All 10 entries tagged Television
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March 01, 2006
Every young girl with access to daytime television* has at one point in her tender years aspired to be the Medicine Woman herself. Doctor Mike is such a positive role model for the ladies, isn't she? Look at her with her gutsy ways and Strong Moral Fiber (yes, yes, I am allowing the Americanism here, seeing as it's Dr Quinn) triumphing in a gloriously politically correct manner over all adversity, rewriting history itself. What a woman.
However, I am a little troubled that her morally enriching adventures appear to be consigned now to sporadic appearances on regional television and the occasional feature length dramas on Channel Five, condemning today's youth to a Medicine Woman free zone. What hope have they of finding another such role model in our callous, ceramically straightened hair'd 21st century society? So I have provided here a fully comprehensive guide to living the Doctor Mike way of life, for the sake of the children.
- Be a woman. This helps a lot. If your gender happens to be against you on this one, find another reason why you can feel oppressed and victimized, e.g. your race, your political views, your irrational love of the colour yellow (which is, apparently, the colour of oppression, as well as coming in some nasty shades) etc. etc. Whatever you like. What's important is you have an angle. You'll need it for the impassioned speeches (see no.9).
- As a woman, exercise your right to go completely alone into an extremely male dominated chauvinistic environment, where the men don't get much female company. Think of it as the 19th century version of a woman on her own in a very very sleazy club. However, fear not, because solely based on your truly exemplary moral and freethinking ideals you will not get hassled/raped/otherwise bothered, and you will, of course, end up being a pillar of the community.
- Find some orphan children to adopt, preferably outcasts from society. It doesn't matter how ugly/stupid they are, under your benign and liberal care they will flourish and grow up to become fine upstanding young men and women. However it is important to note that only the girls may become doctors. If you're a male Quinnette, you can only become a decent farmer or journalist.
- Fake hair is good. Especially if it has lots of curls. Men with fake flowing perms are also good, especially if they have a leather jacket with tassels on to go with it. Mmm, sexy. The exception to this is no.8.
- Wear more make-up than anybody else, even the town whore. If at all possible, it should also be a style of make-up that is completely anachronistic. Yes, waterproof mascara is available to you out on the prairie in the 19th century, because, well, you're already defying so many aspects of history that a few more can't really hurt, as long as they make you look good.
- As far as clothing goes, this should stay true to the period, apart from the fact that you have a wardrobe that has an entire claim shanty to itself. I know you're bringing up three orphan children, saving the Indians and running a surgery on very little money, but it is important that you have a different dress every day. These clothes will only get torn and dirty if you are in the pursuit of the Greater Good.
- Pivotal moments in your life should come in slow motion, preferably with some heart rending orchestral music. These bits are easy to spot because there will probably be a deathbed nearby, or you will have just rushed in gasping 'what is it?' or there will be a small child, or in fact all three of the above.
- Beware of men with Fake Handlebar Moustaches. The FHM is a symbol of Conservatism and Oppression and Bad Things. Men who have FHM must be conquered by the Impassioned Speech (see no.9).
- The Impassioned Speech. This is one of the most important parts of the Doctor Quinn Way of Life. Obviously, the aim of the speech will change every time it is used, but the most important point to get across is that you are Morally Correct In Every 20th Century Way, and everyone must bow to your anachronistic views and fashion sense, despite living in an entirely different period of history. For the longer speeches, pointing out that you are a woman also helps. And looking earnest is very important, especially in your close-ups.
- Finally, the Tear In Eye is the jewel in the Doctor Quinn crown, especially if your eyes are two different colours. This means that not only can you vary the level of moisture depending on the nature of the situation, but you can also introduce variety in the colour symbolism. For example, if you find out you are pregnant, it might be a misty green-eyed moment, symbolising the joy and springtime renewal of life, but small innocent child dying of disease is definitely a compassionate blue eye swimming with tears sort of occasion. (Some completely anachronistic contact lenses are of course available to you if you need some help with this one.)
*As well as some of the boys, but they probably won't admit to it.
