Thursday, 27 November 2008

Christmas tv

We're coming up to the time of year when the telly suddenly becomes important. Not, to be frank, because the content is super brilliant, but because you're too stuffed to move, drunk at 3pm and at least staring at the box beats talking to some relative you can't stand.

And there is the small point of this country TOTALLY SHUTTING DOWN for the festive period. You have to watch the telly as everything else is shut. In London's zany Docklands where I live, most pubs shut at 4pm on Christmas Eve and don't reopen for days and days and days. Some even stay shut 'til after New Year.

I see the tourists in the hotel near where I live wandering around puzzled on Christmas Day - you can imagine, "come to London for Christmas, the British do it better than everyone else!"... and then they spend Xmas Day wandering around empty streets and wondering why they can't get a drink or buy a pie.

Anyhoo. Pluses and minuses of seasonal telly:-

This can tick both boxes - the My Family Xmas special (an hour of Zoe Thingy and Whojaflip Lindsay shouting in a 1970's sitcom stylee? No way) isn't circled in my festive Radio Times... on the other hand, The Royal Family coming back certainly is.

Usually the longer timeframe isn't a help for the sitcom - half an hour is perfect - but occasionally it works. The British public certainly thought so with Only Fools and Horses - my personal view was that it wasn't funny originally, had some bits that were quite funny in the middle, and then became too sentimental to be funny at the end.

Yes oh beloved American telly, I'm looking at you. As they can't say Christmas without offending someone, they say 'holidays', personified in the bizarre Coca-Cola ads with the jingle 'the holidays are coming'. Coca-Cola, of course, invented the modern image of Santa Claus yet can't say Christmas. Tsk.

As US TV basically shuts down over Xmas - people watch a parade on Xmas Day then football then... er, more football, and then go shopping or to the movies over the holidays, totally ignoring the box - their festive telly is usually, to be frank, shite. Even peerless Will and Grace, and Simpsons had crap Xmas episodes. Although South Park did excel with Mr Hanky The Christmas Poo. High-dilly-ho, neighbours!

It's not as if I want a festive Newsnight with Paxo dressed as Santa and the lady presenters as elves (now there's sexism for you) but the news disappears over Christmas, shunted around and cut in length. I don't like that. Although with things being so bleak it might be a plus point this year...

My sub-gnat attention span means I normally get twitchy after 20 minutes watching a movie, but at Xmas there's not much else to do, so I end up sitting through ENTIRE films without being drunk. I know people whine that because of DVD and Sky all the Xmas films are old, but I don't care. They're better than the new ones.

I've got a theory that repeats channel Dave must be shitting itself wirh excitement when Xmas approaches. They can go in the attic and get the boxes of tapes of Xmas episodes down for a few weeks, so the episodes of QI and Top Gear they show on a loop have only been on a few hundred times instead of the eighty-eleven gabillion times the standard ones have.

The best bit of Xmas telly for me is on this day. It usually all goes back to normal. Yay.

No comments: