Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eh Boo Boo...

As I commented some weeks ago. Yogi Bear was yet to be unrecognisably mangled from its 2D cartoon form, into a 3D live action film by the hacks of Hollywood.

Then I discovered this:

Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake? Seriously? I couldnt think of a worse pairing, aside from maybe Russell Brand and Ian McKellen (and that's as the leads in ANY film, live action or no). Also in the case of the latter, does the presence of J.T. mean that Boo Boo is going to sing? I wouldn't put it past the producers to fit that in too. 

Whilst I am pleased that I accurately predicted Hollywood might do something as misguided as a Yogi Bear live action film (note: I wasn't aware it had been approved as early as 2008, but then it wasn't common knowledge!), I really didn't want to be proven right!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ferrari's Farce

They say lightning never strikes twice; they also say that only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change, begging the question who are ‘they’, and what makes ‘them’ so damn wise in the first place? All these questions were passing through my mind after yesterday’s German Grand Prix, where race leader Felipe Massa was ordered by his Ferrari team to relinquish position to Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race. This of course bore an eerie resemblance to the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, when Ferrari forced Rubens Barrichello to move over to let Michael Schumacher past.

The Ferrari team has been an outspoken critic should anything not benefit the team in the sport, such as technical and sporting regulations, as seen this year when Michael Schumacher took advantage of a grey area in the rules at the expense of a Ferrari car. Now, I’m not saying Ferrari is always wrong when it comes to its bleating and blubbering that it’s been unfairly treated, the Schumacher case for instance was an issue that needed to be questioned. However, it now seems that the teams’ holier than thou attitude has hit the buffers spectacularly, and shown that really Ferrari are happy to win no matter the method. It’s no surprise that Di Montezemelo has issued a statement claiming he doesn’t care about “the polemics” as long as his team wins, fair enough it is his job to see a red car wins as sporting director, although he and his team should expect to face the consequences for manipulating the race result.

This incident has also shown once again that Fernando Alonso is only happy in a team where everyone (including the second driver) is geared toward his interest. I can imagine he’s the sort of man that would have Massa doing petty jobs around the garage like getting his coffee, or wiping his arse if it came to it. Alonso is without doubt a great driver but unfortunately, like his team, is happy to win at any cost (like in Singapore 2008 where he took victory, thanks to his team mate crashing on purpose) and in that sense he and Ferrari were meant for each other.

Of course the controversy of yesterday has had a knock-on effect amongst the fans that wanted to see a race, and not an engineered outcome. However, the cries that F1 is not a sport as result, is a sign that loose knees are looking for a good jerking. Formula One is a sport, and a competitive one at that. It’s not like this kind of dubious fiddling happens every weekend, and when it does it get scrutinized appropriately. Hence the fact that Ferrari has been fined issued to the World Motor Sport Council and roundly criticized.

Overall the debate surrounding team orders has been waiting to happen for a couple of weeks now, as inter team politics have been steadily setting the agenda of paddock gossip. As long as this incident works as an agent of change for the better, then I welcome it.

It’s just a shame that too often the rule makers in F1 settle for the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach, which only tends to make the sport look silly in the eyes of the public when something invariably does go wrong. Then again maybe that’s just sporting institutions for you. Look at FIFA and the world cup after all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Burger Based Lies

Having been hard at work job hunting for the last couple of months, I have now progressed to the stage of getting regular interviews with prospective employers.

This is also a brief excuse for not updating more regularly. I don’t know who I’m apologising to. Maybe it’s to me? In which case; I’m very sorry me.

In other news, look! Burger King have just been reprimanded by the ASA for displaying a larger than life (literally) burger in one of its adverts. Misleading of course considering if, like me, you’ve been to Burger King, looked at the lovely juicy burger on display on the menu, and been disappointed with the flaccid, unkempt disappointment that is served up to you. That’s right I’m calling a burger from a fast food restaurant disappointment in the shape of a burger! What will the King have to say about that then?

Also what’s up with the King? There is something unnerving, and yet cool about this self appointed, jolly old monarch that seems to like forcing his greasy wares on an unsuspecting public. Something tells me he’s appointed himself the wrong kind of title, as I think Godfather would be more appropriate on occasions, the way he keeps turning up unannounced and awkwardly watching his unfortunate victim chewing on his sandwich as if he's presented it as an offer you cannot refuse. This is obviously a man – or thing, seriously what is he? – that is more interested in regality and grandeur, but he still has some gangster tendancies about him. Still I’m waiting for the day he has a punch up with Ronald McDonald, as that’s a fight I really want to see.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stuck In A World Of Their Own

It’s no exaggeration to say that TV exists in a world of its own. But what happens when that world contains another world? Sometimes things can get very existentially confusing, although sometimes the result can be comedy gold. Today we look at some of the best TV shows within shows, to see what happens when TV becomes too reflexive for its own good.

Children of Castor (As seen in Cruise of the Gods)

"What's the point in being human, if we lose the ability to be humane?"
Do you remember that weird cult series from the eighties, which had kids battling monsters in a post nuclear-apocalyptic world? You know the one with the cheesy lines and the incomprehensible plot? Well this is the ultimate parody of dystopian nineteen-eighties sci-fi. Also I am a particular fan of the opening sequence containing a doomed man screaming “I’m changing! I’M CHANGING!” due to the nuclear apocalypse described in the back-story.