February 27, 2006
Today was one of those days when I woke up, lay around in bed for a while and then decided that my sheets really needed washing. I would like to point out this was not because they were actually incredibly dirty, or that I'd just got jam and coffee all over them, but because somehow, in the last ten minutes, they'd just crept over that boundary of being fresh and crisp and a little bit bouncy to being, well, just a bit dull and apathetic about life. You know how sheets can be.
Unfortunately, what I didn't know at this point was that today was also the day our boiler had been seized with a fit of dullness and apathy, and had decided, in its infinite wisdom, to go on strike. So there was no hot water, and more importantly for our heroes the sheets no nice hot radiators for them to bask on whilst drying out.
Which does explain why I ended up in our conservatory/living room/shack-tacked-on-back-of-house this evening wearing a ratty cardigan and three skirts and standing on a chair with a damp double duvet cover and a hair dryer.
However, thanks to the BBC and Stephen Poliakoff I managed to cover the event in some false glamour by imagining some nice winsome music and lush scenery in the background. The sheets weren't flopping, they were billowing, probably complementing my ruddy gipsy appearance in this world of order. Oh, and I was actually the young frowny-but-pretty assistant to some aging millionaire with bizarre and innocent whims, and that everything was going to end very contentedly in some big function where everyone feels heartglad to have each other despite the fact that their relationships have fallen through/their family disintegrated/they slept with their sister. There's something very comforting about Poliakoff dramas*, even when you have a fully functioning boiler. You know you're definitely guaranteed a lavish party or three, and probably a nice stylish mushy moment sandwiched somewhere between the fireworks and slow orchestral panning over the landscape. It's like the televisual equivalent of champagne – luxurious, indulgent and you know exactly what you're getting, even if the flute it comes in is a slightly different shape every time.
Thank goodness for Poliakoff, I say. Without him, at this point I'd probably still be mooching round the house staring moodily at my damp sheets and kicking holes in the boiler, and we all know what happened last time it was allowed to get to that point.
*Especially Friends and Crocodiles in which Damien Lewis just keeps saying my name over and over again in fond tones, although that is completely irrelevant, of course. Of course.
February 16, 2006
I thought it was an isolated incident at first, truly I did. You see, it seemed so harmless. All I did was press one teeny tiny little button. A teeny tiny oh-so-miniscule button. What's the harm in that? you say. And I shake my head from the sofa, and reply with sssh, keep it down. I'm watching the Channel Five Afternoon Movie.
Yes. You did hear that right. For all those unfamiliar with the glory of daytime television, Channel Five, or '5ive' (correctly pronounced 'fiveive') as they prefer to be known, as obviously they are cool and hip and in tune with the youth of today and therefore obviously not at all a waste of bandwidth at all, every afternoon put on two films for your viewing pleasure.
They're not the sort of films you're likely to have seen at the cinema. They're not the sort of films you're likely to have read reviews of in some esoteric magazine but never got round to seeing because they were only shown once, at midnight, in an art house cinema in an attic the other side of Liverpool. They're not even the sort of films you may have picked up in a Woolworths bargain bucket for 50p marked 'straight to video.' Oh no, these are a whole new beast. These are the American 'made-for-tv' movies. Which, I suppose, is exactly what you come up with when you invent a zillion cable channels and need something to fill them. One day, when the viewing public finally becomes tired of seeing fifty Friends and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps episodes a day, I predict Channel 4 and the BBC will end up with exactly the same concept. But with fewer white picket fences and 'wise woman' parts for Whoopi Goldberg.
So yes, anyway, it was entering the post-lunch-Neighbours period, and I felt nothing more than a fleeting, idle curiosity to see what else was on. So, ever ever so whimsically, I gaily flipped the remote. Little did I know what I had let myself in for. I was confronted with a small orphan boy riding his bicycle between the white picket fences, quickly replaced with a car smash where a tousled, bloody and yet beautiful woman was being hauled tenderly from the wreckage by David Hasselhoff in a fireman's helmet and his trusty pet dalmation. Cute orphan children, David Hasselhoff, and a faithful dalmatian? How could I resist?
