SOV Review: Geordie Finishing School For Girls

A short one this time.

The premise of this shit is simple. Take some arrogant posh cunts from the home counties, and mix them with some scummy cunts in Newcastle. The whole show sells itself on the concept of both exposing, and attempting to lessen the social inequality gap.  What it does, however, is make it far worse.

The last thing that this country needs is a media fuelled stereotype parade that is as disgustingly overblown as it is  openly discriminatory. So lets start on why this programme is just that. Well, a good place to begin would be the fact that the show is purposefully angled at making the “poor” folk looking better. This is for two reasons, both rather unsavoury. The first would be because “poor” is a bigger market. The are more viewing figures available in that market. The second is that they are statistically more likely to watch this shite anyway. As a “poor” person, this is depressing, but it’s the sad truth of the matter. My issue here is the editing to make the posh people look this way. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m ALL about the class warfare. But I’m also about the fair fight, and to be honest, when I to choose some people to figurehead my social movement, these clapped out teenage whores wouldn’t even figure in the ‘C’ team.

This is actually a serious issue for me. This whole show inadvertently insults me. You see, I’m a below poverty line bloke from the south. Holy shit, is there poverty in the south? You’re damn fucking right there is. I have the old sob story, namely 6 people living in a two bedroom council flat above an Indian takeaway when I was at school. Oh yeah, that beats your suburban two bed terrace in Newcastle. I moved up north for a better way of life, and no, that isn’t a joke. I got one too. So yeah, this representation of folk “from down south” offends me and everything that I, my family and my friends have ever worked hard to achieve. And yes, when I lived up north, I suffered this sort if discrimination (from some very well off northeners. If you have more than one car, or if you own your own home, like many of them do, you’re officially middle class, no matter how much brown ale you drink or how much arse cellulite you flash on Saturday night).

The double whammy comes, however, when you see the “typical Geordie lasses”. Are they fuck? They are skanky brainless, disease ridden whores, like you get north, middle and south, the ones that are harder to get rid of than Aids (and slightly less pleasant to have). These girls do NOT represent the north, or anyone really. They represent stupidity, worthlessness, and terrible upbringing, and you can be born with a whole silver cutlery drawer in your mouth and still end up this useless. This is not the social divide, this is awful television.

The northern girls go on about having no choice and how fate worked against them, and I could (but won’t) stand here a reel off examples that contradict what they are saying. It takes a special kind of talent to make the posh girls be the ones that you are rooting for, and maybe that’s the complete point. I don’t, however see why this would be the case? Why would anyone want to feel for the posh girls? They don’t need it! Like any reality tv show, these people appearing have been vetted by professionals, which means that only the brain damaged and the inbred have made it through to actual screening, thus making this officially the most useless piece of visual garbage since Lady Gaga’s fucking face.

Anyway, don’t watch this. It is insulting to real people, on both sides of the divide, and does nothing to fix it for us, or raise awareness of it for them. Fuck this show, fuck it until it dies crying.

There May be Hope-O-Vision

It’s been, well, months since my last post, and I’m feeling somewhat more positive. That, and the fact I finally now have a job, means I haven’t had much time to expose myself to bad television, which in turn I could slate for your entertainment. The actual story goes like this…

I watched one of the first episodes of OMG! With Peaches Geldof, a show doomed from it’s very title, and was enjoying  the mental exercise of creating eloquent yet scathing comments about it. I mean, title and main celebrity aside, this shows premise, which was to dig out unconventional people from different walks of life, then mock them, could have a book written on it in itself, and never mind the clichés that accompany it (yes, there is a flamboyantly gay guy in a minor role). So I’m sitting there, already penning my suicide-o-vision episode two, when a friend of mine appears on the screen. As a guest.  Now, since then, I’ve read reviews on the show, and people have been very kind to her. After all, the guests aren’t what make the show bad, just everything else. However, I felt a bit worried about slating a show that someone I knew had featured in. I spoke to my friend over a social networking site (the only interaction any good recluse needs in this day and age), and this is what her comments were on the situation:

Me: So I sit down to write my latest review on “what’s terrible in television” and you pop up on the show… talk about dilemma :p stop making my job harder XD

Her: Hahaha sorry!! The show itself I agree is terrible, but I’ve had many thank you’s from the fetish scene for sticking up for the blood fetish and not disease ridden! So I got across what I wanted ^^

Me: It should be a platform to discuss subversive cultures and lifestyles. It’s a missed opportunity, although not surprising considering it’s being done by ITV by way of Peaches Geldof

Her: Exactly the show had so much potential, yet it went back to a closed minded girl who just thought it was fun to point at things she finds weird. Ahh well some people saw what was trying to be said at least, while others will merely view it as a freak show, but so goes tv!

