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Suet Sells

23 Aug

As someone who is trying to lose a bit of body fat at the moment, a brief snatch of an advert on the TV the other day really riled me.

This is far from an unusual occurrence, the ‘Cheeky Bingo’ woman who pulls a diarrhea face every 12 minutes in the break bumpers of Jezza Kyle makes me want to enact a global atrocity every morning, but I digress.

It was a TV trail for one of those WE’LL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT IN RETURN FOR THE NATION LAUGHING AT YOU programmes airing on More4 or whatever it trades as these days.

One of the most glaring stunts these programmes employ is to attempt to shit-scare the fatties out of their blubber by heaving a hideous ‘Fuck You Africa’ clod of rotting food into a clinically white conference centre and tell the fatty that this is all the food they consume in a year/month/week.

‘URGH look at how disgusting it is! That’s your insides, that is! Aren’t you a greedy pig? Aren’t you vile? Aren’t you revolting? WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE?!’ the ‘presenter’ coos with a smile painted on their face so brash even the Joker would say it was too much.

Most of the fatties cry. Probably not due to their own shame, but because the three tons of rotting turkey drummers in front of them is stinging their eyes.

The truth is, even three tons of celery, low-fat ham and grape juice is going to look pretty gross when dumped at your feet; especially when  Not-A-Real-Doctor Gillian McHag rubs your nose in it like a puppy that’s just shit in a slipper.

‘We’ll help you though!’ The ‘presenter’ condescends. ”Coz despite the fact we’ve named this show England’s Fattest Single Mothers, we want to help. We’re kind people really. Don’t fret little fatty, we are going to be with you every step of the way- except when the cameras are off. And the series ends. And when we’re appearing on Daybreak every fortnight to comment on aging Judy Finnegan’s dilapidated thighs. But apart from that, we will always be here for you, from beginning to end. Right up to until the ‘Chasing Cars’ montage of you playing with your overweight children on a council estate playground at the end.’

How inspiring.

The conclusion? Apparently if you don’t eat lots of fatty, clearly labelled unhealthy foods and do a bit of exercise now and then, you don’t get fat. Who’d have thought? So TV companies, go find some other bollocks to fill your schedules with. Except you won’t, coz this shit pulls in the viewers. Apparently it’s not just sex that sells, it’s suet too.

It’s worth starving yourself just to prevent your over-enthusiastic, slightly hurtful sister from nominating you as Lorraine‘s ‘Loser of the Week’.

It’s A ‘No’ From Me.

31 May

Neither series has even begun, yet The X Factor UK and The X Factor USA have been wracking up the headlines nevertheless.

I’d rather not go into the whole unpleasant Cheryl business. I think every possible story, scrap of speculation, dreamt up soundbite and ‘overheard’ conversation from the ever ellusive ‘source’ has already been documented. With still no actual confirmation from Cowell, Cole, Fox, Syco or ITV, chances are we’ll never know what happened to get Our Lovely Cheryl that one way ticket home.

As the speculation goes thundering on however, at least we know one thing for sure about our own series; it’s fucked.

Whether she jumped or was pushed, X Factor producers didn’t even bother to arrange the filming schedule to enable audience favourite Dannii Minogue to reclaim her seat behind the famous desk; despite last year managing to wing it quite easily whilst she was busy having a big fat baby. With all the Syco-Fox induced shitstorm surrounding Cheryl, she was also out of the frame, leaving Louis Bloody Walsh as the only remaining judge of old available to sign a contract. (Simon’s been out for the count ever since he jumped into bed with the Fox network.)

With one audition already cancelled due to lack of preparation and another a matter of hours away, monday evening’s announcement from the ITV press centre seemed more of a ‘Here’s Who’s Famous And Available On Wednesday’ selection process. So here’s our lot for X Factor 2011, beginning in August:

  • Louis Bloody Walsh
  • Gary Borelow
  • ChavDubz
  • Kelly Rowland

It is a known fact of life that the only function Louis Bloody Walsh performs is to enable us all to complain about his ludicrous decisions and the fact that he’s been there EIGHT years yet only won ONCE. ‘Why is Louis Walsh even there?!’ is as much of an X Factor catchphrase as ‘You nailed it!’ or ‘You made the song your own!’.

Barlow is admittedly a brilliant songwriter and his achievements with Take That more than demonstrate that. Pleasant and inoffensive may be perfect for his particular record-buying audience but for an X Factor judge, it will simply appear boring. Sorry, but it will. My fingernails have more charisma. (NOTE TO SELF:- ‘The Fingernails’= good band name.)