This turned out to be the masterpiece known as One True Love. Somehow, despite the advert breaks for hearing aids, post 50s insurance and denture sterilising equipment, I remained on that sofa until the beautiful woman, not longer bloodied but still in her wedding dress (from the wedding she ran out of to be with David Hasselhoff) had ended up with her Baywatch fire fighter, driving off in his T-bird with dalmatian and cute orphan kid sitting in the the back.
And I thought that would be the end of that. But today, all that changed. I arrived home to find a housemate, who shall remain nameless, engrossed in a touching tale of a man who fell down a sinkhole during mardi gras and was being chased through a cave by wet cement whilst his girlfriend ran about anxiously and yet attractively trying to save him.
It appears the addiction is catching. But even worse, I have started to apply the Rules Of The C5AM to my own life. For example, the small cute girl in the pink dress who almost ran into me in the Arts Centre today I expected to have a young, widowed and incredibly sexy father (who would of course have a great classic car) instead of a normal jeans and oversized jumper mother. I laboured under the delusion that the spring wind was sweeping my hair into an attractive tousled look rather than the usual haystack. And when I fell backwards going down the bus steps today (I know I'm clumsy, but in my defence,I hadn't eaten for seven hours and the driver did brake rather sharply) instead of collapsing back in an undignified manner and smiling shamefacedly at the old lady looking up at me from the lower deck in concern, I was supposed to have been caught by a muscle-bound firefighter or similar, who would have miraculously appeared behind me, and would, of course have proposed within a fortnight.
I think the C5AM may have ruined my life. If I start beginning sentences with 'when I was nothing but the littlest of little girls,' or 'I had the most beautiful dream last night…' or even 'I'm sorry [insert name here] but I just can't marry you. Don't ask me to explain… I just can't' then please, please, put me out of my misery.
Just don't let it get to the stage where I start thinking rainstorms are romantic, I'm begging you.
January 06, 2006
If I was still at home about now I would have been enlisted in the grand debacle of the Taking Down Of The Decorations, with all the traditional little ceremonies of Not That Box, You're Packing Them All Wrong, Who Ate The Last Tree Chocolate? and Somebody Take The Lametta Away From The Cat, Now, Please, Before She Chews It Up And Dies.
However, I am not, due to the university's bizarre notion of what actually constitutes a 'week,' so this ritual will have to take place in my absence. The cat must take her chances with the lametta alone, and I must return to speedwriting essays, staying up far too late for no good reason, and also, more importantly, bring an end to Tales Of Festivity. Alack.
So I thought that as a lovely way to sum up my Festivities, and also provide both my conscience and my reading not-that-public with the illusion that I really blogged more than I did this holiday, I would do an edited highlights list. Sort of like Davina does for the crap Big Brother contestant of the week, but there's less nudity, less swearing and less sex in this one. The U version, if you like, though some bits of this may be disturbing for children under eight or those of a highly sensitive nature so we better make it a PG, just to be sure.
Further Tales of Festivity
- Drove the M6 and didn't die.
- Converted everybody I'd ever met and everybody my friends had ever met to the joy and wonder of putting cream cheese in a mince pie.
- Made 1243057272435782059 of said mince pies, and didn't poison anybody.
- Didn't, in the week I was on my own, either (a) perish from loneliness, or (b) develop an imaginary stalker who was almost definitely watching me from a secret peephole in the inexplicable hole in my ceiling. (I'm not imagining the hole. The hole is most definitely there, and it is, most definitely, inexplicable.)
- Got given purple wellies. And fingerless gloves. And an Austenesque hat. Now I can wander over campus in the most extreme climes looking like 'a high-class tramp,' as one of my illustrious acquaintances has it.
- Didn't let the guilt of having done no constructive work get in the way of Christmas.
- Danced with my grandmother. It was fantastic.
- Homemade sushi!
- Drove the M6 again and didn't die.
