Friday, August 22, 2008

Day Twenty Two - Appreciative August

The telly

I'll be honest. I love television. More accurately, I love watching a great television show; one that you make sure your arse is on the couch for. "Is Sapphire in bed yet? Spicks and Specks is about to start."

As new parents, Love Chunks and I ventured into the DVD, widescreen, cinema-surround sound game relatively early in its availability because we knew that it would form the bulk of our audio/visual entertainment. We are not normally the must-rush-out-and-get-the-latest-electronic-doodaddery kind of people, but we realised that the likelihood of us being able to see something together outside of the home was non-existent, so why not make the experience of seeing things at home a much better one.

Besides, the pain of slowly limping to the Northland Hoyts eleven days after Sapphire's birth, to see the very ordinary 'The Phantom Menace', then come home, stay silent and wait for Love Chunks to see the evening session before we could talk about it was tragic to say the least. I'd been stitched 'the from the nave to the chaps' as Shakespeare described in 'Macbeth' and had to take in a cushion to stay the full course of the movie.

Enough digression, back to the joys of television. Ironically, weeks can go by and the remote control would be lucky if it was troubled by me more than twice a week due to the utter lack of anything appealing to slump in front of. As a kid and teenager, if this was the case I'd still put something on and endure it, but these days I'd rather reach for a book, a DVD or rehash a series that I really did love. Such as.....

Blackadder (esp series 2) - my family first discovered this series when channel seven in its wisdom decided to play it over the non-ratings summer holidays of 86-87. I taped each episode, lent the tape to my apricot-cutting mates and we survived the monotonous ordeal of holiday labouring work by quoting silly lines at each other. Even twenty years since the show, whenever I see Tony Robinson talking with archaelogists on BBC's 'The Time Team' or living out 'The Worst Jobs in History,' I still think, "There's Baldrick!"

Scrubs - like low rise jeans and Nirvana, I was a late-comer to this show and discovered it only in the $10 bargain DVD bin. JD (Zach Braff) is brilliantly funny and prepared to get dressed up, sing, humiliate himself and let us question his sexuality in this ridiculously joyous show. For example:

Janitor: Some hooligan keeps disconnecting the alarm. I told Security to look into it. But no, no, they'd rather catch the guy who's stealing organs from the transplant ward.

Turk: This is the reason why your headache didn't go away: That's actually pronounced analgesic, not anal-gesic. Sir, the pills go in your mouth.

J.D.: (voiceover) I guess what they say is true the people you work with really do become your family. Like your brother, and your sister in law, (shot of Turk and Carla)
......or that cousin you have funny feelings for (shot of Elliot)
......and the crazy angry uncle everyone sort of hopes isn't coming this year (shot of Dr Cox).
J.D.: Dr. Cox, If you want you can come down here and hang out with...
Dr. Cox: Nobody talk, just drink.
J.D.: (voiceover) Ah uncomfortable silences and alcohol... just like Thanksgiving at home.

Seinfeld - when we lived in Darwin, poor old Love Chunks was doing the night shift at the weather bureau and I was working normal hours at the Dept of Education and Employment. The car would literally pull up in the driveway at 6:30am on his return, and I'd get in it at 7:30am to drive back into town. Anyhow, one Saturday afternoon I was watching an episode of Seinfeld I'd taped earlier in the week, and LC was sleeping (the way the shifts were figured out, he only got one weekend off in every six). He came stomping angrily out of the bedroom and told me off: "You're laughing too loudly!". That was Seinfeld. Then and still now.

The Office (UK version). When we first saw this mockumentary, we marvelled at the brilliance of Ricky Gervais as David Brent - he played him exaggerated enough for us to laugh and yet realistic enough for us to squirm, wondering if we ourselves had ever behaved like that and were unknowingly despised for it. My favourite character was the perpetually bemused Tim, madly in love with Dawn the receptionist, and battling it out every day with second-in-command (in the army reserves if not at Wernham Hogg Paper Products.
David Brent: Look at this - "Dutch girls must be punished for having big boobs". Now you do not punish a girl, Dutch or otherwise, for having big boobs.
Gareth: If anything they should be rewarded.
David Brent: No, they should be equal.