Me: Yeah. I write a couple of articles that are supposed to highlight the lowest common denominator in contemporary television-shows that have no redeeming feature. I feel bad now, see as how the contestants actually looked like they wanted to get an honest message across. Still gonna write the article though, if nothing else knowing someone who made the effort has fuelled my distaste for it

Her: For some reason tv under estimates the human thirst for knowledge and now just throw out shock horror stuff. Even if someone is trying to get an intelligent point across that others want to hear, they still presume all people want to see is the freaks. Though because of this now we have the fun generation who are closed minded and thinks it ok to point and laugh. I think myself and others who have appeared on the show have at least swayed a few people to open there minds! Which is worth it in the end 🙂

Needless to say, I never wrote the article in the end. I couldn’t do it, and that really took the inertia out of the whole SOV idea. Maybe it’s because the show was so bad, it became an easy target, but I think more that in damning the show, I could very well be belittling any good that DID come from it. That isn’t the case with my pilot, Holly’s World, but it definitely could with this. So I never wrote it. In fact, it’s my friends birthday today, and I’d like to wish her a happy birthday!

Anyway, moving on, I didn’t write anything, and then didn’t have time nor energy to watch anything new. I don’t know if there even is anything new. X Factor/People Got Talent/Dancing on Ice/Stars/Broken Glass have all been done before, and there is little to nothing of any kind of interest there. I did however get the back catalogue of a particular series, and while I may be late to the party, it’s one hell of a party.

Mad Men is an American high budget drama, that chronicles the lives of advertising executives in New York. It is set in the early 60’s, and straight off the bat, looks fucking incredible. The swearing is most definitely necessary, this is the shit.  Everything seems perfect, down to the smallest detail. Remember, these were the post war years of fortune and style, and the film reeks of both.

The two main characters that you are introduced to in the first episode,  Don Draper and Peggy Olson, are a creative director and a secretary respectively. They are introduced differently, with Don being an established man in the company, to whom many of the other employees look up to, while it is Peggy’s first day, and she is being shown around the building. This is one of the finest ways to introduce a show that I have seen ever in television, and it sets the tone perfectly.

I can’t express how well these characters are both written and performed. No one in the building has a clear motive, no one acts quite how you’d expect. I’m holding a hell of a load of details and characters back here, purely because I can’t tell you about them. You NEED to see this show, and discover them for yourselves, make judgements on them, and to try and guess where this story is going.

The defining characteristic about Mad Men is the fact that it’s not only set in the sixties superficially: the attitudes of the characters are heavily representative of the era, a huge risk considering that it’s made and broadcast in overly conservative America. You are plunged into the deep end in this show, with the first episode being about a smoking advertising campaign, and damn, smoking is everywhere. Nearly every person smokes, indoors, in bed, everywhere. Everyone is a smoker, and it’s rubbed unapologetically in our faces. Similarly appropriate themes include unapologetic sexism, casual racism, and pure, unadulterated chauvinism. Unadulterated is an ironic term considering every man in this show seems to have a mistress on the side. Oh, apart from the hilarious homosexual man, not socially allowed in this time to be open about his sexuality, and so is prone to over emphasising his “straightness”.

The humour is sharp, and intelligent, and the dialogue is fantastic, although it is helped by the spot-on delivery, that can only be achieved by a fantastic cast of great actors. Yes, this may well be one of my favourite shows of all time.