- Avoided Christmas television entirely. Apart from Doctor Who, which doesn't count because it would obviously have been great any day of the year and was obviously completely arbitrarily assigned to Christmas day, obviously. I may also have seen the end of Mary Poppins with all the kites and singing and all that jazz, and about ten minutes of Liz Taylor being Cleopatra in lots of gold chinky chains but that was only because I was waiting for Neighbours to start.
- Haven't bought a single unnecessary bargain sale item. Yet.
- Got paid, which made the huge bellowing monster that is my overdraft into a slightly smaller bellowing monster who is almost kind of cute.
- Walked on the beach New Year's Day, because it was such a beautiful blue-sky day, it was that or be hungover, and it's been too long since the two of us last did that.
- Watched an entire costume drama serial (Bleak House) without knowing what was going to happen, and my goodness, it was tense.
- Did a snow dance. It didn't work. I maintain it would have worked if it had been done on the beach. Or maybe we did a rain dance by accident instead, which would explain a lot.
So there you have the highlights of the Tales, each of which is probably a tale in its own right. And I've also managed to think up a fairly plausible reason for there being fifteen, in that I was at home for fifteen days in total. You see, there was a plan. And if I had more time and fewer essays, I'd probably have expanded on a few of them. But rest assured, they would have been fairly dull in their complete niceness.
Though not as dull as my half written essay. Hmmm. The somewhat sickly smell of procrastination is in the air once again.
November 16, 2005
Or possibly my good twin, depending on what you think of me and how much chocolate I've had in a particular day. Squinting at you funnily probably doesn't count as pure evilness, as I seem to do that a lot, even to those I adore. It usually means I'm away with the fairies thinking about something wonderful like my dinner, and haven't recognised you until there's no time to do anything else than grimace in a wicked stepmother kind of way. Hmm, I wonder if there's some sort of facial exercises I can do for a pleasanter disposition to the world at large? Or maybe some sort of smile/forehead brace arrangement?
Anyway… getting back to the actual title of this, if this was Ricki Lake, or Sally Jessy, or even Ms Trisha 'ooh I'm so successful and self-righteous they gave me a surname' Goddard, this title would be in bright yellow italics with some sort of exclamation running along the bottom of the screen, and I would be squirming round on one of those red conference centre chairs, crossing and recrossing my legs, with ridiculously bad hair and pancake make-up courtesy of the studio make-up team, and telling my story by nodding meekly at Sally/Trisha/Ricki whilst they went through the most salient points, and the studio audience thought of some extremely helpful advice for me. They would then announce a A SURPRISE GUEST! and I would of course be completely amazed at the arrival of my very own evil twin. Fancy that. And then it would all degenerate into a slanging match, and there would be tears, and stormings out, and then the eminent pop psychologist would swoop in to save the day, as positive proof that it was actually possible to get good hair and make up from the studio team. And there would be applause. Lots of applause.
But seeing as my hair is behaving itself tonight, I have no make up on, my chair is a rather fetching green swivel with the stuffing popping out, and there is no bossy woman shoving a mic in my face, I shall leave my title unadorned. Also, perhaps more importantly, the problem is that I don't know the identity of my evil twin so there would, alas, be no surprise guest.
All I know is she exists on campus, and on several occasions now has been mistaken for me. This is even more worrying in that today my housemate, who has seen me from all profiles in all weathers (including the almost unrecognisable early morning hair-stuck-to-face look), believed my mysterious doppelganger to be me, in the broad neon of the library.
Apparently, she even dresses like me. Which may even be an insult in itself. I'm not sure about that one yet. Anyway, she is definitely about, prowling campus, seeking to exploit my... erm... obvious... campus-based privileges, like, erm... my spot in the Arts Centre. Obviously.
So yes, if you know her, or you think you know me but you're a tad suspicious, then confront her. She needs to be told that this sort of thing is simply not on. After all, I'm an individual, don'tcha know?
(I know I've pretty much proved that this isn't a crappy talk show, but could I have some applause anyway? Just a teeny tiny whoop? It is Christmas soon, after all…)
November 11, 2005
I must be the only person whose housemates actually dance to the QI theme tune.