Entourage - I'm not the demograph for this US show (being the wrong gender and age) about a spoiled A-list actor with his hangers on. It's rude, the women are most definitely only decorative plot devices and there's a helluva lot of rap music as the soundtrack but it's hilarious. Crackingly fast dialogue with four characters that are essentially selfish and immature but I love them anyway. Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is especially hilarious. "I'm actually a green belt in karate but I'm wearing yellow because it makes my eyes pop."

Flight of the Conchords
- their realistically tiny New York apartment; Brett's impeccable taste in home made windcheater designs; their deadpan comments; the spunktastic New Zealand tourism office; and for their songs 'Business Time', 'Sello Tape' and of course, Brett's Footloose-fantastic Angry Dance...... Great lyrics "There's people on the streets getting diseases from monkeys; yeah that's what I said, junkies with monkeys...."

Friends - it's rather dated now, but I'll admit that I eagerly devoured each episode when it was played on prime time Monday nights. I even surfed the web to read the scripts of episodes already played in America, but wasn't interested in reading about Courtney's struggle to have a baby; Jennifer's marriage woes, Matthew's drug addiction or Joey's unfaithfulness. Still aren't.

Wallace and Gromit (the first three shorts) - I loved these when they first debuted and it's a double pleasure to see Sapphire enjoying them now. I'm even prouder to hear her spot-on version of Wallace's Northern English accent when the peanut butter and vegemite is slid over to her for breakfast before school: "Crackin' toast, Gromit."

BBC's version of Pride and Prejudice (1996) - the only one of my two shows that are non comedy. I've always been a huge Jane Austen fan and think that this series started the era of more Austen TV and films that really did their best to respect and complemented her writing and daring world view (for her time, anyway). Witty, wordy and delicious. And yes, Colin Firth. One dark look, that dip in the pond, his perfectly pompous first proposal.....

Survivor (any series). My reality weakness. Yes, the premise is the same in every series - mostly attractive, overly-confident and painful Yanks forced to fight, back stab, win ridiculous events and scheme to get rid of each other. Like Abba, the Cadbury Crunchie and tinned spaghetti on toast, I love it. Seeing models shrink to slices of beef jerky whilst still owning a set of grapefruit-sized knockers is visual comedy at its finest.

Frasier - This show was treated so shabbily by Channel No-Nuts Nine and the repartee between pompous psychiatrist Frasier and his brother Niles was so much fun to hear. I'm just waiting for their season DVDs to go down in price.
(Frasier and Nile's father) Martin: You listen to Bulldog's program?
Niles: Yes, Dad, I can't sleep nights till I find out who hurled what ball through what apparatus.

Niles: Frasier, do you remember the time the Kreizel brothers tied me to their Great Dane and lobbed meatballs down their gravel driveway?
Frasier: I told you Niles, I would have helped you, but their sister was holding me down.

Niles: How could I have missed something so obvious?Frasier: Well, it's not so hard to believe. You were fifteen before you discovered there was a correlation between being beaten up every day and going to school in a Panama hat.

Other shows that I'd love to re-watch (if only to show me that their humor is now out of date, or irrelevant) include:
  • The Two Ronnies (some kind of 'best bits' selection)
  • Red Dwarf (as with Messrs Corbett and Barker)
  • That 70s Show
  • Black Books - Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey - heavenly humour!
  • Hollow men (getting better with each episode, especially Merrick's character)
  • Cheers
  • Arrested Development



delamare said...

Once again, Kath, our tastes collide. (Although I know you don't share my love of Doctor Who!)

May I also suggest 30 Rock, Coupling, the utterly brilliant Life on Mars, and the American version of The Office. I usually detest Yank versions of sublime UK TV, but this one is wonderful. It started off as a very similar show, but is now excellent in its own right. I think you'd get a real kick out of Andy Bernard for example.

Mind you, if you want to see it you'll need to use inventive means ... it's another great example of how shabbily commercial television in Australia treats its gems.

And I'll give Hollowmen another go based on your recommendation.

Anonymous said...

Blake's 7!

'Nuff said.


myninjacockle said...

My fave Frasier moment was at a fancy dress party.
Marty (dressed as Sherlock Holmes): So who are you?
Camp as a row of tents Food Critic whose name escapes me (dressed as Native American): I'm the last of the Mohicans.
Marty: Well that's that mystery solved.

Oh, and Niles saying he only drinks beer when he's eating German food, which is to say,never.

I could go on.

franzy said...