ChavDubz- Bratty, miserable, offensive, unqualified and has previously damned the X Factor for its ‘Queue up to be famous’ sensibilities. Someone clearly hasn’t done their homework before hiring this girl. Having garnered huge experience in selling-out as part of the worst urban collective ever to bother the Top 20, I can only hope she was bloody cheap. Clearly ITV are suffering more than most from the economic downturn.

Finally, Kelly Rowland. I like Kelly Rowland. All too frequently passed off as simply That One Off Of Destiny’s Child That Isn’t Beyonce, I hope the show gives Kelly the platform she deserves- perhaps a la Scherzinger. I acknowledge that i’m probably one of very few who can legitimatly name nine (yes nine!) bloody decent Rowland solo/featuring tracks, but non-believers can always hold onto the fact that Queen Beyonce herself may well rock up at her Judge’s House.

I’m apparently not alone in my dismay. A poll conducted by the Sun on monday night resulted in a daunting 72% of readers claiming they were unhappy with the changes. Furthermore, 67% of Digital Spy readers voted negatively towards the new panel or were unhelpfully, at present, ‘unsure’.

Could this really be the end for the biggest TV show in Britain? The judges are out.

Eleven Seconds of Amazingness

25 May

(Originally posted 25/11/10)

This is the very first The X Factor US teaser trailer. As periods of eleven seconds go, this will be a particularly good one. Just think, the amount of eleven seconds you’ve spent bored staring into space, or sat on the loo, or waited for a bus, or wished your friend would JUST STOP TALKING. Like I said, the following eleven seconds of your life watching this clip will relatively be very good indeed.

Five reasons this clip is worthy of the term ‘amazing’:

1. This clip has premiered ONE YEAR before the bloody show is due to begin.
2. The X is ‘built into’ America. Hence, America has always had ‘The X Factor’ but it has not always had The X Factor. Instead, America has inexplicably funneled its ‘X Factor’ into American Idol for literally twenty thousand series. There are more ‘American Idols’ out there than there are regular people. Anyway, I digress, an A in A Level Media Studies tells me that the fact that this trailer emphasises that The X Factor will be part of America already demonstrates how fucking amazing it will be, even if Americans have no idea what it is yet. You will do Americans, you will do. Plus that bridge ‘X’ is massive, just like…you get the point.
3. The understated white writing. You notice the ‘X’ more then don’t you? You seeeeeeeee….
4. The tiny flash of X Factor sparkle as the text disappears. Us Uk’ens will notice it, but the Americans might not. You will do Americans, you will do.
5. The ‘X’ on Fox lingering right till the end. The X Factor is going to take over Fox.

Considering how ballistically overblown our X Factor is once it reaches full throttle (i.e now), I like that this trailer, again ONE YEAR before the series will begin, is actually quite tepid. S’only gonna get bigger folks and it has 365 days (roughly) to get there. Its going to be HUGE. Imagine the explosions, unneccesary pyrotechnics, bitchy judges, unfair decisions, over enthusiastic crowds, over enthusiastic acts, and over enthusiastic voiceovers of the UK version, then imagine the AMERICANS doing it.

Exactly.

Bring on ‘Fall’ 2011.

Scramble the Skycopter!

25 May

(Originally posted 16/11/10)

So Prince William’s marrying that girl. Congrats…or something.

Now I ‘get’ that this is big news, but when Sky, the BBC and ITV are bombarding you with the same five paparazzi photos of the couple on repeat for 3 and a half hours like a regal form of epilepsy, I instantly become tired of this media event 9 months before this thing could actually happen.

Unfortunately, I was at the gym whilst this monumental news broke and I was trapped on a rowing machine for twenty minutes facing an enormous and inconveniently subtitled Sky News. It was like a brainwashing scene off of Torchwood.

Sky News’ response to the news of a royal engagement was to scramble the ‘SKYCOPTER’ (NOW IN HD!) to hover over Buckingham Palace, beaming anonymous aerial pictures as a televisual screensaver whilst Mrs. RaRa Howard-Clarke-Dean, (you know, the famous royal journalist off of that famous royal magazine. Yeah, that one that’s usually covering up the front of Nuts) is on the phone vomiting her opinions everywhere. Sorry, but what is this (assumingly) quite expensive tracking shot adding to this story? The only thing I learned extra from today’s escapade aboard the SKYCOPTER was that Buckingham Palace is still where it was yesterday.

That said, I love Sky News. It’s like X Factor without having to listen to anyone sing.

