Friday, 19 June 2009

Televisual Musings and Beyond... 12th - 19th June 2009

It’s been a busy old week this week with no time for feature writing and I don’t want to over do my usual lazy get out clause ‘What I Learned from Watching TV this Week’ so instead here are some musings, televisual and beyond, from the past week…

Be sure to hit up TV or not TV next week though for a Why Aren’t they More Famous? Special - featuring five very underrated, and very funny, actors/comedians who don’t get the recognition they deserve… But back to this week’s musings:

- I know it’s not cool to admit it but I like ‘8 out of 10 Cats’, there I said it…

“My name is Gareth, and I like ‘8 out of 10 Cats’… Hi, group”

The panel show returned to our screens this past week and as usual was very, very funny. Clarkson is always a great guest on any show and the two captains Jason Manford and Sean Lock are two exceptionally funny men (Lock in particular) but the real surprise was ‘Apprentice’ favourite James McQuillan who held his own with the comedians and actually contributed more and was funnier than the female comic whose name escapes me (she made that much of an impression!)

So here’s to something funny to finally watch on a Friday night after a few beers other than Jonathan Ross (who had another good line-up last week, with the exception of Sue Perkins obviously – Sue from Mel & Sue Wossy? Really? Who pulled out?) because I’m not ashamed to say it loud and proud – “I like 8 out of 10 Cats!”

- I tweeted it earlier this week, but why have I not been watching the U.S. ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’?

Two Baldwin brothers, Lou Diamond Phillips and Rod Blagojevich’s wife in the jungle - it sounds like the greatest B-Movie ever!

Why don’t we ever get a line-up like that!? We should be grateful though, when you see that our Trans-Atlantic brethren get Mylene Klass as a co-host it makes you appreciate just how great Ant & Dec are… Even if Dec is tapping Georgie Thompson – I still haven’t forgiven him for that…

- Seen as we’re going beyond this week, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about my football team (I mean that figuratively, I don’t own them) Sheffield Wednesday, who will not be having a corporate sponsor plastered across their shirts this coming season, but instead will be seen sporting the name and logo of a local children’s hospital and will donate profits from shirt sales to said hospital.

Now, not to get all self-righteous and preachy on you, but in a game that is increasingly becoming more and more about the money, for a club who are still in mountains of debt to give up a potentially lucrative sponsorship deal for charity - especially in the current financial climate - to me is a very classy move, and one that makes me even prouder to be a fan of the blue half of Sheffield…

…I just hope this good karma translates on to the pitch - bring on Barnsley on the opening day of the season!

- ‘House’ continues to be highly enjoyable in its fifth season – I still can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get into this brilliant show; but this week’s episode made me wonder if Olivia Wilde is consciously taking on bi-curious roles.

After playing man (and woman) eater Alex on ‘The O.C.’ her Dr. ‘Thirteen’ Hadley is also swinging both ways, could this have played into her recent ranking as number 1 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list? A cynical man would say yes, given that the world’s supposed sexiest woman Megan Fox has also admitted to playing for both sides – it’s lucky I’m not a cynical man then…

- ‘Rules of Engagement’, which I dedicated a feature to a while back, continues to be a highlight of the TV week for me. It’s not very original, it’s not controversial and it’s probably never going to win any awards but it’s just very, very funny.

Comedy these days has to be borderline offensive and controversy courting, so it’s very refreshing to see a classic formula sitcom delivering big belly laughs on a weekly basis – I can’t give enough credit to the three male cast members for their contribution to this show’s continued quality, Spade and Warburton especially, are the main source of most of the show’s best moments and its good to see these two comedy veterans in great form and seemingly enjoying every minute.

- This week I managed to get out to see ‘The Hangover’, a very funny film that has actually provided the inspiration for next week’s blog.

I cannot stress enough how great this film is, given those involved I had high expectations, and usually that only leads to disappointment, but like a Subway foot long meatball marinara, ‘The Hangover’ left me more than satisfied.

Out of the leading men, Bradley Cooper was probably the biggest star going into this and hopefully he should now have cemented his status as a popular comedy actor. Messrs Helms and Galifianakis though were relative unknowns, especially outside of the States, but if there is any justice in the world that should all change now and people the world over will get to appreciate the genius of these two men, Galifianakis especially.

Check him out on youtube or on Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die site if you need further proof of this man’s brilliance.

Back to ‘The Hangover’ though, and you seriously will not be disappointed, it’s fast, furious and fucking funny. No one will go in with higher expectations than I did and if I can come out still laughing to myself then surely anyone will.

This film has some great dialogue, nice bro-mance relationships, physical comedy, awesome sight gags (don’t leave before the credits), hilarious pop culture references, Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins, Heather Graham’s right breast and star-making performances from it’s three leading men – what more could you ask for!?

- After Murray, Dave (Arj Barker) continues to be the best thing on ‘Flight of the Conchords’ during this, at times, disappointing second season. His non-sequitars, utterly untrue stories and foul language are usually the source of some of the show’s heartiest laughs and he regularly steals the odd scenes he appears in.

This week’s episode also saw ‘SNL’s very funny and very sexy Kristen Wiig in a nice guest role – I have great hopes that Wiig’s brilliantly deadpan delivery will see her eventually taste the sort of press and success that has been achieved by fellow ‘SNL’ alumni Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Again, apologies for the rather disjointed nature of this week’s blog, normal service will be resumed next week though, so don’t miss the TV or not TV - Why Aren’t they More Famous? Special…


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