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.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a Mike Baldwin shaped rock for the past few days, you won’t have missed the sad passing of Anne Kirkbride, the soap behemoth behind Deirdre Barlow. Deirdre, the character who ensnared a nation with her unlikely sexual prowess; she once seduced Street lothario Dev Alahan, to the collective disgust of the nation. Deirdre, who swept the nation up when she was incarcerated for fraud. Deirdre, who’s glasses coined their own term and inspired a trend in the late 80s. Everyone has a relative who quickly pulls away faded photographs from the 1980s where they have voluminous perms and even more bigger spectacles. Deirdre Barlow touched a lot of areas that you wouldn’t get with characters from Hollyoaks or, even worse, failed Channel Five soap opera, Family Affairs. But with her inevitable death in Coronation Street, we also get a passing in our living rooms and lives. The goings on between Ken Barlow and his sometimes faithful wife have had us watching for decades. Even when he went through that wanderlust spell with Stephanie Beecham, we still wanted them back together. Ken and Deirdre go together like banana and custard, or really dour Mondays and videos of puppies on YouTube. There’s almost an inevitability to it.
“Yes, I’m done,” confirmed Jessica Lange on Sunday, putting to rest months and months of speculation about whether she was going to continue with the show into its fifth season, or bow out like some people think she probably should have done a few seasons ago. Which means that Lange is leaving an almost bursting cast of – maybe – regulars as well as new additions like Cheyenne Jackson, Matt Bomer and Lady Gaga to fend for themselves against the haunted hotel. Incidentally does anyone else picture Lady Gaga in a bedsheet, creeping around the corridors of a Travel Inn in Prestatyn?
Lange is undoubtedly one of the finest actors to appear in the show, and has clawed herself from obscurity to be a pretty big deal, just like Elsa Mars from Freak Show. Perhaps not as great as how people will credit her, but still one of the most commendable things to come from the show. Is she as good as Zachary Quinto and his brief yet significant role as Bloody Face in Coven? Probably not. Or is she better than Connie Britton? Although Britton was only in one series, back when American Horror Story was new and exciting and not a partially woven together mish mash mess, she was still well remembered.
Is this the key to why Jessica Lange in AHS has become a bit of a tired concept? Have we seen everything that she can do, and the writers can create for her? She’s consistently portrayed as a massive bitch who does whatever she wants to whoever she pleases and finally gets her comeuppance by the end of the series, via some catchy musical numbers. It’s the generic megabitch trope that we’ve seen in everyone from Joan Collins to Joan Crawford. Although gays absolutely love bitches, in a world of instant gifs, Tumbr reposts and the desire for everything to go viral, it’s lazy and pandering. And it’s this pandering which has probably lessened Lange’s impact. If we’re not going to be shown something new and innovative, like American Horror Story was at the beginning, then why bother? Lange can absolutely portray more than just that one character, so why not just let us see that?
Sarah Paulson, another one of AHS’ regulars has played characters as varied as a siamese twin, a blind witch and a career focused lesbian who got herself sectioned to expose Lange’s mistreatment of her wards. She hasn’t been typecast as one type of character or resorted to being a bit of titillation like Evan Peters’ characters, and more importantly Evan Peters’ character’s butts. She’s had expansive and cohesive character arcs from beginning to end. Admittedly a lot of them came from a reused mother/daughter situation, but still explored different sides of the relationship.
Maybe a series of AHS without Lange would be a good thing and not an excuse for everyone to drop to their keyboards and start extolling why this is going to be the worst episode of American Horror Story yet. Imagine it, a series where Lange doesn’t pout and murder her way through it, and instead, we see a series where unexpected character interactions rule the day. Imagine seeing Evan Peters kicking back with Cheyenne Jackson without the terror that Lange might just be out of eye sight, plotting her revenge. Or worse, attempting another German accent.
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.
As the ganache topping is about to set on this year’s series of Great British Bake Off, all the contestants who weren’t really as good as they should have been have discarded into the bin, like the desiccated fruit that no one wants in their cakes, leaving only the very best of this series to fight it out with rolling pins and heart shaped cookie cutters. A veritable battle royale of baking will play itself out on BBC2 (and BBC HD) on Tuesday night at 8 pm as Brendan Lynch, James Morton and John Whaite take each other on to be crowned the best baker in the entire Universe.
But who deserves to win this melée a trois? Who’s soggy bottom will let them down? Who’s macaroons look the most like tiny poos? When will we stop sounding like Ann Robinson?
Well, before the final tonight, we’re going to cast our own expert eye over the finalists and try and pick out who will be rising to the occasion or collapsing like a creme brulee who has just been told that no one likes creme brulee anymore.
The Michael Crawford of this years Bake Off, based on his cooking ability, not his singing prowess (although he might have a mighty fine singing voice, we don’t know) John has scraped through by the skin of his teeth week after week with his accident prone, incredibly adorable approach to cooking. He may not be as technically adept as Brendan or James, but when it comes to warming the cockles of the hearts at home, John can definitely be classed as one of the hunks of this series.