Where Mad Men really wins though, is in it’s portrayal of itself. Yes everything is glamorised, but many of the more controversial aspects of the show, sit uncomfortably in comparison to the world of today. You want to be there, living the New York life in the good times, but the social attitudes are unnerving, and slightly scary. It makes you thankful of the various  social rights movements that have happened since, and how the world has changed for the better. In fact, for the fools who moan about how “political correctness has gone mad” , this show contains a fantastic record of how the world may have been, had a little madness not ensued from time to time.

I watch this show, and I want to drive a big car. I go to work in a suit, but it makes me want to brylcream my hair back, drink Whiskey Sour’s before every meal, and go to a burlesque show for a stag do, where the women have curves, and look a damn sight sexier for it.  This was a day and age where people cared about their appearance, both physically, and out of common courtesy. Simply, this is one hell of a good looking show.

The storyline is equally as engaging, but I won’t describe one line of it. Go and see this show. While I’ve been writing, I’ve found out that this show has won 13 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes. If, like me, you never caught it, GO NOW!

SoV Review: Holly’s World

Suicide-O-Vision.

My new section that reviews current television shows. If I actually rated things, these shows would automatically get 2/10. The reason they get 2 is that they caught my attention in the first place, which is an achievement that “The Only Way Is Essex” failed.

Holly’s World.

Trying to forge a successful reality television show should be easy right? Especially when you are a hot blonde who has already found success on a reality television show, surely? Apparently not, as Holly’s World shows us, with alarming mediocrity. Moving on from the perplexingly popular Girls of the Playboy Mansion, or Girls Next Door if you are American, Holly’s World focuses on the newly single Holly Madison, as she moves to Las Vegas, runs a strip show (Vegas strip, not nudity strip.. although it’s that too), and generally lives in the sort of privileged world that makes the hard working average schmuck feel either sick, or unappreciative of all that they themselves have earned and achieved.

At first you have to wonder why this show got picked up in the first place. Kendra, the first of the Playboy reality show spin offs, received a lukewarm reaction at best, and she had a sports star AND a newborn baby in her show. If Kendra, the irritatingly brattish ex-girlfriend, who appealed to the mindless teenage masses who actually watch this sort of mush, didn’t really succeed, why would Holly “everyone’s mums favourite” Madison fare any better?

I’m being slightly unfair here. Holly Madison seems to be a relatively pleasant (if not catty) girl, and is a decent enough personality to pull off a television show. Unfortunately, and misleadingly though, the show doesn’t actually feature Holly as a primary character. It instead follows her “friends”, a brown haired boring one called Laura, a blonde 21 year old single mother called Angel (pass the sick bag), and a gay guy so cliché and forgettable, I don’t remember his name. Let’s call him Fred.

The show appears to be about them being friends with Holly, which is obviously quite an achievement, especially seeing how unimpressed Holly seems to be all the time. Maybe it’s the curse of being stalked by cameras all the time, even in your private life, that’s made Holly Madison emotionally age 40 years ahead of her time. Maybe it’s the constant media speculation about her “will they, won’t they” love story with Hugh Hefner, who allegedly didn’t want to marry again. Although the fact he’s now married another woman must have added 10 years in itself. Maybe Holly is just really grumpy, and unhappy with having a television show, Las Vegas stage show, millions of dollars, men falling at her feet, and a business set up on her likeness, all of this because she’s famous for her achievement of being “one of Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriends”. It’s enough to get anyone down, isn’t it?

Anyway, she’s far too busy working to make more appearances, and if there’s one thing I can’t take away from her, it’s the fact that she does work hard. This is why we’re primarily left watching her dolt friends. All three of them are extremely pretty, because there are no ugly people in Holly’s World (see what I did there?), and they all seem to be unemployed, or at least earning obscene amounts of money while having a lot of free time on their hands. It’s scary to watch these unknown people driving flash cars, and staying in posh hotels, when they aren’t even famous. It sets unreasonably high expectations for children to see famous people living with this sort of treatment, but when a girl called Angel is driving a swish car at 21, without any discernable talent, you really have to wonder exactly why the luck rolled her way.

Oh, but don’t let all of this money and looks fool you though. Each of these characters has their own unique problem that haunts and challenges them every day.

