikea and that throw that you’ve been meaning to throw away but haven’t got round to doing yet.
Heavily influenced by Tales Of The Unexpected (of which I have been enjoying lots of; again being shown on Sky Arts) but mixed in with the dystopian horrors of Threads and 1984 (John Hurt even stars as The Voice of The Ministry as well), The Snipist shows us a future where one dog infected with rabies has been smuggled into the country and infected everyone else, humans included, to the extent that there’s only one human left free of disease, except it obviously isn’t going to be that easy is it? It never is when it comes to post Apocalyptic dramas.
Deliciously tense, with just enough information being dangled in front of you to keep you going, Douglas Henshall’s haunted Harker carries us through the story really hating his situation and the inevitable choice that he has to make; potentially killing another human, being plagued with nightmares of past events and horrid futures.
It’s difficult to say much about The Snipist without giving too much of the plot away, but if you can stick with it until the closing minutes you’ll experience one if the biggest WTF moments since Coronation Street decided that rehiring Jimmi Harkashan was a good idea. Simply put, The Snipist will make you feel incredibly uncertain; for the World created before your eyes, as well as Harker’s eventual fate, but at the same time you’ll probably marvel that an idea this brilliant can be summed up in just under 30 minutes.
I can take loads of time to explain how brilliant how Bob’s Burgers is, or convince you all that you should set your DVR to record it with immediate effect. But I’m not really that forceful. If you insist on not listening to me by now, then you’re going to die with lots of regrets.
So, instead of drawling on with long words like ‘rationalism’ and ‘justification’ and ‘anthropomorphism’ I’ll sum it up by a quick thirty second video.
It would seem so, especially according to The Daily Mail, or people who have seen it over the past few months. Comparisons are already being made to it’s heyday of Dirty Den’s dealings and the epic Diederick Santer era, but even harking back to a bygone age isn’t productive to something which needs to represent current life. Which is something that Eastenders claims to be proud of.
But why? Why has Eastenders taken such a slump in ratings and people’s opinions, compared to Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and, dare I even say it, Doctors? What has effectively ruined a perfectly amiable show?
Could it be that Eastenders has become too concerned with customer complaints. For instance, having 10,000 watchers complained about the controversial Babyswap storyline which turned out to be just Samantha Janus crying in a black waterfall cardigan must have stung a bit. How much do you fly in the face of public opinion if you know you have a decent story to tell? This taming of the Eastenders story lines wasn’t always like this, however. Back in the 1980s, Eastenders prided itself on being a grim look at family life in the East End of London. It was dark, stark and dangerous, and that was just Pat Butcher. The greasy walls of Kathy’s Cafe reflected a World totally abject from the Northern hole that I was brought up in, obsessed by microwaveable food and deciding who would win between Orco or My Little Pony. Even watching it as a child was a terrifying event. June Brown’s teeth and her Child Catcher look stood as a water test for how horrific people in London were. On my one and only trip to London at the age of 10, I was expecting to bump into skeletal harridans on their way back from shtupping someone’s husband (in reality, it was Jibba Jabbas everywhere).
In a World where Bryan Kirkwood believes that making us believe Whitney Dean is pregnant, but then pulls the rug under our feet and have her not pregnant, is a cruel, cruel World. Not because we’ve all become emotionally invested in the character, but just because it’s a flagrant waste of the watcher’s time. Do I really have the time to waste being told that some skeet who’s going to get pregnant eventually isn’t? Of course I don’t! Stop playing with our lives Kirkwood et al.
This isn’t the only storyline that has made no sense of the past few months. Another one is Roxy Mitchell’s sudden fall into destitution. For those of you who don’t remember, Roxy was left the majority of her late father, and kiddie rapist, Archie Mitchell’s estate. It essentially made her minted overnight. Great news! People love seeing rich people on TV. It’s partially where the appeal of TOWIE and Made In Chelsea lies. That and the cast being total knob wipes. Roxy was incredibly rich, she bought flash things for her daughter (the oddly invisible Amy) and shops. At some point she might have owned Bootys. The nail salon is like Mayfair on Monopoly, everyone wants to own it, so it’s possible that Dot could branch out by the end of the year.
