Monday, 21 May 2007


Three phrases that make me want to vomit:-

1 From anyone who works in tv:
"This is a very important piece"

Piece. PIECE?! No, it's not a piece. It's a programme. A show. A series. A one-off. It's not a piece. That's something out of a jigsaw. The word is usually bandied about for dull documentaries about worthy things, or those po-faced docudramas that "shed new light" on something Current or Bad, like Iraq. I know it's nasty and horrible and Our Boys are doing and have done some nasty and horrible things. It's a war for Christ's sake, and we don't need someone off of Hollyoaks and that old one out of Heartbeat pretending to kick some poor innocent prisoner to tell us that.

2 From anyone who commissions comedy programmes
"The core problem is that the main character isn't sympathetic enough"

My reply would be "You know I think the core problem is you haven't a bloody clue". I say 'would' as if I actually said that I'd never get any comedy commissions and I need the work. I actually nod and say "hmmmm" as my mind flashes images of me stabbing the commissioning exec with a knitting needle. In their eye. Or maybe their ring "piece".

Name a sympathetic yet funny sitcom lead. Borderline psycho Basil Fawlty? Lazy, useless, child-strangling Homer Simpson? Worst boss ever David Brent? OK, I know, Homer loves his kids really, and Brent means well and is desperate to be liked, and Fawlty... er, um, well, has few redeeming features apart from his height. But sympathetic? No. They're not. They're monsters. And that's what makes them funny.

3 From any viewer
"British tv ads are the best in the world"

Just stop it right there. Our ads are the most stupidly complex, artsy-fartsy, "look how clever we are"-type "pieces" in the world. American ads are the best in the world - they have to be, they have the most highly evolved commercial tv market anywhere. By "best" I mean they do what it says on the tin - they ADVERTISE things. A fat shouting man in a cowboy hat called Chad will stand in front of his carpet warehouse covered in CHAD'S CARPETS signs and bellow "I'M CHAD AND I RUN CHAD'S CARPETS. IF YOU WANT A CARPET, CHAD'S YOUR MAN, AND CHAD'S CARPETS IS WHERE YOU FIND THE BEST CARPETS AT THE BEST PRICES, PERSONALLY GUARANTEED BY ME, CHAD, FROM CHAD'S CARPETS".

OK, so you won't go "oooh" at the arty waves turning into pretty horseys as some monovoiced thespian intones crap about tick following tock, but I guarantee you'll remember Chad and Chad's Carpets. And that's what adverts should be for, not to bolster the ego of some coked-addled stupidly-bequiffed ad exec.

And don't get me started on car ads, with endless swooping shots of the Ford Boobjob or Fiat Bumhole driving through mountains. All people care about is how much it costs and whether it's got a fancy start button or iPod connection. You're never going to drive your VW Arsecheek over the Alps. Ever. You're going to drive to Tesco and back. That's what it's for.

OK, rant over. Next time I'll talk about something nice. Promise


Joanne said...

Well TVI you had me nodding in agreement until you mentioned car ads - Have you seen the one for the car made of cake? How brilliant is that - you can go for a drive and have a snack at the same time. Not sure what car they're advertising though...oh hang on, maybe all ads really are wick after all...

Cheekos said...

nice piece...