Friday, 10 October 2008

Comedy, gays and a QIHBAFSR. Ahem.

Well I watched esipode 2 of Beautiful People last night and laughed quite a lot. Any show with a musical montage from Annie, Joseph and, er, another one (musicals aren't my area of expertise) has to be good.

Some sparky one-liners and a general positive-funny-happy feeling made it a pleasant half-hour. A typical British show about a camp kid and his even camper friend singing 'I'm A Barbie Girl' together in a school talent contest would've been full of bullying, homophobia and - even in a comedy - some bleakness. This was just, well, faaaabulous.

Great performances by the young actors again too. OK, I didn't howl at a great setup or roll around to a witty rejoinder (but did laugh loudly at someone mentioning Terry Waite and mum saying "that reminds me, I need to bleed that radiator" - look it up, oh young readers) but for a British gayish BBCish sitcom it was a smashing way to spend 28 minutes.

I still think it'd have been funnier set back in the sixties, and the plot was unconvincing in the extreme ("here's how I broke my nose"... fifteen minutes in, a nose injury... end of show: "actually, I didn't break it properly then, this is how it happened".. clip of nearer present day). I forgive them that as they were spoofing Lorraine Kelly at the time. Extra gay points all round.

Followed by Dame Graham Norton on Beeb2, and we also have E4 currently screening their only good show for a decade Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In The World, in the words of The Flintstones theme music, "we'll have a gay ol' time!". TV is in a very slightly gayer-than-usual phases. I should mention the preceding show Buzzcocks with Simon Amstell and a very bemused Stephen Fry keeping the homo banner aloft for a full ninety BBC2 minutes. But I won't, as despite Messrs Fry and Amstell being funny guys, a quiz about music that's been running for 19 series makes me yawn.

Anyhoo, I do love Rick and Steve, it's offensive to everyone everywhere, be they gay, lesbian, dying of Aids in a wheelchair, addicted to drugs or, in the occasional minor character, straight. When the young guy who goes out with Aids Crippled Man (hey, it's how he describes himself - don't blame me) travels from the gay area (all rainbow flags, happy shoppers, gyms and flower shops) to the straight area (totally grey with shops marked "LIQUIDS" or "SOLIDS") it really made me giggle.

On the other hand it's six episodes in entirety and that'll probably be enough.

I know I said I'd watch that ITV2 thing with crap superheroes in it but I haven't managed to yet. Apparently there was A Special Effect in last night's episode. I will try, oh blogosphere, I will.

And to finish: Questions I Have Been Asked For Some Reason.

Q(IHBAFSR) 9th October 2008: "Is the current economic crisis affecting TV now?"

A: "Yes, sort of."
I won't leave it there - commissioners are looking to the future and what money that can spend, and cutting back. Lots have fixed budgets from a while back, and a level of discretionary spend for anything they really rate. I suspect their bosses will tell them they can't have that extra money from now on.

Things will bite for the commercial networks when the decline in ad income (5% for C4, up to 20% for ITV1, somewhere inbetween for most channels) hits their revenues over the next year or so.

As ever, if you're a top boutique supplier in any genre (ie Aardman in animation), a big company spread across all area (Endemol, All3Media), or a fleet-of-foot small company with a low cost base, you're less likely to suffer than the mid-market, mid-sized companies. In telly that means anyone with a receptionist I s'pose...

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