Another example is Derek Branning’s racism. Derek is a renowned racist, he has been for years. He hated Alan back in the 90s and called people ‘Boy” in 2012. As racists go, his isn’t the best career that’s ever been. That sounds a little like we want him to be more racist doesn’t it? That’s a terrible sentence to write, let’s gloss over it by focusing on what it means to the overall state of story lines and their chronological impact shall we?
If something is a massive part of their character; like Derek’s racism, or Roxy’s money, or Jim’s racism for that matter, or Max forgiving Tanya for burying him alive that time, is it a case of bad writing if these things are forgotten about in exchange for a poor plot choice? Of course not! It’s lazy writing. Which is definitely an area that Eastenders has fallen by the wayside with. And bearing it mind what the next point is, is a little odd.
Eastenders has a rich heritage to mine for inspiration. If it hasn’t been done by Eastenders so far, chances are that it isn’t going to be. Drugs, HIV, Cancer, rape, affairs, homosexuality, cults, domestic abuse, fairground ride accidents. It’s all in the almost thirty year history. There’s loads that can be taken, brought up to date and then spun so it’s entertaining. But when the show becomes obsessed with paying homage to an era who’s only redeeming feature was Bianca Jackson’s puffa jacket is setting themselves up for a fall.
Yes, there were good times. Who among you can say that they didn’t have a tear in their eye when Alfie bought that snow machine for Kat? Or when Mark Fowler drove off on his motorbike to find somewhere to die. Like a cat. Or when Tiffany took on a car and lost. All very sad times. But very sad times in the past. History is a massive part of everything, thick books full of words have told us this, but what happens when history starts to overrule the future? Mandy Salter is what happens.
This whole exercise in futility, fleshing out the bones of a character no one would have remembered unless they were on a particularly nostalgic YouTube trip, is annoying and pointless. She was an irritating character twenty years ago, so how anyone drew the conclusion that this is what people wanted to see is baffling. And to pair her with Ian Beale, the only single man with money in the Square to fulfil an ‘Is She/Isn’t She’ a gold digger plot has got very old, incredibly fast. The lazy story has Ian repeatedly proposing after Mandy does something stupid, like sleeping with Ricky Butcher (another by-product of a poorer time on Eastenders) or wanting to care for her dying mother. Mandy is like a verruca; you need medical treatment to go away and she appears when there’s an abundance of dirt.
The entire problem that the people behind Eastenders has is that they’ve lost the vision of what the watchers want. Despite the controversial story lines, like the Baby Swap and the death of Danielle at the hands of a fast moving car, it still had people watching. Even though there was a ‘mass boycott’ ratings went up, rewarding the storyliners for their bravery, but somehow, the current breed; lead by the ineptitude of Bryan Kirkwood, has lost what made Eastenders brilliant and turned it into a mediocre soap opera. I would love to even say that Eastenders is a better version of Hollyoaks, except it isn’t. It’s not even Family Affairs for crying out loud. It rests on par with a spin off centred on the failed Ferrera family.
What do you think? Have you stuck by Eastenders through the thick and thin and are loving the trials and tribulations of the new breed of young Eastenders stars? Do you think that Mandy breathes fresh life into poor Ian’s life?
This is how we feel about this series of The Apprentice. It’s just not very good compared to previous years. Where’s Claire and her AK47 of bullshit? Or Ahmed and his plate smashing antics? (Well, that was Big Brother, but imagine that malarkey going on in the boardroom. Brilliant.)
There’s no stand out characters making us hate our lives and yearning for the hours spent extolling how awful ‘Character A’ is compared to ‘Character B.’ God, that ‘Character A’ is such a bitch. What was she playing at not listening to ‘Character C’? And spitting at Karren.
We’re not bothered that Katie went, or how irritating Jenna is. Truth be told, this may be the final time we watch The Apprentice. Unless they have a good batch of contestants for the Interview Stage. We love us some Claude Littner.
But, as promised, here’s a joke from @kriswould. We all know that thats the only reason you’re here. We’re not stupid.
Bankers vs Hipsters. On this episode of the apprentice, both ends of the wanker spectrum collide.
Now be off with you. Rebekak Brooks is on TV, so there’s bound to be somewhere that needs mopping.
No income tax, no VAT, no money back, no guarantee
No, not Vodafone, but only the bladdy Apprentice isn’t it?
