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Okay, kiddies. Let’s try something different. Ready? Okay, hold on tight. Here’s:
The Friday Five Questions That Nobody Asked, But I’m Answering Anyway, Dammit
This week’s topic: The World of Television
1. Does TLC exist for any other reason than to rip off shows from the BBC?
A: Not any more.
Sure, TLC used to stand for The Learning Channel, and had lots of educational shows and interesting cerebral diversions. But then the honchos there discovered that brainy shit don’t sell in America, and sold out. That’s when they became BBC8, or BBC9, or whatver the next available number is. They copied Changing Rooms, transforming it into Trading Spaces. They heisted House Invaders, more or less, and now we watch While You Were Out. They filched Faking It. They even weaseled away What Not to Wear. What’s next for these bozos? Benny Hill’s Fashion Tips for Young Birds? Monty Python and the Holy Gardening Tips?
Look, to be fair, other stations do the same thing. Big Brother, Survivor, the new Coupling — these are all blatant rip-offs of the Beeb and others in a bare-faced attempt to make a few bucks. But the high-brow stations are supposed to be above that sort of thing, aren’t they? Sure, PBS used to play Fawlty Towers and Doctor Who, and thank goodness they did. The difference is that they didn’t rip them off and remake them, trying to cast Bill Cosby as Basil Fawlty (with Nell Carter as his badgering ‘fishwife’), or a young Harry Anderson as the Doctor.
(Yes, Richard Moll would make a great Dalek, but you’re missing the point.)
So now TLC stands firmly for Transcribing Limey Content and it’ll be that way for quite a while, I’m afraid. We’ll just sink deeper into the bastardization, and spin off ultra-Americanized versions, and it’s already started.
(See Trading Spaces: Family for the first sign of the apocalype.)
Soon we’ll have Trading Double-Wide Trailers and Faking It: CEO Edition, and we’ll never go back. If we want real, original programming about real-life home improvements and issues, we’ll have to start watching channels such as HGTV, and shows like — oh, I don’t know — Ground Rules. What? Oh, fuck. I give up. Just flip it to UPN and leave me the hell alone.
2. How long before those catty bastards on Last Comic Standing have a no-holds-barred hair-pulling rumble?
And the reason is very simple. Number one, fat people are funny. That’s just the way it is. Number two, by their nature, fat people are heavy. So, do the math. If fat people are funnier than most people and heavier than just about everyone else, then it’s pretty clear that this little competition is going to come down to the chunky girl (Tess) and that roly-poly behemoth dude (Ralphie). So, as much as everyone else in that house will bitch, and moan, and scheme, and whine, making the damned show nearly unwatchable in the process — isn’t this shit supposed to be funny, by the way? — no one’s actually going to throw down, for fear that one of these big rhinoceri will get involved and sit on their head.
I gotta tell you, though, I’m losing patience with the show. The less I like these petty bitches, the less funny I think they are. I’m to the point now where I only watch the last ten minutes, anyway, when there’s actually a smidgen of stand-up being performed. Even at that, they cut-away and voice-over in between the sets to talk about who’s pissed, and who’s pouting, and who likes who, and who’s making breakfast in the morning, and… just shut your damned pie holes already! Please!
The ‘reality show’ aspect of this thing is really getting on my nerves, and it’s ruining the comedy. Somebody needs to bitch-slap the lot of ’em into shape, and just have ’em do stand-up back to back to back for an hour. Now there’s entertainment! Hell, I’d go whip them into shape myself, but — well, you know — that Ralphie dude’s pushing four hundred pounds, by the looks of things. I don’t mind having the weight of the world on my shoulders from time to time, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna end up with his fat ass on my head. Nuh-uh. Send in the Fridge or something. I’m out.
3. HOT or NOT: the new (not-blonde) intern chick in the Dell commercials?
A. Oooh. Tough one.
I’m going to go out on a limb on this one and say that she’s hot, but just by the skin of her teeth.
(And for the record, if she actually has skin on her teeth, I’m changing my vote. That’s nasty.)
But it’s a qualified ‘hot’ — a ‘marginally hot’, maybe, or a ‘hot-ish’. But I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. I guess I’m just nice that way.
Anyway, the folks at Dell aren’t helping her at all, that’s for sure. She’s no actress, for certain, and they’re not giving her a lot to work with. She generally seems uncomfortable, usually stands like she has a stick up her ass, and delivers her lines like a computerized voice on a luxury car.
(‘Your door is ajar. Your door is ajar. Buy Dell computers. Your door is ajar.‘)
Plus, the folks in wardrobe aren’t doing her any favors. In one recent commercial — where she delivers her famous, ‘Can you imagine?‘ line and a weird sneery look that’s supposed to mean ‘confused’ — they’ve got her wearing some skirty thing that, um… well, it tents. Now, it’s not a Good Thing™ when a guy has pants that tent, but on a girl, it’s particularly disturbing. So why give her even a shaky thumbs-up?
First, she seems to be generally attractive, the apparent lack of acting ability and the, ah, crotchal region unpleasantness aside.
(And believe me, if it were any other sort of crotchal region unpleasantness than ‘coincidental tenting’, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Oh, we’d be having a conversation, you bet your ass. But it wouldn’t be this one.)
Anyway, for the most part, I think she’s just been a victim of unfortunate circumstances, and perhaps lighting. And yes, tenting. Unfortunate tenting. It’s rather hard to let that one go…
But there’s a new commercial out, and she’s doing a bit better in it. There are a couple of simulated hand-held cam shots where she looks more natural, and it sounds like she’s doing the voice-over for this one. She’s got a nice voice, and she seems more at ease. So I’ll give her this vote of confidence, and see how she does in the next spot. I’ll give her about a 7 now, or maybe a 7.5, and reserve the right to raise or lower my opinion just a bit. Of course, in the event that her pants start ‘raising’ and ‘lowering’ depending on ‘her’ mood, I’ll lower it a bit more than a bit. Quite a bit more than a bit, and I may need a stiff drink, as well. (Heh. I said, ‘stiff’. That oughta get some people tenting around here.)