Albi the Racist Dragon (As seen in Flight of the Conchords)

"The cave was so dark, and so scary, that Albi began to cry; dragon tears. Which as we all know, turn into JELLYBEANS!"

Albi the Racist Dragon is a beautiful little piece of Jermaine Clemant and Brett MacKenzie style randomness. The brief, but full, episode of the show tells us the touching story of a bigoted dragon that learns to love people who are different to himself, instead of burning them to death with his dragon breath. Also we learn that dragons in fact cry jellybeans, which is a welcome discovery. If only we could all sit down and eat bubblegum pie with different peoples of the world, what a world it would be.

Itchy and Scratchy (As seen in the Simpsons)

 "They fight. And bite. And fight and fight and bite."
If Tom and Jerry contained blood and mutilation it could have looked a lot like this. Simply speaking, it’s about a cat and a mouse who for some un-explained reasons (maybe it’s a type of bestial racism) frantically try to disembowel one another every day, with Itchy the mouse coming away as the victor more often than not. Some of the best moments have involved Scratchy being crushed to death by the moon, and Scratchy eating a piece of his own stomach (and unsurprisingly being unable to digest it properly) before being charged an outrageously high price for the privilege.

The Russell Crowe Show (As seen in South Park) 

"Hoodillali! Tugger's going to be ok! You know what that makes me feel like doing? Fighting!"
It’s a badly kept Hollywood secret that Russell Crowe is an angry man, however imagine if he got to combine his love of a scrap with teaching children about basic world geography. Well, the Russell Crowe Show is the result. Marvel as Russell, his anthropomorphic tugboat named "Tugger," and the briefly name checked "Wally-B" – a talking Wallaby – travel the globe in search for a good fight from whoever they can provoke (or more likely whoever provokes Russell). Don’t worry though, it’s not just mindless violence against people of all colours and creeds, Russ also tackles important issues like fighting cancer – or as he can’t find cancer itself, a person with cancer.

Father Ben (As seen in Father Ted)
"Oh Ben! I'm such an eejit. I put the shorts, on me head!" 
A nice little knowing reference to the show that it appeared in, Father Ben appears to be a carbon copy of Father Ted, although within the Father Ted narrative world. It is a show both Father Ted and Father Dougal appear to enjoy, although they miss the irony that the show is in fact incredibly similar to their lives, and even mock the stupidity of the characters based on themselves. Though this scenario was incredibly funny, I am worried this could happen to me one day.

All My Circuits (As seen in Futurama)

 "Oh, Monique! Why did we wait so many years to bathe in champagne?"
For anyone fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have seen cheesy daytime soaps like Days of Our Lives or Sunset Beach, it will come as no surprise that a soap opera full of convoluted twists and ever more shocking cliff-hangers - such as those seen in All My Circuits - are based on an element of fact rather than just parody. However for many viewers who haven’t seen these gems of mediocrity, All my Circuits will seem like a soap opera that is pushing the envelope of cliché. Also there are Robots! Yay!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gimme a Break From These Damn Kids

When I was young children’s TV occasionally dealt with the theme of children getting revenge on their parents. The gunge-happy Get Your Own Back was probably the most memorable, where disgusting brats who felt their parents had irreversibly wronged them - for trivial crimes like wearing a Wallace and Gromit tie to work - could deal sticky gungy punishment upon their birthgivers, whilst host Dave Benson Phillips ran around with his arms flailing, and screaming like a banshee.

Well this is the twenty-first century and children today have tired of gunge, (aside from a brief revival during the dark times of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow) so instead the spoilt gnomes have decided to ruin the family holiday instead of dunking their parents in gruel. Gimme A Break, fronted by Jake Humphry, is the result.

The format works like this: The kids moan about what they don’t like about family holidays, so get to pick the rules for the next one. Not only that, but they also get to chose the destination too from a selection offered by the show. Along the way inevitable tiffs occur, when the parents contravene the quite silly rules and there is a quiz element seemingly bolted to the end. Also the kids are in charge of the budget, which was met with dismay by the parents during the episode I watched who claimed “Well we’ll have no money after the first day when you blow it all on burgers etc,” to which the kid replied: “take a chill pill mum” like a sarky precocious twat with no real idea about budgeting except that it isn’t cool. It began to sound increasingly like a chat between the Bank of England and the banking sector.

On one level the premise seems like an excuse for a cheap holiday, although inevitably one where you’re followed around by cameras every step of the way and - from the parents’ perspective – where they are subjugated to very kid friendly activities, which I’m pretty sure is what family holidays are normally geared to anyway. I know for certain me and my brother were nightmares on holiday during the disproportionately small allocated adult time. At the end of the discussion I just don’t get why parents put themselves up for these shows.

I would rather see a version of this show format where things get way out of hand, and the children start abusing their new found power, maybe by using the holiday money to buy alcohol, with their hapless parents unable to stop them. Or perhaps another situation where the kids insist on going on holiday in a war hit country like Iraq or Afghanistan. At least in this scenario the brats may realise they are lucky to go on holiday in the first place, instead of griping that their parents enjoy boring holiday activities like walking and visiting local landmarks.