John’s clumsy approach rings true to viewers who, like us, don’t know the difference between a fish slice and a spatula, would balk at the sight of raw bread, and violently vomit onto Mary Berry’s affordable, yet stylish Clarks shoes as a rampaging Paul Hollywood rants about ‘bad bakes.’ The one time that we baked bread, it looked like someone had made papier mache out of last week’s food stained edition of The Sun and crammed it inside a burnt lampshade. John looks like that he would teach us how to make the perfect love, and then put a congratulating arm around us while we tucked into it. Perhaps it leads to some snogging, perhaps it doesn’t.
The chances of John winning are quite slim; he’s not as consistent as the other two contestants, but he does have an adorable quality to him that could carry him into Runner Up ahead of Brendan ‘I Look Through Your Windows At Night’ Lynch.
Speaking of Brendan, he’s the only contestant that we’ve ever seen on the Great British Bake Off that we would possibly test to see if he was a replicant or was about to go into space on the Nostromo. All of his creations, however camp and cloying they may be, have been to such a high standard that, not only does he make us feel intense jealousy of everything that he creates, but also that we would have no qualms befriending him and eating everything that he would make regardless of whether they are Disney-esque frills and Snow Whites strewn from pie cooling windowsills. In fact, eating Brendan’s Snow White would be an honour.
Unfortunately for Brendan, he’s so perfect that he doesn’t quite deserve to win. He’s been so consistently good that knowing that he would walk away with the prize would be tantamount to an anti-climax because he hasn’t progressed or learned much, unlike John who’s learned how to slice your thumb with a blade and also how to worm his way into our hearts at the same time.
Ostensibly distilled from Abigail’s Party Brendan is the King of Kitsch and can’t seem to help channel Fanny Craddock and Delia Smith into each of his dishes. More often than not they end up looking like they’ve come straight from a dusty 70s bakery instead of James’ sleek creations or John’s good attempts. Symmetrical, angular, and perfect, if this was just a baking contest where we couldn’t see the seething in his eyes when things go wrong, and the reports of cats being slashed, and piped with intricate roses, then Brendan would win hands down. But his determination will set him into third place, which is still good Brendan, don’t feel bad. Please don’t take it out on the neighbour’s pets.
James Morton is one of the sexiest people to ever grace the big white tent that the Bake Off is set in. His Rick Moranis-esque (Little Shop of Horrors era) good looks and taste in knitwear really places him high in the viewer’s spank bank. Clad in fairisle tank tops with a pair of thick rimmed glasses, James has consistently excelled at creating recipes that sound like they shouldn’t really work, but still seem appealing. If you came across lavender and apple tarte tatin in Tesco you’d think that it was a niche product for people with more money than sense and who know the difference between artisan bread and every other piece of bread on the planet. But if James was slaving away at the oven creating it for you, you’d eat every last crumb, despite lavender being the smell most associated with nanas.
Excelling at following set recipes but still bringing an individuality to every thing he does, James is clearly going to win Best Baker In The Universe, without going over the top like Brendan, or slicing his hand open like John. He’s even a strong contender for single handedly making the tank top fashionable again. There are even rumours that James is single handedly responsible for a surge in knitwear in Marks and Spencer, although this could be down to the weather being as shit as vanilla ice cream.
If James doesn’t win and Brendan continues his reign of sugar related tyranny with book deals and appearances on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, don’t say that we didn’t warn you.
If you’ve ever been to an hotel that has a mildew sodden carpeted bathroom, or a mirrored ceiling when all you wanted was a sea view, then don’t feel too bad because there is finally a woman prepared to put down her prawn cocktail and stand up, ding the bell on the hotel counter until the poor attendant has medically diagnosed tinitis and shout “this hotel is dreadful, darling.” That woman is Alex Polizzi and she is the equivalent of a Power Loader wielding Ellen Ripley with fresh towels.
The similarities between the two are striking; both have wild manes of just tamed hair, a fiery glint in their eye, and know how to get what they want. Whereas Ripley used whatever firepower was available to her, Polizzi uses her own innate armoury and charms sometimes shit hotel owners into submitting to her iron will. Want to dedicate your business to housing a memoriam of times past (including dismembered doll’s arms)? That’s fine, but don’t expect to survive an encounter with Polizzi with all your limbs intact, because once that woman has set her unwavering gaze on a problem, she won’t stop until that problem has been blasted into space.