After last week’s disastrous trip to Edinburgh, Lord Sugar decided to take things back to basics and put the most famous Yuppies since Gordon Gecko in charge of a market stall. Like what Delboy and Rodney did to much success. Only this time, there was no Trigger. Which is a shame because that would’ve made this episode of The Apprentice rather entertaining. Instead of stressing about what products to buy and in what quantities, having Adam falling through a bar would’ve been much better.
But us wishing that Only Fools and Horses was as popular as it was in it’s heyday isn’t what you’re here for, so pop in those earplugs, start chewing a sweet because things are going to get a little choppy.
- Nick Holzherr, who came dressed as David Mitchell in the 90s, took charge of Team [insert generic aspiration noun here] and kept his hair expertly ruffled as well as Ricky Martin, who was about to throw some Macho Man Randy Savage moves in the middle of Lakeside, under control.
- Fake tan sells really well. Now we understand how Lauren Goodger manages to pay for all those Lipsy dresses.
- Nick is the third most famous Apprentice Nick (after Nicholas de Lacey Brown and Nick, of ‘Karren and Nick’.
- Just like a child repeating the same word to their mother, Azhar asking for what the strategy was get irritating very fast. Unfortunately Azhar was too big to be sent to his room without any supper. Instead Lord Sugar decided to fire him and send him on his merry little way. We salute you, Azhar, for making us add the Funky Squat to our daily regimes. Rosemary Conley is waiting in the wings.
- Someone ring Anna Wintour because seeing Karren Brady dressed as Grand Duchess Anastasia shows us that looking like murdered Russian royalty in a Cash and Carry looks totes amaze balls.
- When people rhyme ‘tan’ unintentionally it makes us really miss TV Burp and Dictionary Corner.
- Somehow Jade managed to scrape through without being eliminated, even though she probably should have been. When you’re faced with proper business terms like ‘strategy’ and ‘synergenesis’ it’s hard to hold your own, mainly because ‘synergenesis’ isn’t an actual word, but she did pull it off. She probably should have been fired and kicked out onto the street for not commiserating Azhar, but at least we know what a complete bitch she is now.
It wouldn’t be a Wagging Finger Of Shame look at The Apprentice if there wasn’t a terse summing up from @kriswould, so here goes!
After successfully selling fake tan to the people of Essex, Lord Sugar has called off the ‘piss up in a brewery’ task.
After last week’s invention of the Funky Squat we weren’t sure whether we were emotionally ready for this week’s Apprentice. What was going to be imprinted on our eyes forever more? Would we see something that would make our heads explode with such levels of hilarity and embarrassment? The answer is usually a yes when it comes to the team of nouveau-yuppies that Lord Sugar puts through their paces, but this week was rather adrift with uncomfortable moments and angry confrontations, unless you count the angry looking flushes that grew on Adam’s face in the boardroom.
But you’re not here for comments on people’s skin, this isn’t Heat magazine is it. You’re here for the three things you need to know for work tomorrow.
So here goes!
1) Here’s a tip for every potential entrepreneur. What’s worse than selling pasta and meatballs that looks like a hefty menses? Trying to sell the dressed as pizza while making bad jokes. It doesn’t work and will result in you getting fired. Which is just what happened to poor Katy, the Blonde Assassin. She didn’t do much assassinations in that costume did she?
2) When claiming something is locally sourced, this doesn’t mean that the supermarket that stocks it is just around the corner. It means that the very essence of the ingredients is from the surrounding area, and not say, Cambodia or some other far flung corner of the World. If Super Mario claimed that he was locally sourced from Italy, would you believe him? Probably not because you can see that he’s just an amalgamation of some terrifyingly dangerous stereotypes, and should be rescuing Princesses from danger instead of talking to you.
This also applies to calling something ‘gourmet.’ It’s one of those buzz words that advertisers think pull people in to their product and justifies increasing the price to an astronomical level. But instead they’re just unnecessary words that stretch out the description of something which doesn’t take that much. Watch.
“Handmade gourmet burger” actually means, better than McDonalds and three times the price.
3) Doesn’t Lord Sugar’s receptionist look like the girl from The Ring?
Before we go, as always @kriswould is here with a humorous recap on this episode.
Ready? Prep your vaginets for oncoming prolapse through hilarity.
Katie paid the ultimate price for Adam’s attempt to out skinflint the Scots
UP NEXT WEEK: ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES.