Thursday, 28 January 2010

Thursday night jottings

A random Thursday night, we have Question Time on the telly, showing just how toothless TV debate can be. Everyone says how much they'd like Tony Blair to be punished for taking us to war illegally, knowing it'll never happen. And the same goes for every other subject. We all know what we'd like, we all like getting to say it on Question Time, we all know it's never made a ha'porth of difference. (Not all of us know what a ha'porth was. 'Snot important)

And equally my view on what's been on telly earlier tonight couldn't be less relevant. So here we go. Thursday is comedy night. Don't know why, but it is, and here is what we watched

The Daily Show from last night (on Virgin Catch Up, how does anyone live without it?)
The Persuasionists (not all of it)
A really bad Eastenders
Tonight's Daily Show
Mock The Week
Rab C Nesbitt for a few mins then gave up and listened to...
Count Arthur Strong on iPlayer
Bellamy's Britain
Big Bang Theory

The Daily Shows had their moments, which are always part of a show whose general standard is so high it's hard to criticise. Though I have to say we occasionally give up on the interview segment at the end. The day before yesterday's Bill Gates piece was a pretty poor bit of propaganda timed to distract from Apple's week. But the Daily Show is the best satirical TV in the world at the moment, so its lows are pretty damn high.

Eastenders, on the other hand. When it's good it's... well it's dated because of the whole video thing, but it does some touching and ambitious things sometimes. Not tonight it didn't. It was Archie's funeral and the writing was so On The Nose I'm just glad it wasn't Sam Mitchell's nose they chose to be on. It would have given.

Mock The Week is getting over the lack of Frankie Boyle, just, and Rab C Nesbitt is way better than The Persuasionists but not enough to keep me watching. I fancied a laugh, sorry, so Count Arthur won. It is a very old fashioned comedy, based largely on inconsequential malapropisms, but there has not been an episode that has had me in tears of laughter by the end. Tonight's Doncaster song was tremendous.

Bellamy's Britain got into its stride following last week's quiet start and, though I may well have been excessively warmed up by Count Arthur, had me laughing out loud, particularly at those moments where they have to cut away from someone clearly about to corpse.

But as always it's the Big Bang Theory that tops the lot. Tonight it was the episode where the 3 boys go meteor watching and get high while Sheldon has to take Penny to hospital. In a style that possibly hasn't advanced much since I Love Lucy (which Penny regularly evokes), this studio audience comedy shows that the form will long survive as long as it is done by smart writers and performers who know the game.

Which begs the question of where The Persuasionists went wrong. I actually chose to watch it on Catch Up, having not watched it live last night. And parts of it weren't bad. Some lines were inspired, if a little reliant on the Thesaurus. But the whole tenor is wrong, the air is juvenile, the style is old fashioned, the characterisations are cartoony, the acting is perfunctory, and I need to devote more time and study to learning from where, how, when, how and in what detail the whole show has gone so terribly wrong from its first minute. Couldn't finish tonight's episode, got as far as about 15 to 18 minutes, it was so so painful.

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