It all becomes clear. This is why I live with them.
September 11, 2005
It would make a good afternoon Channel 5 film, wouldn't it? The mother bent on home improvement, striding through the house in her fetching oversized check shirts and cutesy patterned headscarves, is revealed, almost too late, to have ulterior motives under her seemingly innocent desire for a 'fresh' look to her bathroom. But it's okay, because it then turns out she's got some very rare (and yet very widespread in the land of the made-for-TV movie) disease, such as Munchausens by proxy, and there's a tearful reunion, and a vow of love and forgiveness, and a fresh start. And then the credits would roll over a couple of adverts for dentures.
However, as the longsuffering daughter, I would also have to have a med school application and an understanding and earnestly attractive boyfriend. We would also have to live in affluent American suburbia. So there's no need to fear for my safety just yet. I must just trust that my mother's sanding and painting frenzy is all in the name of New Shiny Bathrooms. Also, in her headgear she looks more comedy peasant housewife than all American wholesome. I keep expecting her to come out with a dodgy Russian accent, or try and fix me up with a local farmer who owns almost a whole cow.
And trust me, when I say shiny, I mean shiny. If you get too overexcited with the new touch-sensitive dimmer halogen lights, you need sunglasses to even so much as look at that bath. And then there's all the dust floating around, reflecting the enamel glory of it all. Brushing your teeth feels a bit like stepping into 2001: A Space Odyssey (the crazy flashy lights space trip bit – not so much the apes chucking stuff around, or the psycho computer). What more could one ask for from a bathroom?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to stuff a chicken for dinner. I just hope Peasant Mother hasn't seen fit to invite the cow farmer.
August 09, 2005
So life is not treating you well. You have lost your way. You are miserable and ill and just can't see the point of it all. But here, my friend, there is hope. Here, you too can find a meaning in life, to bring you hope and joy and flowers and things and skippyedeee skipping through sunshine. Or something.
Yes, all this can be yours if you vow to live the Neighbours Way and follow these simple rules.
- Move. It is imperative you begin your new way of life living on the same street as all your close friends, your lover(s), your colleagues, your doctor, your lawyer, your teacher, your friendly neighbourhood bobby, most of your family and in short pretty much anyone you will exchange more than three words with in any given day. If you do happen to interact with anyone from outside this group, they must be a close friend or rebellious family member of somebody else in the street.
- Get a new wardrobe. Only wear bright colours that will give a crude representation of the keynote of your character, so that you can be easily identified within this idyllic world. Are you a whore? Red and low cut will do the job. Honest and earnest? Try a buttercup yellow blouse. Solid as a rock? Nice earthy greens will achieve the look you want. And if you're feeling a bit rebellious, but at the same time with a soft feminine heart buried deep inside, bright pink streaks in your hair are always a winner.
- Geography transcends age. You love socialising with your mum's friends, and your cousin, and your baby sister's crew. Girly night needed? Cool, let's invite the gang - your mum, your mum's friends, your old teacher, and the ten year old from down the road. Why do you need your own friends when you can have all this? You love them all.
- Amnesia is always an excuse. For anything. Even death. Except perhaps a sudden and disturbing interest in perving at women. Oh no… wait… it is.
- Don't go to the Nightclub unless you are planning to go Off The Rails. There are people there who Do Not Live On The Street, and are therefore a danger to the Way. (Anyway, they'd have to be complete losers to want to dance to eighties box-beats in a near empty room, whilst the Ramsey Street Rebel Of The Week… er… rebels.)
- Mourning etiquette requires two episodes of wearing black and looking mournful, followed by a bit of paid leave during which other residents will make a few sorrowful comments, and then mercifully, the matter will be dropped and life continues as normal. Warning, nobody is ever really dead until you see the body (see 4.).
- Don't be a 'cake-taker.' Don't even use the word unless you think you are cool/young enough to merit it. Clue: if you find yourself trying to analyse the origins of it you're probably too old to use it. Also applies to 'hufter.'