A doctor mate introduced our group to Scrubs and we all sat there for hours watching episode after episode, back to back, for four seasons.
And a weird thing happened ... we all started treating each other a little shabbily. Not nasty, but I noticed a much higher incidence of creative put-down among the group after we had all immersed ourselves in that show with its lightening dialogue and slightly wicked characters. Monkey see, Monkey put down.

Hooray for Life On Mars, but really, this list is nothing without The Simpsons.

ps. My word verification today is "mudgrl". No kidding. There's a blog hook for Ca ... I mean Sapphire when she starts blogging!

Lidian said...

Like you, I love the Blackadder series, esp. the ones where Hugh Laurie is the Prince Regent - and when I see Tony Robinson on Time Team (which we get sometimes in Canada - wish we got Worst Jobs In History, as I love the book) I also think, oh there's Baldrick!

Your blog is a real treat, I am so glad I found it (through Blog Explosion)


E. Peevie said...

I adore an educated person who is fully out of the closet with her love of TV. I'm right there with you, baby.

I'm also with Delamare in recommending 30 Rock and Coupling, both of which are brilliant and hilarious.

It's just wrong that Arrested Development got cancelled after only what, three seasons?

My 13-YO recently discovered Frasier, and he's already asked for S1 DVDs for Christmas.

Kath Lockett said...

Yeah, I should have included the Simpsons, it's just that I'm sick to death of them.

BS - I have a photo of me standing on the stepping stones from Blakes 7 - pretty heady stuff.

Thanks Lidian and Peevie - don't be strangers now.

River said...

Shazzbutt indeed. I loved Mork and Mindy right up until they had that huge baby that hatched from an egg.
Frasier is still one of my favourites even though I sometimes want to slap Niles upside the head for being so picky.

Helen said...

Flight of the conchords isn't available here yet, but I was fortunate enough to get a few podcasts from someone who had watched it, and I got the DVDs while I was in the uk. I still giggle uncontrallably just before the start of "sello tape"

And I staretd watching Black Books during my last field trip. The whole first episode where she's trying to figure out what the big ball thing is had me in stitches!

The rest are mostly my favourites, although I've never got into Seinfeld, I think I was too young when it was on TV, I grew up watching Frasier with my family on monday nights though! and Friends with my brother. And they say that TV has lead to the breakdown of the family...

Baino said...

Dont you hate those people who say 'Oh I don't watch much television" then you get into a conversation about some show and it's clear they spend every waking moment in front of the box but are in 'cool' denial!

Very similar tastes too except for Survivor and until the last series I was a bit of a Big Brother fan (but only because it filled that getting tea ready half hour). Love all those shows and I'm a latecomer to Scrubs watching the whole of season 3 and 4 one wet weekend. It's fantastic but I can never remember the quotes they come so hard and fast. These days, I'm a bit of an SBS fan but they're not big o the comedy except for the excellent Six Feet Under. As for Spicks and Specks . . the ONLY show that will force me to sit on a couch for half an hour . .I wish it was longer. I used to love The Secret Life of Us as well but they canned it for some reason. Ah . .these days I think I spend more time in front of the puter than the telly! *nerd*

ashleigh said...

Oh dear oh dear...

Blackadder... a very common line amongst us techno-nerds at work, after dreaming up some marvellous idea: (said in appropriate voice) "I have a cunning plan, my lord!!"

And I see you have Dave Allen there. My God he was good!

Couldn't bear Seinfeld though. NOT FUNNY.

You can get Red Dwarf from your local video shop (we've re-watched every series about 3 times) and I think ABC2 or one of the 7 digital channels are also replaying it.

And Black Books... especially Manny - when he was in the piano :)

One can learn much from television (cough cough)

ashleigh said...

Aye - und Wallace & Grommit: Peter Sallis was / is spot on for Wallace. I first saw him years ago in some bizzare show called "Last of the Summer Wine", which I think is where Nick Park picked him up as well.

(Puts on Peter Sallis / Wallace voice): He spowke exuctly the saaame then ulso.

The chaps have watched those over and over...

Naomi said...

My teen boys have just recently been introduced to Black Adder - they love it - I get the "I have a cunning plan" quote ad nauseum from Master 16! They have also recently discovered Black Books too which they love!

JahTeh said...

I love Black Adder and damned if the ex didn't take the whole series with him when he nicked off. I was faster hiding the Port in the ceiling.