(If you have sarcasm detecting smoke alarms, now might be a good time to turn them off).

Laura has to live in world where people unfairly don’t match her standards, and where rich men aren’t attractive enough, and attractive men just aren’t rich enough. Angel is a young mother, having given birth at the unimaginable age of 20 (who’d have thought it biologically possible?!), and flamboyant Fred is a young gay man, who in this series faces the difficult task of coming out to his parents… and, naturally, he chooses to do so on camera.  Make no mistake though, these characters are not two-dimensional. They face other problems as well, such as throwing Holly a housewarming party (which ends up like something out of a Lewis Carroll nightmare). Such a seemingly innocent and fun event ends up disastrous when Fred is seen to be hogging the limelight. Cue drama and conflict.

I refer to these people as characters, purely because I can’t grasp the concept that these are real people. Like the subject matter, the production of Holly’s World is incredibly fake and glossed, which makes it hard to comprehend them being actual events that actually happened. Were these actually characters in a show, I feel my response would slightly amused at best, but it would more likely to be depressed at the whole concept. The fact that this is real, and those people exist, is actually slightly devastating to me. One episode, where the achingly beautiful Angel actually ends up in tears, over Holly buying her a “boob job” for her 21st birthday, is as surreal as it is insulting. Apparently this girl, who can’t have been large chested to begin with, has had her confidence crushed by body changes incurred by her pregnancy. It turns out that her boobs that have dropped, slightly less than shares in fresh water at the Sahara Desert Stock Exchange, and now she feels unattractive and unfit as a person. This act of charity by Holly (that is, buying her the opportunity to be cut open by a surgeon for a couple of hours), is exactly what it takes to improve this situation. Without even starting to think about the negative influence that this is likely to cause to the idiots who enjoy this show, no effort is even made by Holly (who to be fair, doesn’t look like she gives a shit about anything anymore) to actually discuss or go through Angel’s problems, of which I’m sure there are many.

Obviously this may be the fault or intention of the editor. It’s entirely possible that the conversation actually happened between the two, where Holly turned around, and pointed out that the reason Angel didn’t attract many men was the fact that she was too busy working and looking after her child to meet any. Or that having a child can be intimidating to some men. Or that her high expectations and conceited attitude towards non good looking and rich men, may somewhat limit her options (there aren’t many, just ask Laura). Or even, just maybe, the fact that she lives and spends her time with a paparazzi stalked star, a former playboy model, an attention grabbing token gay friend and an entire film crew may limit her accessibility. I’m sure that conversation wouldn’t have made good television though.

Girls of the Playboy Mansion was actually fairly entertaining, as it offered insights into an infamous house and lifestyle. Hugh Hefner would have never been able to launch a reality television show about himself, and probably would have had no interest to. The large population of conservative Americans would probably have found issue with it anyway. The Girls of the Playboy Mansion, however, appealed to the voyeur in many people, gave the girlfriends an independent output, and managed to do well because of the mixture of girls themselves. You had Bridget, the intellectual-common-sense-lacking-one, Holly, the rather-unhappy-with-the-whole-situation-one, and Kendra, the blatant-gold-digging-one. This is why the show discontinued just one season after the girls left the house. Not because people adored the first three so much, but because the lack of conflict between the boring-as-fuck twins and the other one, all of whom seemed to speak in monotone, as though talking with emotion required some high brain function that they do not possess, was not fascinating, nor addictive watching, which the first household had been.

The pilot for a show focusing on the playmate house didn’t get picked up, which is a slight shame, as network television soft porn seems to be stuck in the 90’s, and another that featured happy go lucky Bridget didn’t amount to anything either. This is apparently because Bridget wasn’t as popular as the other two, despite being infinitely more interesting. The fact that these didn’t make it should only be seen as a good thing as the eye gougingly awful spin offs that already exist have proven. And the future of Holly’s World? There’s currently another season in production, and I don’t think that it will end there. It will be flogged until all that’s left of the dead horse is bones, which can in turn be sold off as souvenirs.

Oh, and if anyone mentioned actually reads this, and feels like I’m unfairly berating them, blame the editing crew, or, even better, don’t make shitty reality television shows about yourselves.