Obviously a lot of what is featured on ‘The Hotel Inspector’ (Channel 5, Thursday at 9) is choreographed to create drama (which there’s nothing wrong with), and although long lingering glances of despair might be made up of stock footage of Polizzi listening intently, it’s sort of irrelevant. Whether it’s faker than Lauren Goodger’s face, or shows the stark reality of hoteliering (I have no idea what that word actually is) it doesn’t matter. Setting Alex Polizzi lose on a failing hotel is like diving into battle after you’ve just levelled up; it’s an exhilarating experience that pushes you to the edge of your seat until the inevitable conflict flares up and then you sit back, smug, knowing that you’re never going to see two middle class women have such a passive aggressive argument again.
Everything Polizzi says is followed by a smile. She might be saying that the hotel you’ve ran for forty years is the equivalent of La Cantina and you’re understandably upset, but she’s smiling still. There’s nothing that can be done to wipe the grin from her face, in fact, the more belligerent the owners get, the more Polizzi knows that she’s right, and the wider the smile gets.
It may sound like this is a bad thing, but it’s the exact opposite. Whereas Mary Portas has decided to let her icy facade crack and show us her crying a few times, and Paul Hollywood revels in his Silver Fox status, Polizzi continues to do what she does best: making bad hotels good. And hotels is what she knows well. She’s related to Lord Forte who held a stake in The Savoy as well as bringing Travelodge to the UK. And watching her tackle apprehensive hotel owners right in the balls and shove them to the ground will, hopefully never get old.
Wasn’t The Voice great? Well, no, not really. It was one of the more bizarre ideas that the BBC have decided to enact, and that’s taking the whole Sam and Mark thing into account as well, but it started off well. Just like most things in life a good start usually continues through to something generally shit: foreplay, books, most things. It’s one of those Rule Of Life that people write articles about.
One of the larger problems of The Voice was undoubtedly Jessie J. Striving to be the main star of the show and push Will. I. Am and his….individual way of speaking to one side, she craved the camera. Which is fine. She’s probably had so much attention of the past few years that it’s become second fiddle (something that she can sing like) to her. But good news is on the pipeline because the owner of the most wigs in the country has announced that she has quit The Voice in search of jumpsuits new.
Is this really a good thing? Of course it is! Jessie J showed herself up time and time again, and good God those faces. What was with those faces? She was like one of those old men who can gurn for ten pences in the middle of a farmer’s market, but dressed like an interpretation of Hiroshima via Topshop.
No, I don’t like Jessie J, and neither should you frankly.
Knowing that she won’t be there fills me with slight trepidation however, because if we don’t know where Jessie is at all times, the World itself will be set to Defcon 3. And if she isn’t on The Voice, what absolute swelling numpty will we have instead? *thinks un-Martine McCutcheon thoughts, thinks un-Martine McCutcheon thoughts*
The absolute monsters at Johnson and Johnson have outraged the entire World by including words for their Carefree pads that would accurately describe what a product would do instead of trying to soften the blow by using words that everyone knows means fanny, but isn’t fanny.
What’s the point in dressing up something unpleasant for the sake of small minded prudes? Although there’s no definite numbers of the complaints, it’s bound to be in the trillions and everyone should start thinking more discreetly about a problem that affects 71% of women.
VAGINA. FANNY. TUPPENCE. FAIRY.
Get a grip.
Obviously I can’t show the actual advert, it’s just that inflammatory. Instead, look how happy women in the 80s were when they wore fairy shields (which apparently isn’t something that you can buy on Zelda).
Looks like being the underdog of reality TV shows isn’t the only thing that the production staff on Big Brother have to worry about, because Ofcom are now going to be investigating about a series of racist and aggressive comments made on the show.
Around 1,108 complaints have been made, which equates to almost a third of the viewing public, about the way that Conor McIntyre and Caroline Wharram has been treating some of the other contestants.
Conor was reprimanded for his behaviour after he said some pretty harsh things about shoving an epilator up Deana Uppal’s minge and called her a piece of shit. I’m not sure whether that’s exactly how you use an epilator, but Big Brother took offence and warned him about his behaviour. And it’s not even just the Steven Seagal (just without the intelligence) stand in that has been letting their flaps go.
Caroline Wharram, the woman who could have smuggled orphans into her massive hair, has potentially been a bit racist towards Adam Kelly and called him ‘a gorilla.’ Which is racist, regardless of what Ofcom say from now on. She wouldn’t have called a white contestants a gorilla. It would have been a whale or something fancy like that.
As controversial as it’s going to sound, when race rows hit shows, they became infinitely more interesting. People are clambering over themselves to have an opinion on them. Big Brother was all over the place when Dead Racist Jade Goody victimised Shilpa Shetty in a disgusting display of ignorance and arrogance. It was in every paper and spoken about on every TV show.
Ofcom received more complaints than the Eastenders Baby Swap story, Hiroshima and they would have if Threads was shown during it’s time. It was everywhere. You couldn’t move for Shilpa Poppadum. And it essentially ruined the Goody brand.
Frankly any mention of Conor and Caroline should be considered a precursor for this week’s nominations because the two of them should hopefully be up.