4. Does that damned Carrot Top dickhead actually entice anyone to use C-A-L-L-A-T-T?
A. Only people who need to be shot.
Seriously, I think the ‘Top only plays well to the overly-hyper, neon-redheaded, mentally ill crowd. Which is a much larger segment of the population than you might think. (Alfred E. Neuman has had a lot of illegitimate children over the years.) So maybe AT&T is getting their money’s worth, after all. Still, I wish they could target their marketing somehow so I don’t have to see that shit. We should all get a different C-list celebrity, based on who we would most likely identify with. How cool would that be? Stay-at-home trailer trash types could have Ricki Lake, the upper-crust folks could have Ben Stein (if he can tear himself away from his Visine spots), and Martin Mull could shill for the Baby Boomers. Sweet! Of course, I’d end up with Fozzy Bear in this scenario, so I’m not so sure I want to go through with it. ‘Dial down the center! One – wakka wakka wakka – C. A. L. L. A. T. T. Haaah! Haaaaaah!‘ Yeah. Never mind.
5. Seen those VW Touareg SUV commercials? Is everybody involved with that thing smoking crack?
So, I have to admit that I’ve only seen a couple of these ads, and only a couple of times. Still — what the fuck? The commercials I’ve seen are supposed to be ‘auditions’ for drivers for this new gas-guzzling behemoth. Fine — ‘Drivers Wanted’. I’m with you. But the people they’ve chosen for these spots! There’s the gaggle of young guys who come off as not being the shiniest shoes in the store, if you know what I mean. They look like a slope-browed carpooling boy band, and believe me — they’re bad enough.
But then there’s the one with the woman. She’s attractive, and enthusiastic, and generally into the spirit of being captured on film. All of this is well and good. Her problem is that she’s apparently had a rather thorough lobotomy at some point, and should under no circumstances be allowed to drive a car. I truly think they gave her speed just before turning the cameras on. She zooms, and she giggles, and she titters (no, not in the good way, men — focus), and flips her hair, and generally manages to look both manic and unfocused throughout the commercial, all the while sitting in her folding chair and pretending to be in a car. Imagination is good, folks, but I’m pretty sure that this one has all sorts of ‘friends’ to talk to, and to play with, and apparently to drive around with, as well.
But my problem is not with her, per se. Not until I actually see her behind the wheel of an automobile, at least. No, my issue is with Volkswagen. See, this series of commercials is just another in a long line that follows one of the Grand Tenets of Mass Marketing, namely:
It is always a good idea to feature blithering, drooling morons expressing interest in your product.
And apparently, the droolier and blitherier, the better, at least for VW. Which, while I’m here, is how I imagine this car must have gotten it’s name in the first place. I think they let the hyper chick out of her straightjacket and gave her a crayon, then let her loose on a wall. And she scribbled down a bunch of gobbledygook letters, and that became the new SUV’s name. Voila! Sure, they took out the ‘9’ that she had in the middle somewhere, but essentially, this is her baby. What other explanation could there be? What the hell is a ‘Touareg’, or what could it possibly be derived from? It actually looks better backwards: ‘Gerauot’. At least then it sounds like a damned car, albeit something that Renault or Fiat might try to stick us with. But ‘Touareg’? No. Native American deity? Maybe. Hairy Russian hooker? Perhaps. SUV? SUR-ely not.
Anyway, I’ve never understood the ‘morons sell’ strategy, and I certainly don’t now. How many sins against good ol’ common sense can one marketing campaign commit, anyway? They’re asking us to follow in the path of obvious Neanderthals to become interested in the product. Then, they barely, if at all, actually show the damned vehicle in the ad itself. And to top it off, they’ve provided us with an unpronouncable name to remember, which contains approximately three dozen vowels and ends in ‘-areg’. How many words do you know of that end in ‘areg’? Or ‘-eg’, for that matter, other than ‘leg’? Or contain ‘ouar’ anywhere at all?
Look, it’s one thing to stand out from the crowd with a bold, original new name. But it’s a completely different thing to let some chimp take a whiz on the keyboard and just use whatever shows up onscreen. Definitely different, not to mention messy and smelly and probably fairly noisy, to boot. I can’t say for sure, of course, because I don’t have a chimpanzee of my own to try it out with. But when I tested it myself, it was certainly all of those things, plus I had to buy a new keyboard. On the other hand, when I tried it, I came up with ‘Haagen-Dazs‘, so maybe there’s something to this, after all. Perhaps I should do more research in this area. I’ll put down some plastic and drink lots of water, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Well, that went well, I think. Nobody got hurt, the FCC didn’t shut us down, and I even managed to keep my pants on through the whole thing. (Okay, fine. Two out of three isn’t bad…)
So, I don’t know whether this will become a regular feature at the blog (or WTH?, as its friends like to call it). If you liked the questions, let me know. Hell, answer ’em yourself, if you’re into that kind of thing. Go nuts. Maybe I can come up with something every week. Hey, stranger things have happened. Not much stranger, I concede, but still, stranger is stranger. Or is it, ‘stranger is as stranger does’? ‘Nobody likes a strange-ass’? I dunno. All’s I know is that I’m hungry for candy now. I’m gonna go see what’s in the kitchen. Happy Friday!Permalink | 1 Comment