- Do, however, try and apply cheesy puns where and when possible. Hearing the familiar 'here comes the comedy storyline' music in the background is always a good sign. It means that today your trauma is not on display, and you get to merely ogle/interfere with everyone else's. However, you may end up wearing underpants on your head. I don't know why this happens with such frequency in Neighbours, but it does.
- Don't go to the forest. Or the abandoned shack in the woods. It's just asking for trouble. If you really have to get away just go to America. America is a big glossy place where you can be a STAR, or have a really cool successful job in New York. You never hear about Flick's drug problem, or how Michelle failed to make rent and got asthma from the city pollution. Because when you set foot in America, as a student of the Way, you are blessed. You will find your happy ending. And nobody will think the less of you because you never visit, or call, or write, even when your parents are going through a divorce or your sister's being tried for murder. Aren't families wonderful?
- You must worship Harold, and strive to be like him in every way (apart from the dodgy women's underwear episode, but we don't like to talk about that). He is your paragon of Neighboursdom. Emulate his wit and his chuckle (chins not necessary) and all round living in the Way of Neighbours. You cannot go wrong when following in his weighty footsteps.
July 06, 2005
If it wasn't for the Olympic woo! thingygummy and the fact that Neighbours was postponed because of it, and so I was forced to look elsewhere for my lunchtime viewing pleasure, I would not have been exposed to one of the most random daytime television moments I have seen in a while: namely, the spectacle of Nigella Lawson teaching a glaze-eyed Charlotte Church how to make lamb burgers. Nigella, in her pink floral dress, was happily flouncing about her kitchen, whilst Charlotte, in black denim and hoop earrings, perched on a stool and tried to look entertained by discovering what hummus was, and made an effort to enthuse about mint.
However, she couldn't quite contain the look of horror that flashed across her face when she realised she would actually have to eat this minty, bulger wheaty lamb pitta, stuffed with salad and oozing with this strange form of food that was hummus. Sensibly, the producers went straight to an advert break as she took her first mouthful, so we were saved the sight of her spitting it out and reaching for some chips to take the taste away. After the break, we were back with the mismatched pair on a tasteful sofa, while Nigella quizzed Charlotte primly about drinking and peer pressure and growing up in the public eye, to which we got some pseudoprim answers, and lots of gentle toothy smiles.
What was the point? What was she doing there? It's like when she appeared on Have I Got News For You… mind you, watching Paul Merton take the piss out of her was pretty funny. Needless to say, there was no such gay bavarderie with Nigella and her kitchen implements.
I suppose the more important question is what on earth is Nigella doing with a studio chat show? A studio chat show, moreover, that can't decide if it's a chat show or a cookery programme, and so condemns its guests to sitting around uselessly for half of it, and then Nigella for the other half. It's not really an exciting concept, is it?
Oh daytime television, what depths will you plumb next in the name of entertainment?
March 08, 2005
All right, so I never felt like that about the fox in Robin Hood. For one thing, he was a fox. For another thing, green really isn't my colour. But seeing as Layla has seen fit to confess her first crush to the world, it makes mine look normal in comparison, and it was…
Caspian, in the 1989 BBC adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia (i.e 20 year old Sam West, skipping round in doublet and hose and a big shiny gold helmet). Graced with such costars as a giant fluffy mouse with an earring and a couple of chubby kids straight from drama school, how could he fail to look good? He was the king, I tell you, the king, and he ruled over his clunky polysterene ship with a wonderful authority and a shiny plastic sword. Whether facing monsters made out of cardboard and stickyback plastic, or giving his all to the wooden dialogue he was given, he was the king.
But alas, his story has as tragic an end as that of Robin and Layla's – after six weeks of swaggering round in tights,within two minutes of screen time he wooed and married a lurex wearing fairy with the worst eighties hairdo in the world, and the last I ever saw of him was sipping out of a goblet evidently fashioned from empty washing up bottles, and trying not to get entangled in the mass of frizz as he kissed his bride.
And there endeth my sad tale.