RIP Stephanie De La Dean

25 May

(Originally posted 11/11/10)

R.I.P Stephanie De La Dean/Cunningham/Roache(?). I’ll miss your dubious epilepsy and convenient character changes.

Truth be told, I haven’t watched Hollyoaks properly for about two years; mainly due to ex-exec producer Lucy Allan bringing it to its knees. I made special exceptions for when Sarah Barnes went splat and when the glorious Clare Devine returned, but for entirely different reasons. If i’m honest, the only reason I tuned in last night was because I accidently tripped over the spoiler that Steph had met her maker in the Il Gnosh fire. I loved Steph.

Carly Stenson and Ashley Taylor Dawson (Darren) have over the years performed the acting equivalent of parting the Red Sea with some of the most utter dross ever thrown at a TV screen and been called a script. Fittingly, it took Darren to appear last night to actually get my emotional juices flowing as he realised Steph was gone. Gilly had been crying for about 50 minutes by this point and I was still dry as a bone. Anyway, these two are two of the longest serving residents of the ‘Oaks and were/are firm favourites of mine.

Even though the Steph who tragically commited herself to the flames last night was an entirely different one to the Uber-Bitch-that-everyone-hates-and-she-hates-them-back of old-school ‘Oaks, its still nice that such a throwaway soap as Hollyoaks can still maintain some form of character.

Well, sort of. Let’s consider some of Steph’s finest moments:

-Uber Bitch is a bit of a bully at school but is still acres more likeable than Lee Hunter.
-Uber Bitch gets blungeoned over the head by THE GREAT HOLLYOAKS SERIAL KILLER OF 2000 AND SOMETHING with a spanner. (God knows how God-awful Lisa Hunter got away scott-free. She’d be first on my hitlist. Plus, i’d use a crow-bar – s’got more of an edge. Anyway…)
-Uber Bitch gets epilepsy.
-Uber Bitch goes a bit mental at some sort of drama performance thing she was doing in a disturbing but still completely stupid Hollyoaks Later/After Dark/Goes Wild/With Extra Swearing And Boobs or whatever it was called in them days. (Apparently this was her being ‘possessed’ by one of the Serial Killer’s victims which, in hindsight, is a relief in that Hollyoaks didn’t just get their epilepsy research a bit wrong.)
-Uber Bitch throws herself in a river and drowns. Cue generic other Hollyoaks characters fishing her out and pronouncing her dead. Credits Roll.
-Post credits scene- Oh no, she’s fine, what a relief etc etc. (What a waste of my time.)
-Steph does it with a Footballer who can’t act for shit. She flogs the story to a newspaper after sound advice from her manager and sort of brother but creepily amazing sort of boyfriend, Darren. Stephanie De La Dean is born.
– Some other stuff I can’t remember. Steph’s desperate to be famous and is also really fit.
– Steph somehow, (the producers told her to) falls in love with Max.
– Max is mown down by resident Psycho, sudden car-owner and inappropriately named Niall ‘Secret’ Mcqueen.
– Steph sings ‘About You Now’ at Max’s funeral. Heartbreaking. (Darren’s face in the church as she announces this is 100% comedy gold. I think this expression is the best 1 second in Hollyoaks history. YouTube it. It’s worth it.)
– Steph is given custody of Child Curse Tom- over his actual sisters Mandy and Cindy for reasons known only to the Hollyoaks writers. (To be fair, Mandy seemed to have a habit of losing her own child around this time so the decision was probably appropriate.)
– Steph becomes nice Mummy Steph.
– Steph gets electrocuted or struck by lightning or something which OBVIOUSLY DURRRR brings on her epilepsy. (?!)
– Steph nearly gets chucked off a cliff by Psycho Niall. Unfortunately, Craig and Tom also miss the plunge.
– (Some other stuff happens in which she apparently marries Gilly(?!) coz the producers told her to, but I stopped watching at this point due to Lucy Allan’s destruction of Clare Devine, but that’s not for here….)
– Steph gets cancer. She saves Amy and her semi-invisible children from a fire. Despite having a clear exit, she chooses to stay behind; choosing to die now rather than have to go through the pain of the cancer.

This is no way a criticism of Hollyoaks by the way, the ridiculousness is why I love it. In essence it completely misses the point to analyse it in any way at all. As someone once wisely wrote on a Hollyoaks forum I shamelessly read and frequently lolled at, ‘Hollyoaks doesn’t care about continuity and neither should you.’

So here’s to Stephanie De La Dean! She may have had a horrible, horrible life but at least she never got raped, or even worse, had to do it with Tony.